Hilary Senhanli is a practising artist, a secondary art teacher and the founder of Visual Diary Guide method. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Drawing from the Victorian College of the Arts and holds a Diploma of Education from Melbourne University with First Class Honours.
Hilary has built a collection of Visual Diaries going back 15 years and has been delivering Visual Diary talks since 2009 through incursion to secondary schools. That’s when she noticed Year 11 and 12 students in most schools struggle with the creative process. This observation has been confirmed by an overwhelming majority of Art teachers she's interviewed since.
She recalls many episodes similar to the following which inspired her to act:
"Something wonderful happened when I stepped into the art room. I saw my students avidly drawing in their Visual Diaries. A brief time dedicated to the Visual Diary at the start of each lesson was theirs; the children knew that and they did not need to wait for permission or instruction. My approach was working!
"Then, one day, I was showing my own Visual Diaries to students in a school with disadvantaged children. One “tough boy” who pretended not to be interested in any of it, suddenly perked up when he heard it took me three days to produce six art works some of which qualified as a finalist in major competitions and that there was a viable career option with thousands of dollars in return for each piece. When he realized it was because I insisted on developing the ideas for six months beforehand using my Visual Diaries, he (and most other students) rushed back to look at my diaries with renewed interest to see how the finalist piece came about.
"Experiences like this led me write the guides so that what artists can do creatively is made teachable on a large scale. Yet, I could never achieve with without the enthusiastic participation of many generous Art & Design teachers, who reviewed what I did in their own time and helped me get it right."