Drawing is both a sophisticated and vital means of thinking and communicating, and is readily accessible to all. As a primary visual language, essential for neurological development and enhanced communication and expression, drawing is perhaps as important as the development of written and verbal skills. The need to understand the world through visual means would seem more acute than ever; with images transcending many barriers of language and enhancing communications in an increasingly globalised world.
Alongside a need for drawing skills for those entering employment identified by a range of industries in the creative sectors – animation, architecture, design, fashion, film, theatre, performance and the communication industries – drawing is also widely used within a range of other professions as a means to develop, document, explore, explain, interrogate and plan, including in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, medicine and sport. The insistence of drawing as creative act and as a means to encounter and analyse experience is clear.
The passion and enthusiasm to develop knowledge and understanding of drawing has grown substantially in the last few decades in the UK, as evidenced by numerous initiatives in the UK, including the annual Jerwood Drawing Prize exhibition, of which I am the founding director.
Throughout my career, as an artist, educator and exhibition organiser, I have been involved in championing the role of drawing in creative practice and more widely.
In 2015 I was looking for a new studio in the area and, as well as providing me with a beautiful space to make work, Bridge House serendipitously provided the opportunity to expand Drawing Projects UK through a physical location and by establishing a centre for the research and development of drawing and contemporary art in Trowbridge. Drawing Projects UK was established in 2009 to develop, organise and promote projects that provide opportunities to experience drawing and to gain knowledge and understanding of drawing in the UK.
In 2016, the Open to Draw programme will feature artists from the UK and Australia. The scheme is open to applications for the proposal of individual projects that test and develop new approaches to drawing and the exploration of drawing within a wide range of practices.
Open to Draw aims to facilitate the development of new work and to foster dialogue through public interface with the research and development of drawing through exhibition, workshops and public presentations within The Drawing Centre as a site for the testing of ideas in and through drawing.
Generous support from Bridge House Community Trust enabled the establishment of The Drawing Centre project space and training room, which underpins our research and development and facilitates public engagement. This includes The Drawing Sessions with leading artists, designers and makers and our partnership with Trowbridge Arts to deliver Exploring Drawing.
Wider programming includes artists, makers, designers and curators and provides professional development, mentoring and networking opportunities with fellow professionals and the wider public. Bridge House also has workspaces available to rent for individuals and micro-enterprises, and we have plans to open a café and a retail arm.
Almost a year on, we are still very much in the early days of implementing our vision, to breathe new life into Bridge House as a creative and cultural hub dedicated to drawing and contemporary art. If you would like to know more, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on Twitter @drawingprojects