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VCE Context suggestions

Some Context suggestions:

A sense of self/Who am I in my world

This Context invites exploring a sense of identity through a number of lenses.

  • Relationships with oneself and how one constructs a sense of self for the outside world. This is explored in PAUL KELLY — STORIES OF ME from the opening scenes, particularly Kelly’s bashful response to the interviewer’s question: “Who is Paul Kelly”. As a framing consideration, Kelly’s “multitudes within me” is referred to and exposed throughout.
  • Understanding oneself through childhood experiences. The documentary footage, interviews with Kelly’s siblings about their childhood, and Kelly’s own reminiscences about growing up in Adelaide and the influence of his parents and grandparents provide us with the individual’s building blocks”.
  • Relationships with others. The explicit section in the documentary on love in its many manifestations is a strong starting point for this consideration. It invites consideration of friendships, intimate relationships and professional relationships and how these influence our growth as individuals. This section also could lead to considerations about one’s relationship with God and religion.
  • The influence of physical context. Kelly’s “Australianness” is evident in the themes, words and concerns he addresses in his music. The documentary explores his context from a number of angles, not least of which is in the way Kelly works with Australia’s indigenous artists.

Great poets steal

Kelly’s work invites the exploration of intertextuality in work, that is, the explicit and implicit use of other existing work in the creation of new work. This could be a particularly powerful Context approach because it makes explicit to the students what they are in fact being asked to do in this Area of Study.

Throughout the documentary, we are shown how Kelly draws on the influence of other musicians, art, novels, plays, and philosophy.

Sections of particular interest for this Context include Kelly’s early student days (note, for example, the Proust references, the books in his “room” under the stairs), the creation process Kelly refers to as he becomes a storyteller in song, and the section on his approach to an informal education.

That the strongest influences he refers to in the documentary are the Beat poets, Shakespeare and the Bible invites the use of these texts to support development of the Context response.

Responsible citizenship

Artists influence our view on the world through both the art they create and the way they work with the world around them.

Social responsibility, the sense of “doing it if it is right”, runs central to the Kelly family narrative. This opens Context responses which are concerned with the way in which we work with those in our society who are “not like us”. How do we engage in issues beyond our own, small communities? How do we invite genuine engagement with social concerns and issues?

Kelly’s work with indigenous artists as it is articulated in the documentary would enable a strong Australian reading of this context. A further Kelly text which would work to support this Context focus is the feature film One Night the Moon. Indigenous artists’ work (poetry, film, music) could form the basis of additional texts for this unit.