I studied Illustration at Brighton and St. Martins and both worked as an illustrators' agent and practised as a freelance illustrator, with strong interests in printmaking and reportage drawing, before going into teaching Art & Design full time twenty-one years ago. I have taught in a number of contexts including as part of the formal education team at the Victoria and Albert Museum, where I developed and implemented courses in Art & Design History and led on the Canon sponsored photography education programme. After leaving the V&A I spent 6 months travelling in India, teaching English in a School in South India and reconnecting with my own artistic practice as I produced a reportage journal of drawings during my travels.
I joined the University of Arts London (UAL) 6 years ago where I have lectured in Design History and taught in the Illustration, Graphic Design and Photography studios of the Foundation Diploma course at Camberwell college of Art (CCA) before becoming Programme Director of the Camberwell/Chelsea/Wimbledon (CCW) Progression Centre in 2011. I have also led on a number of special projects, notably co-convening the first Cascade education project for the onedotzero festival November 2008 and Democracy by Design working with sixth formers from a number or UAL partner schools and the UAL Widening participation team in collaboration with the Houses of Parliament and the Printmaking Technical resources team at Camberwell. I have recently been involved in some consultancy work with the Topolski Studio and have had discussions with the trustees about how our relationship could develop in the future.
I completed an MA in Art and Design in Education at the Institute of Education in 2010 where I developed current research interests in the history and function of reportage drawing and illustration in relation to my own drawing practice, and also the relationships between museum collections and FE/HE Art & Design education. My MA dissertation, Space for Drawing: An examination of the conditions for drawing as a research activity and a recent conference paper The Tourist Gaze (presented at the 2nd International Conference of Photography and Theory Photography and Museums: Displayed and Displaying, Thalassa Municiple Museum, Ayia
Napa, Cyprus in November 2012, both exemplify these research interests by taking my own practice of reportage based drawing as a starting point for enquiries in the nature of drawing and drawing pedagogy.
Space for Drawing: An examination of the conditions for drawing as a research activity.
This paper took as its starting point a practical enquiry linked to my practice of location drawing and reportage; I work in sketchbooks from observation on location and as such, the studio is not somewhere I typically work and nor is it
somewhere I feel comfortable. In order to challenge this position, I used research drawings to investigate notions of the studio as one of several spaces in which drawings are made, and I explored what drawers do in
relation to the spaces they occupy. My research questions focussed on:
Where do artists/students/others draw?
How do we construct environments for drawing (both as teachers and in our own practice)?
How do the environments we construct for ourselves compare with those we construct for our students?
How do we utilise the spaces used for drawing (including the location visit)?
Do such spaces need to be considered as a pedagogic resource?
In order to locate these questions securely within the context of art education I used my paper to review recen literature on drawing i.e. I appraised what has been said about the function of drawing, and the conditions in which
drawing happens. Significantly I found little about the latter and in this respect my practical enquiry became about looking at an overlooked aspect of drawing: the drawer themselves.
I considered a range of spaces in which drawing can take place. These included the physical or external spaces – the studio, the life room, the museum, location environments and the domestic environment, and I considered the sketchbook as a space in its own right. However, I also considered the mental or internal spaces that are occupied in the
moments of absorption reached when drawing, and the emotional states that the act of drawing can lead to.
Work was completed between May and July 2011. An A5 concertina hard-backed sketchbook providing a total of 36 A4 landscape spreads was used. Drawings filled both sides of the page resulting in two continuous drawings
measuring 21 x 270 cm each. The scans group sequences of drawings completed on the same day in each location observed.
The Tourist Gaze: abstract
My presentation at the Conference of Photography and Theory Photography and Museums focused on recent practise-based visual research centred on observation of visitors to the British Museum and their use of photography as a key part of their museum experience. As an artist and art educator, I have explored audience interaction with museum collections through drawing writing and photography over a number of years and this interest evolved as a visual enquiry into the 'Tourist Gaze' (see Urry, J 1990) in which I set out to contrast my practice of drawing from life against that of the dominant culture - that of gazing through the mediated format of the digital screen. An essay supports a body of drawings and an animated film shown at the conference.