ACCA Education Social Story

What is a ‘Social Story’?

A ‘Social Story’ is a step by step guide to assist students with an autism spectrum condition to become familiar and comfortable with ACCA, before they visit with their school. This social story provides information about how to access ACCA’s building, what to expect when you arrive at ACCA and what you may experience when participating in ACCA Education’s TALK THINK MAKE program.

I’m going to TALK, THINK and MAKE at ACCA

You’re going to visit the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art! This gallery is called ACCA for short. ACCA is a contemporary art gallery housed in a large rusty steel building in Southbank, Melbourne. At ACCA you will see an exhibition made up of lots of different contemporary artworks. The word ‘contemporary’ means new, or current. At ACCA we only display artworks made by living artists. Everything you will see has been made recently, some artworks have been made this year!

You may travel from school to ACCA on a bus, on a tram, or on a train. When you travel to ACCA by bus, the bus driver will drop you and your classmates right at the entrance to ACCA. There is only one entrance to ACCA.

There are large silver letters that spell ‘ACCA’ to the left of ACCA’s entrance. This is what the letters look like:

The entrance to ACCA has two sets of glass sliding doors that will open when you stand in front of them. You will walk, in line with your classmates, through both sets of glass sliding doors:

Once you move through these doors you will be in ACCA’s foyer.

You will see ACCA’s front desk on your left.

ACCA’s friendly staff and volunteers at the front desk will say hello to you and will help you put your bag and jacket away. There will be lots of other children putting their bags and jackets away and you will wait patiently until it is your turn. Your bag and jacket will be kept safely in ACCA’s bag storage until you are ready to leave the gallery with your class at the end of the session.

Next, you will meet an ACCA Educator who will take you on a tour of the exhibition. ACCA’s Educators are very nice and are happy to meet you. They may be wearing orange coloured ACCA name tags.

Once you have met your ACCA Educator they will ask you to walk, in line with your classmates, past the front desk and into the foyer.

ACCA’s foyer is large. It has a high ceiling, lights in long rows and lots of shiny silver surfaces. You may see lots of different people and other school groups in the foyer. You may hear people talking or, depending on the exhibition, you may hear different sounds coming from the gallery spaces. The foyer can be very busy and noisy, but other spaces will be quieter.

Your ACCA Educator will show you where the bathrooms are. The bathrooms are located to the far right of the foyer.

There is an accessible toilet on the right hand side of the entrance to the bathrooms. The accessible toilet door is bright orange and is clearly marked.

Next, your ACCA Educator will ask you and your classmates to sit down or stand in front of a big wall at the entrance to the galleries. We call this wall our ‘title wall’. Here, your ACCA Educator will tell you a little information about the exhibition you are about to see.

If it’s very busy or noisy in the foyer near the title wall, your Educator may lead you into one of the galleries, where it’s less busy and quieter, to introduce the exhibition to you. It’s important that you are quiet and listen carefully to what the Educator is saying. Your Educator will ask some questions that you can answer if you like.

Your Educator will remind you of ACCA’s four important rules:

  1. Please don’t touch the artwork. Artworks can be very fragile and we need to keep them safe. Your Educator will say whether or not you can touch the artworks.
  2. Speak in a quiet voice. Remembering to use a quiet voice means you won’t distract other visitors.
  3. Walk in the galleries. When you walk slowly through the galleries you can look at all of the artworks on show.
  4. Do not eat or drink in the galleries. You may eat and drink in the foyer.

The galleries may be crowded when you visit so it’s important that you stay with your group. If you need to go to the bathroom or would like to take a break, you can first ask your teacher.

Now you are ready to see the art!

When you go into the galleries you will see lots of different types of art. You may see objects, light and hear different sounds! Here are examples of some artworks that you may see.

Laure Prouvost: Oui Move In You 2024, installation view, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne. Photograph: Andrew Curtis

You can walk from artwork to artwork with your ACCA Educator. If you get tired, you can sit down in front of the artworks. You can look at the artworks and talk about the art together with your classmates. Your Educator will ask you questions about the art that you can answer if you like. You can also ask your Educator questions about the artworks that you see.

Inside the galleries, you will find ACCA’s gallery attendants. You can identify the Visitor Experience Team (VXT) by their black- ACCA name tags/lanyards. There will always be two VXT in the galleries. The VXT’s job is to make sure that the artworks in the exhibition remain safe and to talk to visitors about the works on display. Sometimes the gallery attendants will stand close to your class when you are looking at the exhibition. They often like to listen to what you and your classmates have to say about the artworks. The VXT can also help you move around the artworks in the exhibition carefully.

When the tour of the exhibition is finished, your Educator will lead you and your classmates back into the foyer to make an artwork that is inspired by some of the artwork you have seen.

It’s important that you listen carefully to your Educator’s instructions. Your Educator will show you different processes and different materials you will be able to work with to make your artwork.

After your Educator has finished giving you and your classmates instructions, you can take a seat at the tables that have been set out in the foyer and begin to make your artwork. Now you can make choices about how you use the different processes and materials your Educator showed you.

Once you have finished making your artwork, you will be able to share what you have made with your classmates!

At the end of the session, you can choose to take your artwork back to school or leave it at ACCA. If you choose to take your artwork back to school, your Educator may give it to your teacher for safekeeping. Before your artworks are collected, your Educator may choose to take a photograph of you and your classmates with all of the artworks you have made at ACCA.

Now it’s time to collect your bag and jacket from ACCA’s volunteers at the front desk. There will be lots of other children collecting their bags and jackets and you will wait patiently until it is your turn. Your Educator will say goodbye to you now. You can exit ACCA through the foyer, and back through the glass sliding doors. You will wait for instructions from your teacher about what to do next!

We hope that you enjoy your time at ACCA! Remember, you can visit ACCA any time you like. You might like to bring along your family and friends next time you visit ACCA.

If you have feedback or questions for ACCA Education about this Social Story  please contact us at or on +61 3 9697 9999