All Saints College Artful Education

All Saints’ College

Artful Education: The dual career
of a teacher-artist

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Many staff at All Saints’ College explore their areas of expertise outside the College and actively practise in their field, bringing a deeper level of knowledge, experience and understanding to their teaching.

All Saints’ College Visual Arts Teacher Louise Elscot is also a practising artist, whose creative practice lies in sculpture and whose works are developed from her interest in landscape and history, with historical research informing the development of her works and the materials she chooses to use. Recently, Louise was invited to showcase her exhibition, Elysium, at the newly refurbished Rockingham Arts Centre.

Elysium is a series of sculptural works dedicated to the women and children who lost their lives in Thomas Peel's failed Clarence Settlement in 1830. Louise’s body of work was initially inspired by reading about Dr Shane Burke's archaeological explorations of the Clarence site at Mt Brown and the critical caricature of Thomas Peel plucking a swan, published in London newspapers in 1829.

“In my practice, I like to consider the layers of history of a particular place, combined with my own experience of the site,” said Louise.
“My artworks are sometimes ephemeral, when I work directly in the landscape, documenting process through photography. Other sculptural works are more permanent and reflect extended studio time. My creative drive comes from playing with and manipulating materials to communicate meaning.”

The importance of actively creating is vital to Louise’s teaching as it continually reminds her of the vast amount of thinking and connecting that is needed to feed the creative process which allows her to fully support students through this process.

“Creative process can be hampered by the fear of judgement in exhibiting your works and this is particularly poignant for our students. We all suffer from imposter syndrome.”
“Being a practising artist helps me to reassure our students that there will be a ‘dark night of the soul’ in producing their own artworks – and that is OK.”

Not only does learning from practising artists allow students to see the viable career pathways in the Arts but provides a network of strong industry connections to assist and mentor students in their own creative journeys. The students also benefit from the teacher-artists’ deep and personal understanding of the creative process – both its challenges and rewards.

While teacher-artists are more sensitive to the challenges encountered by their students (having to frequently work through their own), they also understand that artistic outcomes are open-ended and divergent and that the element of play or experimentation in artistic creation is vital.

“Creativity thrives in a playful environment because during play there are no repercussions of doing something wrong. Play encourages innovation,” Louise said.

Louise’s works also formed part of the group exhibition Throughline, shown at Moores Building in 2022, which featured the works of seven current and former All Saints’ College Visual Arts teachers.

“The loss of our own artistic practices was the impetus for us to begin to ‘work’ again. We were all artists before we were teachers,” said Louise.

All Saints' College

All Saints' College, Anglican coeducational College catering for students from PK- Year 13.

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