University wins top 'Campaign for Drawing' award

The University's Cultural Engagement Team recently won a prestigious Drawing Inspiration Award from the Campaign for Drawing for their outstanding Big Draw event, The Drawing Factory.

The Drawing Factory, held in October 2012, used drawing to promote the University’s wide range of museums and collections to students, academics and the wider public. It also introduced the University’s artists-in-residence, and raised funds for LUCIA, an African charity founded by University staff.

Against a drawn factory backdrop, industrial props and soundtracks, a shop floor of amateur and professional artists in boiler suits busily produced drawings. Staff acting as foremen, sales managers and quality controllers added to the atmosphere and sold mass-produced drawings for £1 and commissioned portraits for £2. Over 250 visitors watched, or were recruited as ‘temps’ to make work for their own consumption, or to add to stock. Curiosity and the event’s noisy theatricality drew in many people, who joined in debates about subjectivity and valuing art.

Luke Gardiner, Trustee of the Barbara Whatmore Charitable Trust, presented the University's Cultural Engagement Team with the Award and a commemorative certificate designed by Campaign Patron Sir Quentin Blake. The Campaign for Drawing selected The Drawing Factory for the Runner Up Award from over 1,500 events that celebrated drawing throughout the UK, and in other parts of the world.

The Big Draw is an annual drawing bonanza, involving an estimated 200,000 people in inclusive creative activities. From 1- 31 October 2013, people from all walks of life will again join events across the UK, and internationally, their subjects and materials will be equally wide-ranging, spanning art, science and technology.

Sue Grayson Ford, Campaign Director, commented “The Big Draw is an open invitation to use drawing for learning, engagement and enjoyment. The University of Birmingham superbly demonstrated The Big Draw’s aims of bringing people together, engaging them creatively and supporting active learning. I am amazed at how inspired organisers expand drawing’s boundaries, and bring vast amounts of enthusiasm and imagination to their events.”

Fruther details on the University's Cultural Engagement team are available at


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