Our favourite Big Draw events are ones that combine creativity, community and collaboration, and Inspire is an organisation whose work ticks all these boxes, creating brilliant initiatives at their Nottinghamshire libraries and beyond. Inspire have been taking part in The Big Draw Festival for many years now, and we’re always excited to see what they get up to. We spoke to Lucianna Gallucci from the Inspire Libraries and Culture team to talk about their previous and upcoming Big Draw happenings, their recent award wins and the importance of collaboration.
Interview: Lucia Vinti in conversation with Lucianna Gallucci
Hi Lucianna! We’re so pleased to have Inspire as part of The Big Draw once again. Last year, we spoke to dance artist Takeshi Matsumoto, who worked with Inspire to run workshops that explored combining drawing with dance. What was your highlight from the work you did with Takeshi, and from your 2022 Big Draw activities?
Takeshi was an absolute pleasure to work with for our 2022 Big Draw project. The workshop style was very different to ones we have previously delivered; a refreshing take on mark making. What I liked about the workshops were how collaborative and adaptable they were. Everybody could take part to move and draw together. The main highlight for me was seeing how drawing really brings people together; the adults dancing and the head teachers laying on their bellies helping to colour in the shapes the children had made. No one could resist joining in and adding their bit to the artworks.
Photo Credit: Neil Pledger
You also worked with ABL Health to run your Big Draw project – could you let us know about the collaboration and how you worked together, and why working together was important to you?
We developed a strong partnership with ABL Health (commissioned by Nottinghamshire County Council to provide a county wide integrated health offer) to use visual art and specifically The Big Draw to engage families in deprived areas of Nottinghamshire, including the Nottinghamshire Cultural Education Partnership area, with health services.
With ABL’s support we were able to commission a legacy video for the project. Create Animate made a beautiful short animation called ‘Move’, inspired by Takeshi’s workshops, to raise awareness of the importance of creating and moving together as a family.
We wanted to use drawing as an aid to good mental and physical health, and to link to the Library Universal Offers: ‘Culture and Creativity – Explore, Create, Participate’ and ‘Health and Wellbeing - Healthier, Happier, Connected’. The collaboration helped us find a creative approach that raised the profile of ABL’s family health services and helped Inspire reach out to new audiences.
What advice would you give to art and culture organisations looking to work more collaboratively with external organisations, companies and artists?
By working in collaboration, you can co-create a larger project with a show stopping outcome. You can combine forces and share specialist skills. You can reach new audiences and increase advocacy. The power of collaboration is every partner has skills, contacts, resources and expertise to bring to the table and it’s the collective effort that can give you fantastic results.
The power of a cultural approach, using artists to reach audiences for a partner on a topic that may not seem obvious at first, is very powerful. The best place to start is to ask for what you need if you think they can provide it (e.g. money, materials, a space, an idea or an audience), or to ask a partner what they need and see if you can provide it. Focus on what you can contribute to the collaboration.
Earlier this year we announced that Inspire won not one but two Big Draw Festival Awards, for the years 2020 and 2021 – congratulations! What does winning the award mean to you?
We were over the moon after winning two awards, we thought there had been a mistake! Each year we love delivering The Big Draw and focus on a different goal, audience or purpose, using drawing as the conduit, so we were thrilled to receive an award for doing something we enjoy so much. We could not have done these magnificent projects without the brilliant professional artists that we were able to work with, or without having access to the wonderful library buildings we can use as venues and exhibition spaces.
This year’s Big Draw Festival theme is Drawing with Senses, exploring how we personally process the world using our senses, and how this can be translated into artwork.
The process of both making an artwork and experiencing an artwork utilises all the senses but having this as the theme I think will make us more aware of it. You could focus on any one of the senses to direct the work but Inspire want to think about them as a way to connect to place.
How does the theme of Drawing with Senses resonate with you?
It’s a great theme, everyone can relate, and it fits well with what Inspire are proposing to do in 2023. We are very excited to be delivering our Big Draw in six beautiful outdoor settings across Nottinghamshire so we will be sure to tap into the sights, smells, sounds and feelings of each special place, and we may treat ourselves to some tasty biscuits along the way!
What have you got in store for your Big Draw events this year?
Inspire have once again joined forces with the Miner2Major Landscape Partnership Scheme to help leave a legacy of artworks in key locations across Sherwood Forest.
We are delighted to be working with visual artists Mandy Keating, Tracey Meek and sculptor Chris Campbell who will work with groups across the chosen venues to create the artworks.
This work is part of a wider national project working with renowned portrait photographer, Alistair Morrison. Alistair has created Time to Connect, photographing people and places around the UK and Nottinghamshire is the starting point for this journey!
And finally, we’re asking all our sponsor-partner organisations to tell us their favourite…
Taste? A perfectly brewed cup of coffee to get the creative juices flowing
Smell? Fresh paper
Sight? An interesting pattern
Feeling? The excitement you feel when starting a new project
Sound? Primary school children clapping and saying thank you in unison after a successful school visit 😊
Thank you so much Lucianna! To find out more about Inspire: Culture, Learning and Libraries, visit their website or give them a follow on social media.
Interested in taking part in The Big Draw? Registrations for our 2023 festival 'Drawing with Senses' are open now! Find out the benefits of becoming an organiser here and about this years sense-sational theme here.