Special Projects

The Drawing Attractions programme (2004-2006) explored ways of using drawing to enhance visitors' experience on heritage sites. The aim was to provide evidence of the value of drawing in heritage interpretation and education work. It was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and partnered by a range of heritage agencies. There were archaeological and industrial sites, historic buildings and natural habitats. The programme generated material from 19 case studies for a resource pack for heritage sites, which also has relevance for other environments. The programme also informed a wider network of 500 heritage and education staff with its own quarterly e-newsletters. 7000 Drawing Attractions packs (4 booklets, a DVD of 18 short films and a CD) were distributed to heritage agencies, sites and schools around the country.

The programme investigated ways in which drawing might connect people of all ages with heritage environments, to encourage the use of drawing as a means of engagement and interpretation and to share the outcomes with other heritage sites. It sought to connect people and place, not only to help visitors to explore and observe closely, but also to enable them to see beyond appearances and imagine what life was like in the past. 19 pilot projects on selected heritage sites demonstrated the variety of ways drawing can be used for interpretation. 14 sites ran Testbed schemes, which sought to establish good practice in using drawing to engage the public with historic and natural heritage sites.

Five sites ran Drawn from Memory projects, showing how drawing provides older people with a valuable tool for recollection and interpretation. Projects took place in venues as diverse as a castle, a church, a tin mine, an industrial museum, an archaeological site, a castle, a dance hall and a botanic garden.

Organisers were invited to generate evidence in the form of drawings, digital images of people engaged in drawing activities and interpretative commentaries from themselves, workshop leaders and participants. The aim was to understand the nature and purposes of the drawing activities, their appropriateness for particular places and how they might be used elsewhere.