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Julia Midgley
‘LJMU Art & Design Academy Development’

In March 2007 I was appointed DLA Piper Artist in Residence for the new LJMU Art & Design Academy. Thanks to DLA Piper's sponsorship I was able to chronicle the development of the University's new £23 million Art and Design Academy.

This project page illustrates some of the drawings from DLA Piper's Liverpool offices as well as the development of LJMU's Art & Design Academy

Julia Midgley
Julia Midgley
Julia Midgley
Julia Midgley
Julia Midgley
Julia Midgley
Julia Midgley
Julia Midgley
Julia Midgley
Julia Midgley
Julia Midgley
Julia Midgley

Article: LJMU's Julia Midgley is the new DLA Piper Artist in Residence
DLA Piper has opened the doors of its Liverpool legal practice to one of the UK's leading documentary illustrators as part of a unique 'fly on the wall' initiative.

As the new DLA Piper Artist in Residence, LJMU's Julia Midgley will be documenting not only life in the firm's offices on Water Street but also the ongoing regeneration of Liverpool's city centre.

This focus reflects the key role that DLA Piper has played in relation to many of the city's major construction projects, such as the King's Waterfront development. Its £150 million arena and conference centre forms the backdrop for one of Julia's initial illustrations (pictured opposite), featuring DLA Piper's managing partner Philip Rooney and real estate partner Mark Beardwood, who led the team handling the project for English Partnerships.

Philip Rooney said: "For more than 25 years we have been heavily involved in projects which have changed the face of Liverpool and we are proud to be continuing to play an important part in creating a new future for Liverpool. Recording our own activities as well as the client projects we handle through Julia's work will be a true celebration of the expertise and commitment of DLA Piper's hard working staff."

He continued: "Her illustrations will form a unique visual history of the transformation of a resurgent Liverpool, reclaiming its place as a cultural and economic powerhouse, both in the UK and internationally. Perhaps in another 10, 25 or even 50 years, our successors will look back at these drawings and marvel at how much Liverpool, not to mention legal practice, has changed. It is particularly pleasing that this collaboration with LJMU is closely connected to their important contribution to the regeneration of the city through the creation of the new Art and Design Academy."

The DLA Piper Artist in Residence project has been established thanks to a new partnership between DLA Piper and LJMU, where Julia teaches the North West's only documentary illustration course.

Thanks to DLA Piper's sponsorship Julia will also be chronicling the development of the University's new £23 million Art and Design Academy, currently being developed on a site close to the Metropolitan Cathedral. The Academy is the only major cultural building scheduled to open during 2008 when Liverpool is European Capital of Culture.

Professor Michael Brown, LJMU's Vice Chancellor, said: "Documentary illustration has a unique role within art today, making us more aware of the meaning and significance of seemingly everyday experiences. That's why this new body of work represents much more than a documentary record of a year in the life of DLA Piper or even the development of our new Art and Design Academy. It is a snapshot of Liverpool at a very exciting stage in its history. It also captures the essence of an exciting new partnership between the University and DLA Piper, which I hope will be cemented and built upon once our new Art and Design Academy opens in 2008."

Julia has extensive experience as a documentary illustrator, working in environments as diverse as the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen Hospitals, where she was Artist in Residence for the NHS Trust between 1997 and 1999, Chester's Roman Amphitheatre, where she chronicled the archaeological excavations during 2004, and Granada Television, where she held a Year of the Artist Media Residency between 2000 and 2001.

Now armed with her pencil and sketch pad, Julia will spend time at DLA Piper over the next 18 months, capturing life at one of the world's largest legal services organisation. She will also spend a further time sketching the development of LJMU's new Art and Design Academy. Already, her initial sketches reveal the personal, quirky elements that breathe life and vitality into today's corporate environments, transforming what at first glance looks like a typical office environment into one full of character, concentration and team work.

Julia Midgley said: "Documentary illustration is all about capturing a moment in time, and this residency is very exciting because it involves working both on an intimate level, with people in their offices, right up to the grand scale and frenetic activity of major building sites. I hope that my illustrations will form a creative memory of this fascinating time for the University, DLA Piper, and the city of Liverpool."

LMJU 24 April 2007


Julia Midgley
Julia Midgley is an artist / printmaker resident in the North West of England. A figurative artist, she works predominantly on paper drawing subject matter from direct observation. Reportage and Printmaking have become an increasingly important part of her working life.

Julia’s work features in public, private, and corporate collections in the UK and abroad. A member and past Vice President of the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts she is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers, a Reader in Documentary Drawing at Liverpool School Art & Design, L.J.M.U. and a member of the Chelsea Arts Club.

Documentary drawing / illustration has a unique role within art today, reflecting the meaning and significance of seemingly everyday experiences. It is a very English genre originating from the tradition of sending artists to war zones.

' I have practised as an Artist/printmaker for a long time specialising in drawing and reportage, and am a Reader in Documentary Drawing at Liverpool School Art & Design. I have always tried to fill my drawings with movement whilst using as few marks as possible. I focus on people and society.

Reportage has led me to work in a huge variety of places and organisations. Commissions invariably take the form of Residencies which can last from one day up to two years. The first major project was a two year period in the Royal Liverpool & Broadgreen University Hospital.


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