I am delighted to be invited by drawingisfree_ org, to join 14 other practitioners as part of the Drawing Projects UK PechaKucha style Symposium discussing the impact of lockdown on practice and drawing.
In early August I was invited to Shenzhen, China as the external consultant for the Fun Drawing company. Fun Drawing specialises in pre-school art, design and creative classes for students between the ages of 4-12 years. Fun Drawing have over 20 years experience in the field of creative education and have over 100 schools across the major cites in China.
I spent a week in Shenzhen working directly with Fun Drawing’s research and development team, reviewing current curriculum and teaching methodologies. It was my role to develop approaches to integrate and adapt UK art, design and creative teaching, learning, theories, strategies and approaches into the curriculum.
Across the week, we worked together to develop a range of new projects, looking at the learning styles and interests of the different age groups. The focus was on developing a more holistic approach to skills acquisition and competencies and also greater integration of creative thinking and action based learning, directly linked to UK creative education models and practices.
One area of key research was the identification and use of primary research sources, in the form of integrating gallery and site visits into the programme of study. This led to taking 30 students to the the Team Lab Exhibition and Research Project, in Shenzhen. The exhibition led by a group of artists from Japan focused on the application of digital, interactive light based installation and technology. The drawings produced were then used to instigate a class in the teaching studio, where students expanded on their experiences and drawings through collage, drawing and painting.
This was a extremely exciting, simulating and rewarding experience. I was also able to meet with the children’s parents, over 60% of them had studied in the UK and/or the US and high valued their experience and hoped their children would also have such opportunities in the future.
I’m looking forward to the next stage of the project and the implementation of the newly developed curriculum. I will be returning to Shenzhen in October, to speak at Fun Drawing’s Annual Conference and present the current research and development.
The first UK exhibition of the Trace Engines project, which included a solo exhibition of drawings and mono prints at the AIP Gallery, Redtory Art Zone, Guangzhou in 2015, opens on the 25th November 2016 at the Rochester Art Gallery, Kent.
The private view is on the 24th November from 6:30pm and there will also be a series of workshops and artist’s talks that accompany the exhibition. This current show, from 24.11.16 to 20.02.17, brings together new work and pieces produced during my residency in China.
‘Trace Engines is a series of amalgamated drawings that on the one hand suggest a design or plan for something to come, and on the other seem like the residue of something that has already been. In this, they constitute a process of mediation where the acts and media of their creation – the drawing, tracing and mono printing – become iterative expressions that model an as yet unknown object.’
I had the great honour to be invited to speak at the Shenzhen Education Conference on October 26, 2016, as part of their Fun Drawing initiative. Introducing UK Foundation teaching and learning methodologies to over 300 pre-school educationalists from throughout China, alongside other professionals from the industry.
The panel discussions dealt with the challenges of the incredible growth in interest for the creative industries from a new generation of aspirational parents, keyed into the opportunities the Arts can offer their children.
As a precursor to my next lecture visit to China later this month here are a couple of promotional items and some photos from the previous tours of 2016.
Photos from CAFA High School (Central Academy of Fine Art Beijing), AIP Arts International Programs Guangzhou, GAFA High School, Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, British Council school tour Tianjin and Shenzhen National Art Museum.
A well received exhibition of research papers detailing works from the Trace Engines series last month in various schools in Tianjin. Here are pdf versions of my artist’s statement, a critique of the work by Dr Mary-Lou Barratt and a commentary by Mike Addison, Head of School at UCA.