Press Releases

The Big Draw Goes Green at the Museum of English Rural Life – University of Reading

Release Date : 27 September 2007

The Museum of English Rural Life is holding a Big Draw event on October 13th.

The Museum (MERL), which is owned and managed by the University of Reading will be taking part in the Campaign for Drawing's flagship art event again this year with an event linked to our current exhibition 'Going Green: Sustainability Past and Present.'

Budding artists of all ages and abilities are invited to join in a group project to create a massive mural of our new garden. The Big Draw encourages everyone to join in, using drawing to engage with the past, present and future, and the Museum of English Rural Life provides the ideal setting for an inspirational event. In keeping with our green theme, the mural will be printed using recycled rubbish, including bottle tops, plastic bottles, vegetable trays, and egg boxes.

Julie Roberts, artist in residence at MERL, who is organising the event, said: "Drawing connects us with our environment and helps us see, think, communicate and take action. In the spirit of the Big Draw, MERL's event this year will challenge conventional concepts of drawing and show how using unusual media can inspire observation, imagination and invention."

"We will provide materials, but visitors are also welcome to bring in any interestingly shaped recycled objects to print with. We want people to think about how they can use things that would otherwise be thrown away to create interesting artwork."

On the day, local textile artist Ellen Brown will be encouraging participants to look for inspiration in the colours and textures of the MERL garden. She said: "We'll be working outside if the weather's good, but in the event of bad weather, we'll work from photographs in the education studio in the Museum. I advise everyone to dress for mess!"

The MERL Big Draw will take place on Saturday 13th October at the Museum of English Rural Life on Redlands Road in Reading. There's no need to book, just drop-in between 2pm to 4pm and have a go!

For further information visit the MERL website, call 0118 378 8660 or send an email.


Note for media: Media are welcome to attend. If you wish to come along, please contact Alison Hilton, marketing officer, on 0118 378 8660, or email her .

Notes for editors:

1. Information about the Big Draw

The Big Draw is the Campaign for Drawing's flagship, with some 1300 events taking place throughout each October. The Campaign invites everyone to join in, using drawing to engage with the past, present and future. The eighth Big Draw runs from 1 to 31 October 2007, with a special focus on Saturday 13 October. This month-long programme celebrates creativity, encourages experiment and promotes enjoyable drawing activities.

Every October, galleries, museums, science centres, heritage and environmental sites, libraries, archives, community and shopping centres, colleges, schools and art clubs host drawing activities for all abilities. Participants of all ages are invited to help expand the definitions and uses of drawing - experimenting with pencils, crayons, charcoal, sand, clay, digital imagery, choreographed movement, vapour trails and fire drawings.

Over 1000 venues across the UK offer special activities, with hundreds of events for adults and children – involving artists, designers, architects, cartoonists, illustrators, scientists and the Campaign's own patrons. These activities are mainly free and widely accessible. Their subjects range from landscapes, architecture, portraits and still lives to the imaginary, optical, digital and scientific

Further information is available at

1. More information about the Museum of English Rural Life

The Museum of English Rural Life, in Redlands Road, Reading, was founded by the University of Reading in 1951 to reflect and record the changing face of farming and the countryside. It houses designated collections of national importance that span the full range of objects, archives, photographs, film and books. Today, it forms part of the University's Museums and Collections Service. The Museum operates as a major resource and research centre for the history of food, farming and the countryside with links into the School of History and other academic departments at the University.

2. More information About the University of Reading

The University of Reading is one of the foremost research-led universities in the UK. Founded in the nineteenth century and gaining a Royal Charter in 1926, we offer a wide range of programmes from the pure and applied sciences to languages, social sciences and fine art. New research and the latest thinking continually feed into undergraduate teaching, with our academic staff working at the forefront of their fields of expertise.


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