the drawing shed is an artist-led fully constituted non-profit arts organisation, set up in 2009 and managed by a rigorous professional board. It is led by visual artist directors Sally Labern and Bobby Lloyd who practice both collaboratively and autonomously, using diverse media and engaging with ideas led work around creating ‘communities of the imagination‘ and issues of resilience, resistance, commonality, class, and displacement. Based on two housing estates in Walthamstow, East London, the work is inter-generational and inter-cultural and involves diverse partners and communities which include teenage girls, boys, women, mixed gender adult groups and older people.
the drawing shed’s three trademark mobile spaces, established in 2009/10/11 as an artist-led resource, form a central platform for our creative practice and are at the heart of the drawing shed. These three mobile studios – the drawing shed, ClayOven and PrintBike (sponsored by Brompton) - live in the drawing shed’s three garages on The Drive housing estate E17, courtesy of the estate managers, Ascham Homes, from where the artists have run socially engaged projects both on the local estates, at Forest YMCA and in settings across London since 2009. Through these mobile projects, the drawing shed is able to go to where people are rather than waiting for them to arrive, also using online tools, such as Twitter, where and when it fits. Bridging in and out of the durational project on the estates, social media, printmaking, festival, pop-up cinema, food, film, installation, ‘public’ intervention and live art writing are used to create art works, share ideas, develop community-based performance and an inter-community dialogue.
the drawing shed works closely with University of East London (IHHD) on the relationship between creativity, networks and community cohesion. We have three years of diverse experience using our mobile studios to deliver socially engaged and dialogical arts projects. The artists often develop long-term relationships with individuals which allow complex and rich collaborations to emerge as trust develops. Integral to our work is a strong focus on developing dialogue that includes elements of friction and contested ideas, and the celebration of difference through the content of visual arts projects. Alongside this, we also respond as individuals and in collaboration to commission briefs for site specific and other work that extends our ideas and practice. While the work is led by Labern and Lloyd as lead artists, other artists are brought into the team for their willingness to engage with the unpredictable.
Funded by Arts Council England (ACE) in addition to local council ward funds and charitable trusts, the drawing shed has worked with diverse partners including: Well London with the Institute of Health and Human Development at University of East London (UEL/IHHD) and London Sustainability Exchange; Arts Council England (ACE); Goldsmiths College, University of London; Forest YMCA; Allies and Morrison; Dohaland; University of Qatar; Pentonville Prison; BAAT; A New Direction; Local Authorities; primary & secondary schools, including Walthamstow School for Girls; Walthamstow International Film Festival and E17 Art Trail; New Work Network; London Arts and Health Forum (LAHF); Live Art Development Agency; Studio Polpo; Immediate Theatre; Proboscis; Campaign for Drawing (Big Draw national award winners 2009), and most recently, Heart in the Community (Public Health/Social Action for Health), Pakistani Community Forum, and Well London Phase Two/UEL.