Drawn Together: A conversation with the Collection
The five day artist residency in the Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow entitled ‘Drawn Together: A conversation with the collection’ was a digital auto-ethnographic research project that explored the author’s creative making process, (which has a strong emphasis on drawing) from their point of view as artist (inside observee) and researcher (outside observer). This methodology provided an opportunity to examine what the making process looked like as well as what and how it was experienced. This insight into practice was used to reflect on and change the work, as well as to provide opportunities to reflect on how students might learn and develop their own practices. Drawing is an established part of my practice and so therefore I began by examining the process of drawing as well as the thinking that occurs in that process. Drawing became a reflective vehicle in and of itself, a way to start and research a process. My reflective activity related to how I was drawing and what this looked like (by recording myself drawing with a head mounted camera).
Conversations were made with visitors to the museum, as dialogic reflection with myself and with others on a blog (drawnconversation.wordpress.com). Conversations focused on visitors’ and my own experiences of drawing, our engagement with museum artefacts, the experiences of being a resident artist and the research itself. Conversation also represents the forms of dialogue between observer and artefact expressed through different drawing approaches. These visual conversations were documented and reflected on in person and on the blog. Visitors shared their drawings and they were questioned about what they were thinking and feeling whilst making them. My own insights into the process of drawing and these on-going conversations were reflected on through further drawings and conversations throughout the week and shaped the practice. This presentation/paper will examine this experience in depth and put the questions: ‘What happens when we draw together?’ and ‘How is conversation formed and understood?’ at its centre. The co-creation of artwork through this process was an alternative approach to collaborative drawing. This co-creative practice emerged from real and virtual conversations rather than from a copresence as a collaborative method such as working on the same piece of paper.
The use of a blog to record and share the on-going documentation of the residency (writing, films, audio recordings, photographs and visitors artwork) created opportunities for further conversations, both with myself and with an imagined/virtual audience. The blog provided an additional space to explore my practice, a space in which to construct a new narrative of my making process that was often prompted by real conversations I’d had with visitors that day. The blog allowed me to reorder and construct new narratives. The process of using a blog made it essential to revisit content from that day, and the previous day. This became an important part of my sense making and enabled me to perceive and create patterns and themes and to think more deeply about my experiences as well as my practice. The conversations, close examination of drawing and use of digital tools took my drawing into new territory. As well as scrutinising familiar approaches to drawing I experimented with more playful ones. These included producing films that documented different viewpoints of making drawings and creating ‘spoken drawings’ where I recorded verbal descriptions of objects.