Professor Stephen Farthing, University of the Arts London


The premise that drives the ‘Drawing Out Network’ was seeded during the first UAL/RMIT University drawing conference held in Melbourne during March 2010. This conference was initiated as a means of exploring cross-disciplinary approaches to drawing and it resulted in the organisers identifying a need for a network that could conduct a systematic analysis of drawing that focused on establishing a better understanding of drawing’s relationship with writing and notation. This constitutes knowledge that we expect to help us establish drawing’s position as an active component of general literacy.

With drawing established in the minds of the organisers as the tangible bridge between textual and non textual communication this Network formed and resolved to firstly formalise and develop its membership, and then to continue the exchange for at least two years with a view towards finally publishing its findings. During this two year period it is expected that as the dialogue between specialist members develops, membership will be expanded to include representatives of groups who are expected to eventually become intellectual beneficiaries of the Network’s research. These will include teachers, educational policy makers and representatives of examination boards.

To this end the Network is now constituted around two hubs, one in London at UAL the other in Melbourne at RMIT. Each hub is organised by a cross-disciplinary committee and brings a different nationally driven pre-existing sub-network to interact with this international Network. Beyond the core focus that both institutions have on art and design, RMIT brings Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Practices, Architecture, Engineering Designs; Creative Writing; Mathematics and Pharmacology to the table. In the UK the debate is broadened and strengthened by UAL’s ability to reach out to scholars in the fields of Linguistics, Musicology, Dance and Geography.

Together, UAL and RMIT have put the Network in place and it features an international cross-generational set of researchers who have a practical and theoretical engagement with drawing and writing. They share an ambition to develop new approaches to integrating the teaching of drawing within the curriculum as a means of enhancing general literacy, problem solving and discovery by connecting the teaching of drawing writing and mathematics, science and humanities subjects.

The Network organising committees for each institution will be as follows:

UAL: ; Professor Stephen Farthing (artist), Network Chair and Rootstein Hopkins Research Chair of Drawing; Professor George Blacklock (artist), Dean of Wimbledon School of Art, Charlotte Hodes (Artist and Ceramicist), Reader and Research Fellow in Drawing at the London College of Fashion. RMIT: Colin Fudge (Town Planner), Pro Vice Chancellor and Vice President

RMIT; Dr Elizabeth Greirson, Professor of Art and Philosophy head of the School of Art and design, RMIT.

The DON will structure its exchanges around two conferences: the first in the UK hosted by UAL in March 2012 and the second at RMIT in Melbourne in March 2013. From October 2011 the PI will work with the administrator to develop a website that will publish the content of meetings and provide an online forum in which users can interact and engage with the issues raised. The website will also serve as an archive and learning resource for the project as a whole.



Project website

RCUK Gateway to Research