Exploring our identity

What shapes identity?

Activity: Explore a range of resources on the concept of identity

Identity: Yours, mine, ours

The ‘Identity: yours, mine, ours’ exhibition can be viewed at the Museum Victoria website: http://museumvictoria.com.au/immigrationmuseum/discoverycentre/identity/

No matter where we come from, or what our life is like, defining our identity is vital to understanding ourselves and how we fit into the world around us.

Discuss your response to the following questions.

What do you think the artists’ intentions are?

Do you consider multiculturalism to be a part of Australian identity?

Identity Web

View Mary Corey March’s Identity Tapestry: http://www.marymarch.com/Identity_Tapestry.html

Read the article The Identity Web available at http://www.aare.edu.au/publications-database.php/6869/the-identity-web-deepening-our-dialogue-about-social-and-cultural-similarities-through-engagement-wi

Construct your own class tapestry, or (as a group) make a list of all the aspects of identity that you can think of. Now, list as many aspects of your own identity and relationships with family and friends as you can (you can keep this to use a resource for when you go into school).

Alternately, trace around your hand and give each digit an aspect of your identity – for example, favourite colour, music, place, person and so on. Using these, design a painting that might express your identity. Share and discuss with your group or class.

Consider the following questions

Did you include your cultural/ethnic/’racial’ background?

Reflect on your list with others around you. Are able you classify the list into the categories of ‘yours’, ‘mine’ and ‘ours’? What do you notice?

Discuss your understandings of identity with your peers.


How does it feel to be in the minority?

Watch the ‘mockumentary’ film Babakiueria (“Barbecue Area”) available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUMpPgMGCe8

  • Reflect on who has the most power in the relationships between the characters. Do you think the white family is speaking honestly? If so, why? If not, why?
  • What possible reasons would the family have for wanting to agree with or appease the researcher?

Australian identity?

View images from Michael Cook’s artworks in his exhibition Australian Landscapes using the links below:

http://www.latrobe.edu.au/luma/exhibitions/images/Michael-Cook_webtile2.jpg

http://images-2.domain.com.au/2015/01/20/6180959/Article%20Lead%20-%20wide6522315912tz3kimage.related.articleLeadwide.729×410.12tyif.png1421718107527.jpg-620×349.jpg

http://www.octobergallery.co.uk/images/760×570/cook_australian-landscape_7.jpg

http://rightnow.org.au/writing-cat/review/indigenous-photographic-series-explores-identity-and-displacement-at-midsumma/

When looking at these images reflect on the following:

The curator suggests that we are being asked, ‘Does the figure belong in this piece of Australia?’ Consider whether you agree and discuss your reasons.


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