"Mention the words Visual Diary to art teachers and there is an immediate response that suggests they know what you’re talking about! It’s one of those terms that is accepted without too much thought or question. Sure, Visual means it has something to do with what can be seen; and, Diary means something to do with recording what has happened or what is planned to happen. Easy! Or is it?"
Dr. Max Darby
Art Education Consultant

When so many Visual Arts courses require students to maintain and present Visual Diaries for assessment purposes, then much more is needed to meet the requirements and obligations expected. If you’ve ever had students who find it difficult to generate ideas beyond simple interpretations; have students who have too many unused pages at the end of a semester, or students who have work pages that are the same as most other students, then help is required, and at hand.

The second edition of a package, titled Visual Diary Guide has been prepared by Hilary Senhanli to assist art teachers and students in Year 7 to 10 to get a real handle on Visual Diaries. It makes clear the reality that Visual Diaries are far more complex than often thought. It outlines things that need to be included and many exciting potential ideas that students can explore both in class and at home. Most importantly it underlies the belief that student at all levels need to be involved in using their Visual Diaries positively in the present, but also as a means of developing thinking and working processes that make everything so much more valuable and individual in future years.

Both student workbooks is centred around a series of more than 95 consequentially planned and related activities and some excellent project activities. These could be used by teachers to form the basis of their program, or as idea-prompters that students can undertake as required. The demonstration and example material is of excellent quality and can be effectively used to inspire and motivate students. Like all good activities most are not rigidly age-specific although the latest series has been specifically produced for years 7/8 and year 9/10.  They can be interpreted appropriately by students working earlier in their art education and later in the senior levels. The project section outlines everything required about the how and why of using Visual Diaries. It provides the basis for planning and evaluating activities and the use of Visual Diaries in class and at home.

The exciting prospect of enabling each student to have their personal copy of the Visual Diary Guide seems the best way to make full use of the enormous range of exciting research-based Visual Diary activities provided. Regardless of your experience the Visual Diary Guide is a publication you need to check out. I have and wish I’d had it years ago.

Dr Max Darby
Arts Education Consultant

This review is originally published for Zart Extra Magazine

​“Thank you for the preview of the new Visual Diary Guide. My initial reaction is that it is much improved in the 2nd edition and helps the teacher to line up more with what the curriculum is asking. I really like the layout also.”
Vinny Doherty
Art Teacher, Marymede Christian College
​“I think that having the idea of a Visual Diary discussed and introduced like this from junior classes is very valuable. I especially liked the idea that you can use your Visual Diary to gain ideas – something that I do with my students. The structure used is far more detailed than other resources I have used in the past. It introduces concepts and practical applications in a more direct way.”
Heather Landman
Head of Art, St. Margaret’s School
"A new teaching model turns art education on its head."
"This is having a massive effect at our school. Students are settling quickly and are able to get into the 'zone' for art. We first started using the activities in Year 7 and now use them across both Year 7 and 8. I just wanted to let you know."
Rae Boykett
Head of Art and Technology, Eaglehawk Secondary College
“The books are well researched and easy to read with very little jargon. There is a great range of student activities, which are fun, short, open-ended, achievable by all and can be randomly selected. Given that students often overlook the process and rush to make their final piece, it is great to see an emphasis on the process, which has been broken down into accessible sections. It provides me some good material to work with my students. It encourages students to work over school breaks reinforcing that the artistic process is not limited to class time – hard to get seniors motivated if you don’t start these skills earlier.”
Nerida Morrish
Year 9 Arts Coordinator, Ouyen P-12 College

Feedabck from Nationwide Workshops

  • Thanks, I enjoyed the range of activities and not just sitting and listening – Greg
  • Great, lots of new stuff – Susan
  • The activities were fast and effective – Chris
  • I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon. I think you are doing wonderful things for Art Education – Stephanie
  • Concept of Visual Diary to document life is excellent! – Deb
  • Student Workbook with activities? Good idea – Adriana
  • It would be great to have the workbook for each teacher and student. We need to focus on the Visual Diary as being a “journey” – Veronica
  • The PD was very supportive in terms of “motivation”. Quick activities to get creativity development was really effective – Tayla
  • Loved the pace and the emphasis on experimentation – Fiona
  • Booklisting the workbook would be fantastic. Everyone needs to “get on board” 🙂 – Karen
  • A good way of using the diary to develop student styles. Also a relaxed and constructive approach to using the Visual Diary – Deborah
  • Great ideas, development and inspirational for students and teachers. Covered overall aspects in such a small amount of time. Would like to attend another workshop like this – Rina
  • Really liked the quick activities to get the ideas out – Kimberly
  • A simple but effective approach with the potential to improve students creativity and willingness to experiment when creating art – Marion
  • I found this PD extremely useful for Year 7 & 8 to improve their Visual Diary use and their creativity/drawing skills. Hilary was very knowledgeable and was able to answer questions – Rae
  • I enjoyed consolidating the ideas from last year and seeing how to better implement it in my school – Rachel
  • I really enjoyed it and found it inspiring – Allison
  • Enjoyed the Workshop. Idea of iteration really stood out – Jodie
  • Thanks Hilary – it was awesome! – Rebecca