The Olympics Drawn: Study Afternoon

Shortly before the opening event for The Olympics Drawn at Wimbledon Space, there will be the opportunity to delve into some of the stories that have been unearthed while researching artefacts for the exhibition. This study afternoon for The Olympics Drawn brings together scholars of drawing, designers involved in the delivery of the games and researchers. The panel, consisting of curator Dr Joanne O’Hara, Kevin Owens, Professor Stephen Farthing and Tania Kovats, will discuss how drawing informed the planning and orchestration of the London 2012 Olympics. It will be chaired by Angela Brew, CCW PhD candidate, on 9 October, 3-4:30pm, in the Theatre at Wimbledon College of Arts.

Owens, the former design principal for LOCOG (the Local Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games), was crucial in the planning and delivery of all aspects of the built environment. He was heavily involved in decision-making processes throughout the organisation of the Games and, as an architect, drawing formed a key part of his work. Owens was responsible for commissioning and reviewing each of the permanent and temporary designs and it was his job to oversee thousands of drawings made by a range of designers from different specialties. A number of his own drawings can be seen in the exhibition, and this study afternoon will provide the opportunity to hear first-hand from one of Games’ executives.

Farthing, Rootstein Hopkins UAL Chair of Drawing, who conceived of the idea The Olympics Drawn, has been instrumental in steering the project to completion. Since the commencement of this project, Farthing’s vision has been inspirational, and some of the issues surrounding the wider themes of the project – including the communicative and expressive power of drawing, and its evolution over time – will be discussed. For example – what would this project have looked like had it begun alongside the first Olympic Games? What will it continue to look like in the future? He may also explore the issues which link the project with the charting of taste, national identity and the development of drawing processes.

Kovats, Course Director for MA Drawing at Wimbledon College of Arts, will be able to help the panel understand the project within the wider realm of the world of drawing and join the dots on all of the panel’s thought processes. Her work focuses on drawing and mapping landscapes as well as describing or using geological processes in the making of both sculpture and drawings. Much of Kovats’s research has focused on geology, to further understand how landscapes are formed, exclusive of humanity’s effects upon them.

O’Hara is looking forward to the panel discussion and exhibition, as the culmination of her 2 year post-doctoral research fellowship. ‘As the researcher on the ground, I will be able to share some of my stories about the practicalities of the project and how we brought it all together. We will hopefully tease out some of the interesting stories, while considering such issues as where the drawings fit into the wider processes of design and production, and also the main issue I faced which was searching archives and portfolios and tracking mystery caches of drawings!

We also hope to hear on the day from some of the contributors to the exhibition who will be able to go into more detail about their own work, potentially spanning numerous disciplines and providing an amazing insight into some of the inner workings of the drawings shown in the exhibition.’

Image credit: Charlie Cobb, concept drawing of the Olympic Opening Ceremony (2011)

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