ATOM QLD President’s Report – February, 2017

2016 was a busy year for ATOM Qld with lots of “backend” work around partnerships (poster), advocacy and readying for changes brought on by the redevelopment of the new senior FTVnm syllabus. A large contingent of ATOM Qld members also made the journey to the national conference, Screen Futures, in Melbourne.

But in a transition year like this, or at any time really, it is apt for teachers to wonder what value their professional association provides.

After returning from Screen Futures, I was wondering the same thing. To be honest, it was hard to quantify the value of membership for members in 2016 given that most of the executive’s time was spent on the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of media education rather than supporting the ‘what’.


Just when we thought the years of hard work in developing and advocating for the Arts in the Australian Curriculum were about to hit the classroom, the review of the ‘crowded curriculum’ by the QCAA brought the need for advocacy for the Arts in Queensland (again) to the fore. Trying to answer the ‘why’ question about the Arts in education to non-arts leaning people is often difficult because the myriad benefits of Arts education seem so infuriatingly obvious to those of us in the Arts. But continuing to answer this question is also absolutely necessary. Literacy and numeracy, engagement, creativity, interdisciplinary skills, authentic learning. STEM, STEAM, STEAMD, SHTEAM, SHTEAMD, ESHTEAMD… What about learning? These conceptual and political arguments are interesting and important but ultimately incredibly frustrating when they affect the ability of teachers to implement the quality curriculum, written and reviewed, in large part, by exemplary Queensland educators.

As Media teachers it seems nonsensical to be back here when our students are more than ever immersed in media like it’s the air they breathe. But this is familiar territory so we continue to passionately teach a subject we know is at the centre of young peoples’ learning outside of school and should be central to their education inside school.


The development of the new senior FTVnm syllabus also involved many of our members in writing and reviewing curriculum and assessment in the largest change to curriculum in Queensland in 30 years. Professionalism has been tested but has prevailed in passionate online and offline discussions which will continue as further drafts are iterated.

We’ve continued to partner with eight other arts professional associations as the Queensland Advocates for Arts Education (QAAE) to lobby DET and others to keep the Arts on the agenda. The QAAE met with C2C and were successful in ensuring all C2C Arts units were released (for State school teachers). These units have been written to solve problems rather than create them with deliberate partnering with other Australian Curriculum units and a wealth of high quality supporting resources. Meetings with other DET officers such as Terry Gallagher and with Minister Jones ensured The Arts were put back on the agenda and work is continuing to fill the message vacuum around implementing the Australian Curriculum: The Arts.


The trial and implementation of the new senior syllabus and assessment will involve all senior FTV teachers and requires shifts in skillsets and mindsets. Similarly, regardless of DET and others’ position on the Australian Curriculum, the C2C resources are available for Media Arts and the impetus for implementation is definitely there.

A new website was developed as a ‘labour of love’ by new executive member Mark Deere who endured numerous technical issues to emerge mostly unscathed with a future-proof, robust site worthy of a media teachers’ association.

Suzie Hedges utilised her graphic design skills to create an amazing poster that was then mailed out in a co-ordinated effort supported by Elizabeth and Moneth and made possible through stationery organised by Simon.

The mailout and new website with online payment option have increased memberships with 76 current memberships (not including additional names from corporate memberships).

Moneth created numerous partnerships including National projects with ACTF and SBS and sought sponsorships which paid for the mailout.

Aimee contributed extensively to QCAA activities and hosted a well-attended ‘Swap n Share’ PD event in term 4 at BSHS.

What next?

Potential partnerships and projects for 2017 include:

  • Collaborating with ACTF to provide resources and experiences for regional teachers and students
  • A State conference and/or PD
  • Supporting student film festivals and competitions
  • Partnering with AFTRS and QSFT to deliver teacher and student workshops and online content
  • Collaborating with Cengage Publishing on a textbook and digital content to support the new Senior FTV syllabus
  • Working with QAGOMA, SLQ, Dendy and/or other cinema partners to create workshops, competitions and festivals
  • Supporting the QCAA in the rollout of the new syllabus
  • Continued advocacy work with the QAAE

Thank you to all the executive members across the state for your dedication to media education and to all members for supporting ATOM QLD.

I’m sure the work we did in 2016 will bear fruit in 2017 and beyond. I hope it pays homage to the brilliant efforts of past, current and future teachers of and advocates for media education.


Rhys Cassidy


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