On Friday 13 April 2018, Marie Taylor, BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing & Printmaking graduate, and Beth Heaney, an MA Drawing student, co-organised ‘The Embodied Experience of Drawing’, a one-day symposium held at Ocean Studios, Plymouth.
As practitioners with a focus on performative drawing, Marie and Beth co-founded ‘Discovering Through Drawing’ in 2017, a platform for contemporary drawing research, with an ambition to create the inaugural symposium.
The event invited papers, workshops and live performances that explored relationships between the body and drawing, investigating issues around exhibiting performative works, audience and boundaries.
“The original idea was to organise our first drawing symposium here in Plymouth, with an aim to create a space for drawing research and discussion in the South West. These forums are important to question and interrogate movements in drawing practice and continue the dialogue, sharing thoughts and ideas with other drawing practitioners, educators and the public. Our first symposium has attracted local, national and international attention which indicates the scope and level of interest.”
— Marie Taylor
Having over 100 delegates all concerned with drawing in one venue created a lively atmosphere of discussion, exchange and connections. Speakers such as Kate Mason, director of The Big Draw organisation, Dr Jo Graham, lecturer in drawing at Falmouth University and Chloe Briggs and Véronique Devoldere of Paris College of Art, captured the geographic range and varied theoretical drawing concerns.
The day provided a flavour of how we experience and apply drawing and what current research is unearthing. Dr Stephen Felmingham chaired the closing plenary remarking that the event had been a huge success gathering together a “community of drawers to see what lives inside. It was about bringing together architecture, theatre, voice, choreography, dance, movement, gesture and many other things, many acts, into a kind of theatre of drawing so suddenly, it becomes everything.”
“As an organisation, Discovering through Drawing’s membership is growing and we are providing associates with opportunities to network, exchange knowledge and share work, through events and exhibitions, but mainly the annual symposium which we are hoping to run over two days in 2019.”
— Beth Heaney
We caught up with some of the visitors to find out what they thought of the symposium:
“Thank you for a brilliant experience”
“I found the day inspiring. As an artist that doesn’t draw, the day opened up new opportunities for me and has given me the confidence to reintroduce drawing into my practice”
“It was a brilliant and extremely insightful event and I would love to attend a future event on the same, or closely related, topic should it be held…”
“At the end of the day, I felt energised and uplifted and eager for more….”
“I really enjoyed the event. It’s the first time I’ve been to Plymouth and I intend to come back…”
Photos by Sarah Packer and Aleks Khotilovski.