About Learning Through Drawing

In 1978, Yorkshire schoolchildren saw their work exhibited in art galleries across the country, from Cartwright Hall in Bradford to Towner Eastbourne. Art Advisers in the north and north-east of England gathered drawings by children between the ages of 3 and 18 for this nationwide exhibition.

They wanted to demonstrate the importance of drawing as a tool used by children to investigate the world around them. The exhibition influenced attitudes to art education before the National Curriculum was introduced. The Chairman of the exhibition was Keith Gentle, who also served as Art Advisor for Sir Alec Clegg. Clegg was Chief Education Officer for the West Riding of Yorkshire. He believed that good schools and good teachers were the solution to social inequality. In 1949 Clegg set up Bretton Hall, a training college for arts teachers. YSP began in 1977 as an exhibition in its grounds.

Since then, this work has been preserved in the National Arts Education Archive (NAEA), helping researchers to understand how children use drawing to investigate the world around them.

You can see the Learning Through Drawing Collection, and learn more about Sir Alec Clegg, at the NAEA. Access to the NAEA is available by appointment on Tuesdays each week. Email sophie.yaniw@ysp.org.uk or phone 01924 830690.

Thank you to pupils from Thornhill Primary School in Rotherham and Pate’s Grammar School in Cheltenham who helped to select artwork and write enquiry questions for the exhibition.