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  • Lucy Gallwey

October: rca life drawing



I hope everyone is well. Been busy of late with no time to write my blog, but I'm moving back into it through sharing a conversation I had with an RCA colleague about the life drawing classes myself and my colleague, now friend, Sarah Mercer have started at the Royal College of Art. I'm learning so much at the moment through these classes for staff and students at the college. Together we explore drawing, what it opens up for us, what is takes us away from, how it makes us see differently. Drawing is a first tool for learning and expression embraced immediately by little ones.. Children's drawings are full of thoughts and feelings, the most spontaneous, engaged, genuine responses to life. What happens to adults that takes us away from this immediacy of expression, why does the word become so much more important than this shared visual language we all possess..


*The upcoming RCA Life Drawing classes are now sold out, but don’t worry if you missed out! There’ll be more coming before 2019 is out, so watch this space.


Why did you start Life Drawing classes?


One of the reasons I applied to work in Registry at the RCA was to continue taking life drawing classes. Before working here I was studying at the Royal Drawing School in the evenings. I wanted to develop my practice within a careers context and the RCA offered life drawing classes. When the drawing school closed Sarah Mercer, who was also keen on life drawing classes, and I decided to fill the gap that had been left. 


Who attends?


It’s currently available for staff and students and we’ve had a great mix of the two. We also want to develop a public programme following the success we had with the classes over the last year. The sessions are full for October which shows there is a real demand for these classes! 


You’ve undertaken the RCA’s Teaching Fellowship Scheme. How has this influenced the sessions?


It’s heavily influenced the sessions in terms of  developing my understanding of pedagogy and the creative learning contexts you can make. It’s also encouraged me to be ambitious and exploratory about the programme. Talking through our plans for the sessions with my TFS cohort has helped me reassess the values involved in working at the College. Sarah and I would have done these classes without me being on TFS but it’s definitely enriched the conversation I have about the sessions. 


You were part of the team that put together Hidden, an exhibition of work by RCA Technical Staff. How is the planning going for the next edition?


Hidden is ready to go in March 2020! The space is booked and there is a committed group of technicians and support staff working on ideas for the new show. We are yet to secure funding but that is in progress and we’re all really excited. 


You’ve taken part in the Students’ Union’s Christmas Fête for the past couple of years, will you be doing so again?


Yes! I love the fête. It was the first community project I took part in when I joined the college. In fact, I've already started working on it. I’m trying to make birds for this year. The fête is such a great celebration of creativity and an opportunity to make and sell work. Working at the RCA is part of my ambition to expand my practice and work on educational projects. Getting involved in the fun stuff that happens here helps me explore my practice and meet a wider creative community. 


Lucy and Sarah's life drawing classes explore life drawing and the many ways it can influence our making even if drawing isn't central to our working practice. Drawing is also an amazing way of relaxing, improving memory and wellbeing. Each class brings a different approach to drawing, exploring a wide range of mark-making techniques. Past sessions have included: Working with our limitations; working with colour; light and shadow; music and movement; the exquisite corpse; the figure in the landscape; creating a narrative.


While the October Life Drawing classes are now full, plans for additional classes towards the end of the year are underway, so watch this space! 

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