Life Member - Lee Emery

After completing secondary art teacher training at Melbourne Teachers College in 1966, Lee Emery’s first art teaching positions, were at Watsonia and then Oakleigh High Schools (1966-1971). In 1972 she was asked to be the inaugural Executive Officer of a newly formed association to be called ACTA (Art Craft Teacher’s Association). This was a half-time position which involved the production of a monthly newsletter, annual conference and shared office space with staff at Melbourne Teacher’s College. The other half position was as a seconded teacher in the education section of the NGV. In her first year of teaching 1967, Lee had already joined the committee of ATAV (Art Teachers Association of Victoria) and in 1972 she vividly remembers that association amalgamating with VSEC (Victorian Society of Education Through Craft) to form ACTA. So, with only basic office skills (pre-computers and mobile phones) yet great enthusiasm, the new ACTA committee set about establishing a support network for art/craft teachers across Victoria.

After family leave in 1983 Lee upgraded her initial three-year qualification to a B.Ed.  degree at Melbourne College of Advanced Education. She then enrolled to undertake a M.Ed. degree
with Dr Warren Lett at Latrobe university. Lee completed her Ph.D. in 1986 at Latrobe University with her thesis entitled ‘A study of thinking used by children in artistic making’. The thesis was a case-study of an upper-primary level Melbourne class of children who were given a yearly arts program in the arts forms of dance, drama, art, music and writing craft. This research became invaluable when she was later engaged as a key writer, with Dr Geoff Hammond, for the National Curriculum Statement and Profiles project.

Just before doctoral graduation in 1984 Lee was appointed at tutor level in the Faculty of Education, the University of Melbourne. For the next 21 years she lectured in art education in both undergraduate and postgraduate programs. She retired in 2005 as Associate Professor having taught in the range of courses including B.Ed., Dip. Ed, M.Ed., D.Ed., and Ph.D. In her university positions she attended many national and international conferences in art education. She was also editor of several publications including the arts magazine ‘Communicating Arts’ and for a period of 3 years, Australian Art Education, the national art education journal of the AIAE (Australian Institute of Art Education). Lee was also co-author (with Dr Geoff Hammond) of Australia’s National Curriculum Statement and Profile documents published in 1994. In 2002 she published a book entitled ‘Teaching Art in a Postmodern World’ (2002); ten case-studies of secondary art teachers who demonstrated exemplary classroom skills as they engaged their students in contemporary art making.

Lee is married to Ken, who was also an ACTA council member. They have two daughters and three school-age grandchildren. Since retiring from the University of Melbourne she has been, and still is, a voluntary guide at the National Gallery of Victoria…a volunteer position highly recommended for all retired art teachers!

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Monash University