We’re thrilled to be stealing a few moments with Liverpool Hope University, ahead of their #TheBigDraw event on the 23rd of October.
Photos courtesy: Liverpool Hope.
On your website it is stated that Liverpool Hope University’s distinctive philosophy is to ‘educate in the round’ – mind, body and spirit – in the quest for Truth, Beauty and Goodness. For those of our readers who may not be familiar with Liverpool Hope University, can you tell us a little bit more about the University’s ethos, its history, and perhaps also how its name came about?
Liverpool Hope University is an ecumenical university which draws on the liberal arts tradition to inform its curriculum. The name ‘Hope’ signifies important work by Archbishop Worlock and Bishop David Sheppard in the joining of the Catholic and Anglican church. This is reflected in ‘a sign of hope’. Hope St, is the road that joins the Anglican and Catholic cathedrals in the city of Liverpool.
One of the main components of our work here at The Big Draw is promoting the influence of visual literacy. We believe that it is crucial to a multitude of industries and disciplines, not just within the visual arts sector. Can you share with us your views on the benefits of a visual eye in one’s everyday life?
Although my background is in art education, my current role is quite a departure. I am Head of Disability and Education at LHU and lead programmes in Disability Studies. I believe that visual literacy can and should inform our understanding of the world as part of a multimodal approach. There are tensions in the dominance of literacy, vision and visuality and these can be usefully explored to enhance our understanding of learning. Visual methodologies can inform our understanding of research and practice in the university and should not be reserved for creative arts subjects. However, we need to continue to exemplify the ways in which visual practices can inform across subjects and disciplines.
In the past year alone the UK has seen a 10.2% decline in the uptake of creative subjects, yet recent research and opinion pieces published by Forbes and The Washington Post suggest that creativity will be the most vital skill of the future. Our work at The Big Draw strives to reinforce the importance of art and visual literacy, in both schools and workplaces. I understand that Liverpool Hope University’s Creative Campus, based in Liverpool City Centre, has gone from strength to strength, with an expansion underway. Why do you think it is imperative that creativity, art and culture are not neglected in our education system?
The university is committed to the development of our Creative Campus and is proud of its heritage in the city. The Big Draw event is taking place in the Faculty of Education in our campus in South Liverpool. This signifies our commitment to art education and the importance of drawing in education. As a member of the National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD) I am keen to champion art across the curriculum and to host an event that will bring drawing to future educators, some of whom may have had limited access to the arts in their own school experience. I am aware of the damaging impact of government interventions in the curriculum and consider this to be a highly significant issue and one that needs to be addressed.
We believe that drawing can be life changing; it's an amazing tool for communication, creativity and expression. On top of this, we believe that everyone should have access to drawing, and the broader scope of arts in general. What role do you think that Universities should be playing in the access to arts and creative learning?
Our university supports the arts in our own curriculum offer and is committed to enabling students to experience a wide range of cultural experiences. We are currently engaged in a partnership with North West arts organisation Curious Minds as part of our commitment to cultural education. Drawing is an amazing tool and we are keen to promote accessible forms of engagement as part of our Big Draw. Universities can promote the arts through the courses they offer but also through the promotion of cultural activities. Liverpool offers a great resource in this respect, as a cultural hub. Our students benefit from this vibrant and creative centre. We are committed to championing the arts and creativity; it is essential that universities continue this role particularly in the face of hostile markertisation.
This year, The Big Draw Festival is celebrating the power of Play in the creative process, and its role in innovation, well-being and development. We hope that this theme will encourage people to have fun, let loose and embrace happy accidents. How do you think that Liverpool Hope University embraces Play in its everyday goings-on? Moreover, how will the University be embracing the PLAY spirit in this year’s Big Draw event?
PLAY offers an opportunity for risk-free collaborations. We are encouraging students to play in the large main corridor in our Eden building, home to the Faculty of Education. We are inviting anyone and everyone to come and explore materials and activities in order to develop a collaborative installation using the floor and four wrapped columns. Drawing activities include ‘Figure It Out’ playing with figures, You Can’t Inflate the Importance of Drawing (balloon drawings), Dot to Dot or Dash between the Dots, Random Thesaurus Drawing and Spinning a Yarn (Column wool wrap and drawing through space). There will also be a playful attempt at a large scale collaborative tape drawing!
Liverpool Hope University’s #TheBigDraw event is being held on the 23rd of October, and will offer participants a chance to take part in a range of fun and creative drawing activities! Can you tell us a little more about what people can expect from this year’s event, and why they should get involved?
As well as the activities outlined above my colleague Dr Carly Bagelman is hosting a workshop (1pm – 2pm) exploring the use of drawing as a method for research.
How can drawing open new possibilities for research and action? Carly Bagelman has explored this in a number of ways: drawing plants with Indigenous youth and elders over feasts and in the woods as a part of a food security initiative - illustrating advocacy documents on migrant justice for EAL audiences - drawing with asylum seeker and refugee kids to build more welcoming schools - creating picturebooks to improve dialogue on colonialism - and, teaching students to make zines in place of essays. Carly will share some thoughts on these practices and invite you to participate in using some visual methods in this session. No drawing experience/skill is needed!
What about The Big Draw Festival inspires Liverpool Hope University to take part? Is there any advice or guidance you would give to someone considering organising their own event?
I have wanted to host a Big Draw for the last few years but this year I was determined to take part and to share this commitment with others in the faculty. I have followed the Campaign for Drawing and The Big Draw and have been revisiting my own drawing practice over the last 12 months. Perhaps this was the catalyst. It is not enough to think and read about the importance of creative practice. You have got to do it to understand its importance.
Every mark counts!
Thank you to Claire, and the team at Liverpool Hope University!
Interview by: Matilda Barratt
Liverpool Hope University is one of our Big Draw Festival 2018 Sponsor Partners.
Interested in taking part in their fantastic #Play2018 Big Draw Festival event on the 25th of October? We're not surprised! A link to their full programme can be found here.
Interested in visiting a Big Draw Festival event near you this Autumn? Take a look at our Big Draw 2018 events map here, sign up to our localised event alerts here or perhaps you’d like to join our merry band of Big Draw Festival co-creators and organise your very our events?
Visit our Organise an Event page for guidance on getting started.