Inspired English

Develop your students' English skills and knowledge using inspiring works of art from the catalogue of one of Australia's best-known galleries.

Authors: Susie May, Purnima Ruanglertbutr (National Gallery of Victoria)

Macmillan Education has partnered with the National Gallery of Victoria to create this unique, project-based series. Supported by comprehensive teaching plans, the activities in the student workbooks use the works of art as springboards to develop skills in:

  • Critical thinking
  • Creative writing
  • Close reading
  • Visual literacy
  • Literary techniques
  • Vocabulary development

Written by Susie May and Purnima Ruanglertbutr, who both deliver 'English as Art' visual literacy workshops to thousands of students at the NGV every year, the lesson plans are based on tried and tested techniques.

No art knowledge required!

This series will give you everything you need to put these fabulous images to work in your English classroom and harness the great power of art to truly inspire your students.

Mapped to the curriculum

Download our free mapping grids:

See what's included

Click on the cover images below for more details about each book in the series, or download this series summary to find out more: Inspired English overview.


We asked Year 8 student Harry Bazley to work through some activities from Book 1 Project 1 on Australia's favourite work of art, John Brack's Collins St, 5p.m. Harry said he hated poetry, yet within an hour he produced this stunning poem and announced that he no longer hated poetry! Thank you Harry for allowing us to publish your excellent poem here.

A Lady Smiles


Stoney faces all fed up. At least one is not.

Independent, different, happy.

All but she walk together in one lifeless flock,

All lined up like bones in a ribcage.

Collins Street at dusk, no colour just shades.

9 to 5 is her life, a housewife no more.

Can’t we all just learn from her and make the most of our lives?


by Harry Bazley, St John Paul II Catholic College, Schofields, NSW