Students Collaborate to Create Art Workshop

Tuesday 12 June 2018
The Drawn Exchange

Artistic talent can be found in a myriad of places and people, and the ability to sense these creative skills can lead to some fantastic opportunities.

Photography student Georgia Hunt visited Abbeyfield Residential Home with the aim of setting up a photography workshop, but soon refreshed her plans in order to create a space for the residents to hone their drawing skills. The catalyst for such a change was when Georgia discovered that some beautiful artwork was being created in the privacy of the residents' bedrooms.

Georgia explained: "I saw an opportunity to immerse myself in this community, to facilitate a space, to reflect and be creative. Very quickly, I understood what an immense privilege it was to be an insider, to gain access to this private world."

Georgia's good friend and Drawing student, Alice Howard, quickly joined the art group soon after it was set up, bringing a love of literature and a foundational understanding of drawing. Similar to the practise of art therapy, the group's emphasis lay in the process of creating art and the quality of the relationships that were forged. The Drawn Exchange was the result of this collaboration between artists.

Each week, Georgia and Alice provided the residents with the materials needed to create their drawings. Speaking on the sessions, Georgia reflected: "We begin each meeting with an exercise to engage the emotional mind. Sometimes, we begin drawing with the non-dominant hand to activate the right hemisphere of the brain, to stimulate emotions and allow the subconscious to emerge through drawing.

"I like to think of it as 'preparing the groundwork' for further art-making to occur yet it was often the most profound part. There is a raw quality that emerged through the drawings."

In an exhibition organised by Alice and Georgia, the artwork produced by the residents over a seven-month period was showcased at Abbeyfield. The exhibition was shown in communal areas of the residential home, and attended by residents, students and other visitors personally invited by the duo.

Speaking on the impact of the Drawing course on her skill development, Alice stated: "BA Drawing made me realise that, in order to really push a drawing to its full potential, you need other artists around you. The art on the Drawing course is often made alone, but they are a product of the people surrounding the artist.

"At the end of a collaborative drawing in the art group someone said to me, 'You have done to my drawing what I would never have dared'. This also true of BA Drawing. The technical skills and critiques from tutors and fellow students creates an atmosphere of encouragement and possibility. Out of this, we create work we would not otherwise have dared to attempt."