New approaches through the practise of drawing: Developing agency through online delivery
At the University of Derby all drawing sessions for BA Textile Design students have been taking place online since September 2020 in order to prioritise campus time for studio use. These sessions have been delivered synchronously and this change, whilst a challenge for staff and students alike, has proven more successful than anticipated and has affected student practice in some interesting ways. This paper seeks to set out these changes, bring together some initial discussion of the impact they have had, and look at how this might affect how drawing is taught within Textile Design courses at University level in the future.
As academics we wanted to inform the way drawing was viewed by students who often see it simply a means to an end, a component that is assessed and therefore cursory. Engagement in the practise of drawing is evident in student design outcomes; in our experience students with adequate observation, analysis, development, evaluation and communication in their sketch books are the ones with the most distinctive, successful design outcomes.
The introduction of bi-weekly synchronous drawing sessions has had a huge impact on the confidence, individual handwriting and skill development of all students who have engaged with the sessions. A sense of an online visual community has developed between all three levels of the Textile Design course and in looking more broadly at the long term benefits, online delivery, accessed from any device, anywhere allows for a level of accessibility and inclusivity that can sometimes be less evident in a traditional studio setting.