Ocean Studios Forum

What's On 2018

The Embodied Experience of Drawing' One-Day Symposium

The Embodied Experience of Drawing' One-Day Symposium
13th April 2018 - 13th April 2018
Events Space

Keynote Speaker:

Dr Janette Kerr PPRWA, RSA Hon (Artist and Visiting Research Fellow in Fine Art, UWE)


A one-day symposium considering the embodied experience of drawing. This event responds to the increasing proportion of artists in the South West working in performative drawing practices, gathering a delegation at a vital time to acknowledge and interrogate this movement and discuss ideas around the future of drawing practice.

With reference to the ‘Ocean City’ location, the original idea for the symposium was inspired by Emma Cocker’s analogy of drawing as the event of sailing:


"Learning to sail is a process of facilitation or mediation that attempts to make good the turbulence created by the pull of the water and the push of the wind. Between being effortful and effortless…divergent rhythms merge in symphonic flow, becoming one. Somewhere between control and lettinq go, somewhere between affecting and being affected – the event of sailing, of drawing and of being". (Cocker, 2012)


With the question of whether contemporary drawing in its current formation finds itself challenged and interrogated by a performative turn, we invite debate around how we understand relationships between the body and drawing, investigating issues around exhibiting performative works, audience and boundaries. The following themes are suggested as provocations articulating Cocker’s notion of drawing’s ‘attempts to contemplate the terms of its own coming in to being, performed as the infinitely reflexive loops of drawing drawing itself drawing’ (Cocker, 2012):

Drawing as embodied experience: What do we mean by embodied? If we take it to mean simply the union of body and mind, what are the possibilities/limits when this is challenged? Does drawing have the capacity to give us a sense of existence?

Drawing as a voice: If we consider that body and language have the ‘voice’ in common, and similarly suggest that drawing relates to the body and language, how does the use/philosophical theories of the voice relate to the gestural act of performative drawing? Exploring the paradoxical relation between the voice and the body, how might we experience unconscious emotions through voice and drawing – the visible or invisible?

Drawing as performance: Where does it live: as a trace in the mind, an archived documentation or both?

Drawing as knowledge: Is it tacit knowledge, or a newly encountered embodied experience? Is it a proxy to thinking, can drawing itself think?

Drawing’s place, space and temporality: Considering drawing’s state of flux and ambiguity, what, where or when is drawing’s place? How are spatial temporal conditions contingent to the embodied experience?





An exhibition by artists Marie Taylor and Beth Heaney will be showing alongside the symposium in the Ocean Studios gallery space.

Private Preview for exhibition: Thursday 12th April 2018, 6 - 8pm, Ocean Studios, Royal William Yard, Plymouth