The Big Draw Festival at Parliament

Drawn Together: Collaborating Creatively 


Drawn Together: Collaborating Creatively  was a summit of seven arts and education All Party Parliamentary Groups that took place at Parliament as part of the international Big Draw Festival, which this year celebrates a STEAM Powered theme in support of arts education.

With the economic output of the creative industries in 2014 amounting to £84.1billion and the sector accounting for 5.8% of jobs within the UK, as well as £19.8 billion of annual UK services exports, organisers argue that a high-quality, inclusive arts education is not only important to the well-being of the nation’s children and young people and unlocking their creative talents, but also to the country’s wider economic prosperity.


The ‘Drawn Together: Collaborating Creatively’  summit saw MPs and Peers from across the two Houses show their support for arts education and the UK’s creative industries and meet with various education, artistic and creative people who work in the sector. Even Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, popped in to meet members of the APPGs and show his support for arts education.


Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn MP, at Drawn Together summit


Children's Laureate and Patron of The Big Draw, Chris Riddell was also in attendance to show his support and document the proceedings.


Chris Riddell captures Jeremy Corbyn discussing arts education with Sharon Hodgson MP, as Frances Quinn, Ambassador of The Big Draw, contributes to the collaborative cartoon.


Drawn Together was hosted by Sharon Hodgson MP, Chair of the Art, Craft and Design in Education APPG, who warmly welcomed guests to what was the first summit to bring together seven creative APPGs, collaborating to bring a focused, and significant, impact to their work in education and the arts.

Following Sharon's welcome, Kate Mason, Director of The Big Draw, provided a short introduction to The Big Draw Festival and invited 16-year old "teen wonder-cartoonist" and Ambassador of The Big Draw, Zoom Rockman, to share his own unique and inspirational experience of integrating art across the curriculum.


Children's Laureate and Patron of The Big Draw, Chris Riddell and Ambassador of The Big Draw, Zoom Rockman.


From animating amoebas to illustrating the life of Ghandi, Zoom spoke of how his teachers allowed him to use drawing and visual literacy to directly support his understanding and ability in other subjects.

Unfortunately, Zoom's experience is an exception to the norm, as highlighted by Martha Richler (a.k.a. MARF), who said she did not receive such support at school, being punished for drawing in class before going on to become a renowned political cartoonist.

Design-Baker and Ambassador of The Big Draw, Frances Quinn, was also in attendance and discussed the importance of creativity across the board, and how drawing played its part in her winning the Great British Bake Off back in 2013. 


Designer-Baker and Ambassador of The Big Draw, Frances Quinn


Following short speeches from Chris, Frances, Zoom and MARF, attendees were invited to join them and artist-educator Lily Elms to participate in a collaborative drawing activity.


Towards the end of the event, each APPG made a short 5 minute presentation explaining who they were and why they were there. We heard from:

  • Lord Howarth of Newport, Co-Chair of the APPG for Arts, Health and Well Being
  • Lesley Butterworth, General Secretary of NSEAD, from the APPG for Art, Craft and Design in Education
  • Deborah Annetts, CEO of Incorporated Society of Musicians and Founder of Bacc for the Future, representing the APPG for Music Education. Music Education
  • Jack Tindall, from The Design Commission, and the APPG for Design and Innovation.
  • Diane Widdison, National Organiser for Education and Training for the Musicians Union, from the APPG for Performers Alliance
  • A representative from the APPG for Children's Media and the Arts spoke on behalf of Baroness Benjamin of Beckenham.
  • Chris Waterman from the APPG for the Teaching Profession

Sharon Hodgson MP closed the event, thanking everyone for coming and encouraging each organisation to keep up the good work and ensure MPs and Peers were made aware of all that they were doing.


 Further Information