Does DRAWING Matter?

Vane Gallery: Parallel lives.  Morten Schelde, Open Road, 2017.

Vane Gallery: Parallel lives.

Morten Schelde, Open Road, 2017.

DRAWING is a programme of exhibitions and events across the North East of England which aims to explore, examine and celebrate drawing in art, culture and the everyday. It is a collaboration between many of the region’s universities as well as museums, galleries (private and public), and other arts and non-arts organisations across the North East and beyond. Creative and cultural diversity is at the heart of what they do. They are passionate about all forms of drawing; from the traditional to the innovative. They actively support artists, makers and designers at all stages of their career to produce, present and promote their drawing practice, while enabling audiences of all ages and abilities the opportunity engage with, make and be inspired by drawing.

Within the current phase of DRAWING, they are inviting all partners, artists and audiences to share their thoughts about what drawing means to them. They would welcome your answer to the question; ‘Does DRAWING Matter?’ - simply go to their website to submit your answer. These will help inform and shape the project’s future activity.

Building of the success of three major drawing programmes over the last five years (What is Drawing?drawing? and now DRAWING) there are plans to develop a programme of ongoing exhibitions and events, building on their national and international profile, linking North East England's diverse communities of artists, creative networks and audiences to national and international communities. 


DRAWING was first conceived by Esen Kaya who co-curated a group show titled ‘What is Drawing?’ in 2013 with Prof Mike Collier, University of Sunderland. drawing? was then launched in 2015 with a six month programme of exhibitions and events funded by a grant from Arts Council England National Lottery Funds, commencing with a headline show of drawings by Sir Antony Gormley at the Hatton Gallery. This was followed by a series of exhibitions by regional, national and international artists including Matthew & Amie Rangel from New Mexico. Their Learning Programme engaged broad audiences including schools, colleges and centres for learning. The project then evolved to form what is now simply DRAWING in 2017.

Since 2015, and with a further grant from Arts Council England National Lottery Funds, they have curated phase two of their programme of exhibitions and events with over twenty partner organisations from across the North East. They have sustained links with those who worked with them in 2015 and established new relationships in a bid to diversify their portfolio. Through this, they have supported the work of over 142 artists including an artist residency project in Stockholm involving two North East artists and engaged over 2,000 participants in this current phase.  

Berwick Visual Arts: People on Paper  Arts Council Collection: Kate Davis

Berwick Visual Arts: People on Paper

Arts Council Collection: Kate Davis

Following the last few events and exhibitions of the November 2017 to January 2018 programme, they will be spending the next few months evaluating DRAWING, and moving forward to the next phase of the project.

The evaluation will follow feedback both from the successful DRAWING Symposium in November 2017 and from their our many partners. Key to DRAWING'S development is a shared, networked and diverse set of aims and objectives.  Between the end of DRAWING 2017/18 and the launch of the next DRAWING programme in 2018/19 they will edit a series of Curated DRAWING Papers focusing on what drawing means to key artists in the UK and abroad. They will invite each artist to speculate on the importance of drawing to their practice - and who and what has influenced their work. These papers will be part interview, part visual essay. Each paper will appear on the project's website and they will encourage teachers, students, artists and communities to interact with this content.

Over time the Curated DRAWING Papers will be collated to from a periodical publication – magazine/book. But the initial format of digital distribution means these can form part of an ongoing dialogue around the project of DRAWING and may be shaped by research or curatorial concerns that occur within programming as these are raised.

To find out more and see how you can get involved with the programme, please email: or visit the website.