Oxford hosts launch of the world's biggest drawing festival

12 August 2015

On 19 September 2015, renowned author, Philip Pullman, and Children's Laureate, Chris Riddell, will launch international drawing festival, The Big Draw 2015, at a free public event championing visual literacy and connecting nine venues across Oxford in an epic celebration of creativity.

Image of Chris Riddell drawing for the Big Draw launch 2015Hosted by the world famous Bodleian Libraries, and announced by celebrated author Philip Pullman and Children's Laureate Chris Riddell, the launch of this year's Big Draw Festival will champion the universal language of drawing and highlight the importance of creativity in education, literature and society.

Following a public launch at the Weston Library, Bodleian Libraries, a free Walk & Draw Trail will connect nine of Oxford's leading galleries, museums and arts organisations demonstrating the relevance of drawing across all sectors and revealing this year's Big Draw theme, Every Drawing Tells a Story. Throughout the international Big Draw festival (1-31 October), visitors can discover treasures old and new in creative workshops at each Oxford venue, using a map specially designed by artist Adam Dant.

The launch will offer over twenty unique activities for all ages, starting in the Weston Library with an open invitation to sign in to the world's longest visitors' book, drawing alongside famous and budding illustrators. Visitors can experience the magic of drawing with a camera obscura; make their own artist's books and print using the Bodleian's wooden press; have their portrait drawn by three actual robots; join artist Claire Duffy and the World Wildlife Fund-UK to support a campaign to save endangered birds; discover  digital drawing with Angus Dick and work with artist Adam Dant, official recorder - in drawings - of the recent General Election, to create a bibliotopia.

Image of Adam Dant drawing of Oxford venues for the Big Draw Launch 2015Young visitors to The Story Museum can colour themselves a takeaway meal in the Ready, Steady, Colour tent, paint with arrows at the Ashmolean Museum and discover what's hidden inside secret drawers at the Pitt Rivers Museum before making minibeast masterpieces and dinosaur doodles at Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Participants of all ages can try 3D drawing at the Museum of the History of Science, yarn-storm Radcliffe Square with Deadly Knitshade, contribute to a never-ending collaborative drawing at Modern Art Oxford or animate a prequel to ‘The Tempest’ with digital media at the Old Fire Station. Blackwell's Bookshop will host cartooning sessions and competitions to accompany a book signing by Chris Riddell.

Sue Grayson Ford, President of The Big Draw and coordinator of the Oxford launch, said:

'The Big Draw is a charity that changes lives by helping people to express themselves through the universal language of drawing. At hundreds of events across the globe, our annual Big Draw encourages communities to breakdown cultural barriers, individuals to banish inhibitions, pick up a pencil and see where their imaginations lead, and policymakers to witness the power of drawing. It is a great privilege to be joined by so many of Oxford's leading cultural institutions to demonstrate its role in their work.'

Richard Ovenden, Bodley’s Librarian, said:

'It is very exciting to see the Big Draw launched in Oxford and we're delighted that the Bodleian Libraries are able to participate, with the new Weston Library a key site for the launch. Oxford has a rich artistic history and the Big Draw Festival is a wonderful way to showcase the city's creativity, taking inspiration from the amazing artists and the world-class collections held by many of the participating venues across the city and the university.'

Celebrated Author, Philip Pullman, said:

'I'm really looking forward to The Big Draw because drawing is such a pleasure that I want everyone to share it. The feeling of a sharp pencil moving over a piece of good paper is a delight to the hand as well as to the eye. By far the best way to see things clearly is to draw them, and looking and drawing are a key to understanding the world in quite different ways from listening and reading. Literacy is vital, of course, but it would be wonderful to give everyone - adult as well as child - a chance to master picturacy as well.'

To find out more about The Big Draw visit: www.thebigdraw.org or download the Big Draw Launch leaftlet (PDF, 1MB) for details of the Oxford launch events.

Image credits: top - Chris Riddell, middle - Adam Dant

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