Drawn is a biennial open submission drawing exhibition, which aims to explore the boundaries of drawing and celebrate it as both an autonomous discipline and an interdisciplinary tool. 

Drawing has taken on different definitions across the centuries, crossing spatial and theoretical boundaries and creating intersections between disciplines as diverse as typography and photography. As a means of communication and navigation, drawing has taken on a universality and accessibility unlike any other medium. It is a building block of creativity, key to the visualisation and translation of ideas and practices, fundamental in making, doing, testing, designing, thinking, playing and living.

It allows us to analyse, record, map, mark and form, making the abstract legible, and the legible oblique. Its history is inscribed with legibility/conversation as it skirts around the boundaries of text and image. It can be either a representation, or an expression, creating shadows and memories, marks and imprints, traces in space. 

Drawn celebrates this diversity, encouraging artists to explore the gallery using both wall and floor space, utilising both traditional and experimental techniques and technologies.

Submissions for this exhibition are invited from artists of any background who either draw or explore the concept of drawing in their work, including illustrators, videographers, sculptors, printers, embroiderers, typographers, animators and architects, presenting a multidisciplinary approach to this resurgent medium. 

Our Invited Artist is Norman Ackroyd RA who exhibited with us in 2014 for The Power of the Sea. Ackroyd studied at Leeds College of Art from 1956 to 1961, and subsequently at the Royal College of Art, London from 1961 to 1964. Ackroyd has had many solo exhibitions, both in Britain and internationally, and has received several public mural commissions. He is an elected a Royal Academician in 1991 and was made Senior Fellow, Royal College of Art in 2000 and currently lives and works in London. 

This year’s selection panel includes Martin Clayton, Head of Prints and Drawings at the Royal Collection, Johanna Baring, Director and Curator of The Ingram Collection of Modern British and Contemporary Art and Academicians Peter Randall-Page RA RWASarah Gillespie RWA and Lawrence Nash RWA.

Congratulations to our 2017 winners:

 Frances Gynn, Ghost Nets of Hallsands (iii), ink, crayon and charcoal. Winner of The Theresa Knowles Travel Bursary. 

Sarah Hardwick, Washpool, conté pencil. Winner of The Student Prize. 

Sarah Duncan, Steinn, crayon and charcoal. Winner of The Work on Paper Prize. 


The Drawing Lab

Drawn will also be accompanied by The Drawing Lab a space designed to encourage interaction and participation, welcoming all ages and abilities to come inside: investigate, discuss, test, create and play.

Drawing can be an act of communication, a way to navigate or a visual signpost. By making a mark we can create a record, provide clarity, or indicate the point of departure. In the Lab visitors are invited to explore these interpretations of drawing for themselves, using it as a space to pause, consider, and be inspired.

This artist-led space will evolve throughout the exhibition as our artists-in-residence investigate the practice of drawing in the Lab, adding their own drawings and experiments to the walls. We will also be inviting you to make your own contribution by either participating in collaborative workshops, providing feedback, or taking part in one of our drawing games.

A number of different artists and practitioners will be working in the space including RWA Academicians and Artist Network members exploring drawing through physical practice, discussion and workshops.If you are an artist / researcher / performer who would like to take part in this year’s Lab, either working in-situ, trialing new practice, running workshops or devising activities please contact Joel Edwards on joel.edwards@rwa.org.uk

This year the Lab also features Bristol based artist Hannah Sullivan who will be inviting visitors, one at a time, to join her in an immersive drawing performance, Draw To Look. Come and join Hannah at her desk in a simple occasion to experience the 'looking' that drawing allows and the difference it makes.

Hannah will be in the Lab on 2 April, 23 April and 7 May, all are invited to take part in this evolving project. Booking in advance is required via the RWA website here.  More information on Draw To Look Family Drop- In event here. 

Draw To Look is presented in association with MAYK and supported by Arts Council England.

To see how the Drawing Lab evolved last time please visit our Flickr account here.  

Drawn is sponsored by Fresh Contemporary Art Fair.


Times & Prices

Tuesday – Saturday: 10am – 6pm
Sunday: 11pm – 5pm
Monday Closed 
Open Bank Holiday Mondays 

​Adults: £6.95 (includes a 70p donation)
Concessions: £4.95 (includes a 50p donation) 
Under 16s/SGS, UoB & UWE students: FREE
National Art Pass holders: 50% discount on ticket price



Duration: 65 days


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