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'Drawing on Topolski' and the Chronicle Residency programme 2

Topolski Studio and Reportager, University of the West of England, present the work of the 2nd Chronicle Residency Programme, including the film, 'Drawing on Topolski' by filmmaker Alistair Oldham, documenting the first Residency Programme.


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Drawing on Topolski

‘Drawing on Topolski’ was a practice as research based project funded by UWE Bristol. Its principal aim was to produce a short documentary film that explored the relationship between reportage drawing and documentary filmmaking, as a collaboration between the filmmaking and illustration departments of UWE, and the Topolski Residency Programme, operating out of the Topolski Studios in London. It also set out to document the legacy of Feliks Topolski as one of the leading exponents of reportage drawing, particularly in the recounting of the Memoir of the Twentieth Century (the six hundred foot mural that he painted under the arches of Waterloo Bridge) and the remarkable Topolski Chronicles, the printed chronicles of Topolski’s drawings hand printed by the artist on brown butcher’s paper every couple of months over the course of two decades.

» Download an full account of the project

» Download an condensed account of the project

Completed in September 2014, the film has worked successfully as part of an interdisciplinary exploration of reportage drawing that has found expression across the different platforms of film, drawing, sound, exhibitions and screenings, as well as being distributed online and in conference presentations.

Alistair Oldham is a Senior Lecturer in Filmmaking at UWE.

Drawing on Topolski from acacia films on Vimeo.

Chronicle Residency programme

The Topolski Chronicle Residency is a three-month Reportage and documentary drawing programme hosted by the Topolski studio in London. The programme is run by Andrea Marie and co-delivered by Gary Embury. The studio overlooks the London eye in the one of the arches of Hungerford Bridge at Waterloo and houses the archive of one of the most prolific reportage artists and chroniclers of the 20th century.

Following the success of the first Topolski Chronicle Residency programme in 2013, a second residency took place during the summer of 2014.
Ed Burn, Luisa Crosbie, Pat Macdonald, Jack Miller, Jack Wheatley and Georgia Wilson, working with renowned Master class reportage artists,  Lucinda Rogers, Anne Howeson, Julia Midgley and Chloe Regan produced a hand-printed Chronicle, a broadsheet of reportage drawing, chronicling contemporary issues of the Twenty-First century, and an exhibition at the Topolski studio on the South bank.

Sixty years since Feliks Topolski launched his Chronicles, Topolski Studio’s Chronicle for the Twenty-First Century and accompanying reportage drawings of London were exhibited alongside Topolski’s original Chronicles and drawings, contrasting what Topolski recorded 50 and 60 years ago with what the young artists record today.

As part of the programme the residents initially took part in a dérive  and drawing Peloton starting from Topolski’s studio on the Southbank through Charing Cross, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, China Town, eventually drawing back towards the Southbank, where they attended and drew at the 70th birthday celebrations of renowned poet David Constantine as part of the South Bank Centre’s Poetry International event at the Royal festival hall. Other drawing locations included the Invictus games, cycling, rugby and athletics, The WW1 Centenary events, Notting Hill carnival, and a Bike repair shop in London amongst others.