The Drawing Associates programme was originally launched in 2010 with great success. Starting in early 2017, our various associates around the country will begin implementing ideas, events and programmes to celebrate drawing in all its forms. Over the coming weeks the associates will be contributing to The Big Draw blog to highlight what they will be up to in 2017!
We’re pleased to announce our first blog piece from Susan M Coles, our Drawing Associate for the North East of England. You can find out more about Susan’s work at http://www.artcrimes.org.uk/
NEATEN stands for North East Art Teacher Educator Network. We are an autonomous, non- hierarchical network operating across a wide geographical area in the North East of England. Each term, we meet at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, who are our supporters and partners. We also run skill-share sessions in other galleries, schools and wherever we can find a space, and the network continues to thrive on social media through our Facebook page. Our group is large and diverse - though many of us are secondary school teachers, we comprise representatives from all phases of education.
We have been involved with The Big Draw for the past five years. As one of The Big Draw’s Drawing Associates, I wanted us to be more active in promoting the charity as well as taking part ourselves. So, we now run an annual (free) professional development (CPD) session for teachers on The Big Draw. We organise and facilitate a large public event (at Baltic) every year and we are involved in many other initiatives such as Come Draw With Me, a wonderful social event where we eat, socialise and draw together. This has involved anything from, drawing at the beach, to the core skills of life drawing.
This year, we are ten years old and the plan is to celebrate in many ways, including creating videos and online resources from some of the Big Draw work we have done and some of the good practice going on in our North East schools.
We champion drawing across the curriculum and as an essential tool for expression, communication and recording in all aspects of our busy lives. Some of us are also active as artists and teachers in the national Sketchbook Circle programme (www.sketchbookcircle.com)
and we have had an exhibition of our work at Baltic in 2015. That was a defining moment for us and has made us more ambitious for the future – to go further in showcasing and sharing what we do. In October of 2016 we organised the Sketchbook Circle Residential Weekend at Baltic, a fantastic opportunity for some great workshops and to embrace the Big Draw’s STEAM theme for that year’s festival.
NEATEN are also very proud to have won Big Draw Awards for our Big Draw Festival events in both 2015 and 2016. As an unfunded group, we’ve been able to re-invest our prize money, using it to work with Baltic in funding further CPD as well as acquiring art equipment, allowing us to do more skill-share sessions across the region. We were also delighted to present as a network at the Big Draw STEAM Symposium in September 2016, sharing our and told our story so far.
We value the work of Big Draw enormously, and the opportunity and support it has given us. We look forward immensely to our upcoming tenth birthday year in 2017 and working further with The Big Draw and its cause of visual literacy - we’re already planning for Big Draw events!