Bishop Druitt College Goori Group creates Art for Wellbeing

Bishop Druitt College is continuously developing programs designed to nurture and develop the talents of our students. BDC Art for Well-Being program is a creative development program that has been running now for some time with fantastic results.

Parents cite program outcomes for their child such as increased confidence and improvements in school life both socially and academically. Students in the program appear to become more empowered, motivated and enthusiastic.

The time proven rationale behind this program is that exposing small groups of students to high quality, success-oriented creative arts experiences they are able to perceive themselves in a new light. Recognising that not everybody has the opportunity to shine in the mainstream school setting, the Art for Well-Being program take students on a creative journey that culminates in the development of a major artwork that is exhibited in a celebration of the student’s achievements. Students are also schooled in the art of effective communication and co-operation, the keys to being a trusted and valued team member, leadership skills and how to think laterally and creatively.

During the creative process artist and visual arts teacher Fiona Minto and Saskia Klop, art therapist and school counsellor, support students. The group’s work together for around 12 weeks and it is a pleasure to watch their creative masterpieces come to life.

Fiona and I have had the privilege of witnessing first hand the enormous benefit for students when they are given the opportunity to work on an ambitious artwork over a long period of time. The time, effort and commitment given to seeing the student’s vision for their artwork through to completion in this way is a joy to be a part of. It’s an opportunity to witness artistic development and personal growth happen right in front of you as the artwork develops.” Saskia Klop, Counsellor, Bishop Druitt College.

This term the Art for Well-being program has teamed up with the BDC Goori group. This group is made up from both primary and secondary students who are part of the school’s Goori program. The students have developed large artworks incorporating their choice of traditional indigenous design with a contemporary flavour. The students are self-motivated and have demonstrated a clear vision for their artworks and are looking forward to the exhibition near the end of the term.

Fiona Webb and Louis Van Dartel created Goori Group in 2013. At this time most of the Goori students were off country and had struggled with their identity and a sense of belonging with their culture, which affected their education. Through an ongoing commitment to the Goori students, Bishop Druitt College assisted to provide a successful learning outcome with traditional learning of Gumbaynggirr language, culture, and dance and community engagement within the school. This has given the students a sense of ownership and a successful outcome, which lead to Gumbaynggirr signage around the school and the Yarning circle that was created this year, which lead a positive shift with the Goori students with education and culture.