Historic England takes part in The Big Draw Festival

By Jessica Durston - 21 October 2021

  • Preparing Aerial Photography for Digitisation (credit - Historic England Archive)

    Preparing Aerial Photography for Digitisation (credit - Historic England Archive)

The pop-up event will welcome visitors to the Swindon Designer Outlet Centre for the festival between 25 - 29 October.

  • Aerial photography on film (credit - Historic England Archive)

    Aerial photography on film (credit - Historic England Archive)

This year, the Historic England Archive is taking part in the The Big Draw, an international celebration of drawing, for the first time.

The team from the Archive will be showcasing the role of drawing in recording heritage and in imagining the future of Swindon's built environment. The event will draw inspiration from the vast collections of the national Archive of England’s historic environment, which is based in Swindon’s Railway Village.

Katherine Clough, Engagement and Volunteering Officer at the Historic England Archive, said: “The Historic England Archive is a huge resource for creative inspiration, telling the story of the shared memories and lived histories of places in England.

"The Swindon Designer Outlet Centre is great place to explore this topic as an example of the successful reuse of part of the Great Western Railway Works site. We will be inviting the public to use drawing to explore the heritage of the immediate location as well as to creatively imagine how we can make positive changes in the places we live.”

Visitors to Historic England’s Big Draw pop-up event will be able to view a specially prepared large aerial image of Swindon from the 1940s, which gives a flavour of the Archive’s air photography collections and reveals how much Swindon has changed and stayed the same in the past 80 years.

There will also be a communal floor drawing celebrating the Swindon’s Railway Village and the Heritage Action Zone, which is helping to breathe new life into the area.  Displays drawn from the extensive Archive collections will showcase the many ways of visually recording Swindon's heritage.

The team from the Archive will be running a variety of creative activities throughout the week for all ages and that are family friendly. Free drawing materials will be provided and there will be free creative resources available to take away to use at home, as well as information on how to access the Historic England Archive collections online. 

Kathy added: “We want to encourage creative responses which reflect this year’s Big Draw theme of ‘Make the Change’ by promoting drawing as a way of bringing people together, to explore the role of heritage in discovering ways to live in balance with the world around us, and to plan for the future”.

Kate Mason, director of The Big Draw said: “As always, The Big Draw Festival is for anyone who loves to draw, as well as those who think they can’t! The Big Draw Festival brings together hundreds of thousands of people to learn, experiment and bring ideas to life through drawing and play.

“Whether organising or participating, The Big Draw Festival is an opportunity for individuals, organisations and even countries to join a global community in celebration of the universal language of drawing."

The Big Draw Festival takes place all year round, with the official Festival month being celebrated in October. Since 2000, the international celebration of drawing, which brings people together under the banner ‘drawing is a universal language’, has taken place annually across over 25 countries, involved over 1000 events and has encouraged over four million people back to the drawing board.

Tina Cumpstey, Centre Manager at the McArthurGlen Swindon Designer Outlet said: “We are always keen to support those local initiatives that bring our community closer together, and the Big Draw Festival is an event we eagerly await each year. We love celebrating the creativity and unique vision of participants and look forward to admiring all the beautiful entries to this year’s festival.”

Arts education charity, The Big Draw, which is the founder and driving force behind the Festival, believes that everyone can draw. They also promote drawing as a universal language that has the power to change lives and unite people of any age, background, race, or religion from around the globe. Anyone can register or attend an event as part of the Festival.

More information about the Festival and Drawing Inspiration from Historic England Archive can be found at www.thebigdraw.org

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