Castlemaine State Festival xyz [ED] Education Program 2018/2019

The purpose of the CSF Education Program 2018/19 is to create points of contact and collaboration between young people in our community and local, national and international artists and thinkers. This facilitates a sense of connectedness and agency, on both a local and global level. The program is designed to create a sense of empowerment through self-directed play and exploration, whilst encouraging and supporting increasingly rigorous critical reflection.


Program Areas

1. The xyz[ED] Media Team

The xyz[ED] Media Team is a dynamic group young people aged between 12-25 who will be reporting on Festival events, with the remit of engaging their peer group directly with the CSF program. The Media Team have been meeting monthly to receive mentoring from local media professionals in areas such as camera operation, editing, sound production, radio, social media and print media. During the Festival, the team members will engage directly with artists, for example by conducting interviews, documenting events, hosting discussions. Local film-maker Lisa Mills, Director of Shebang Media is hosting the Media Team workshops. Lisa has been employed for several years at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, as a youth engagement officer and workshop facilitator.


2. Families as First Teachers

The xyz[ED] Education Program acknowledges families’ crucial role as children’s first teachers. This new initiative is designed to encourage families to engage with the CSF program as a family unit. Free online resources will be made available, such as a Family Trail, information about the artist’s background and ideas, suggested starting points for family discussion. The program also includes some targeted subsidized ticket packages for families.

3. Kinder Program

Sculptor Eliza-Jane Gilchrist will deliver a specialised kinder program called ‘I wonder what goes on in there…’. The artist will create an installation of strange and intriguing cardboard buildings, and children will be invited to create stories about what happens inside each of the buildings. They will add to the sculptures with drawings and objects, and record their stories as audio tracks. These recordings will be incorporated into the final exhibition which will feature in the Visual Arts program.  The program features scope for discussion and story sharing, with a focus on language and literacy. The discussion is centered around active, sensory making and play. The program allows children to imaginatively explore the interwoven relationships that evolve in regional urban and suburban environments.

4. Primary Schools Program

During the 2019 Festival there will be 3 days of performances, workshops and discussions exclusively for Primary Schools. Productions include International and Indigenous works such as Picasso and his Dog (Lemony S.), My Urrawai (Ghenoa Gela) Body Concert (Ambiguous Dance Company – South Korea). House of Muchness will deliver a special school’s performance of The Children’s Party.

We are currently finalising the workshop program, to offer a diverse program of visual artists and musicians, along with some of the visiting international artists.

Teachers can tailor their individual program to suit their specific curriculum focus, creating a whole day experience or a one-off performance or workshop. Teachers and students access online and print resources to support pre-performance discussion and activities, post-performance reflection and evaluation.

5. Secondary School Program

Castlemaine Secondary College students will take on the important role of ‘dance ambassadors’ in 2019s’ opening event, Equinox by Deep Soulful Sweats, encouraging and guiding audience participation. In the lead up to the Festival, students receive mentoring in organising and promoting large-scale participatory events. This will create deeper engagement and learning outcomes for students, with the potential to develop young leaders in the community.

Castlemaine Secondary College students will work with artist Hayley West to create an installation that will align with the Visual Art Program. Hayley’s practice relates to a lived awareness of death and memorial, inviting progressive discourse regarding death, including alternative funeral rites and ways of dying.

Teachers and students will be supported to engage with the Festival program via online resources. These will include background information about the artists, their cultural contexts, curriculum links and starting points for additional research and enquiry.

For further information about the Education Program please contact Education Coordinator Kate Stones.
Email:, mobile: 0431 998 707.