Migration Story

The Migration Story exercise encourages artists to recall and draw six significant artefacts from their past.


This activity was conducted in studioFive at MGSE as part of our Master of Teaching course.


  • Storytelling
  • Narrative structures
  • Materiality
  • Family
  • Heritage

Skills and Techniques

  • Drawing from memory
  • Drawing from photographic references
  • Drawing from still life
  • Presentation


  • Free-for-all


Students are asked to think about six objects in their lives that are important to or represent part of their (hi)story. Examples can be childhood toys that they remember or heirlooms passed down from relatives. They can be objects that they currently possess or things that only exist in their memory.

Students are given half an hour to draw the six objects in whatever media they desire. While drawing, students are asked to think about how they are going to arrange and present their drawings – considering the story they tell and their relationships to each other.

Each student is given wall or desk space to arrange and present their set of six drawings and a class exhibition is held. Students view and discuss each-other’s work.

Related Artists

Gu Xiong

Art Connections

This activity helps build classroom understanding of diversity within the cohort. It can be used effectively in units that explore topics of self, family, history and storytelling.

VCD Connections

This activity can be used to map student stories and be related to the VCD process of researching target audiences. Student observations of peer work builds understandings around the similarities and differences found within their own classroom.

Next Steps

Following lessons can extend these concepts by:

  • Moving from still images into animation – adding movement, text, audio and music
  • Artistic responses to peer stories through drawing
  • Mapping connections between peer stories using sculpture techniques
  • Analysing peer stories to create target audience profiles (VCD)