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Drawing in the Library

The Library was pleased to host 18 National Art School students for Drawing in the Library during Margaret Olley Drawing Week. Students spent four days in the Library being inspired by our wonderful buildings, the glorious Mitchell Library Reading Room balconies and our wondrous world-class collections. The course was developed as an extension of the Library's successful Drawing the Library artists in residencies, and facilitated by our first artist in residence, National Art School lecturer John Bokor. He was joined by artist Therese Keogh and lecturer, archivist and historical researcher Deborah Beck.

“I could spend a whole day looking at the Library’s art collections”

The students began the week with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Library’s fascinating and rich art collections in our framed collection store led by Richard Neville, Mitchell Librarian and Director, Education & Scholarship and Louise Anemaat A/Executive Director Library & Information Services. Students then visited the Collection Care and Digitisation & Imaging Services Branches, gaining insights into the unexpected work of the Library: many students left with their own personal preservation tips and tricks on keeping their artworks in good condition. 

Student James Needham sketching in the Library

Student James Needham sketching in the Library

The students were treated to a personal viewing of curated collections such as Sir Arthur Streeton, Norman Lindsay and John Glover’s sketchbook, Sydney Ure Smith watercolours and architectural plans by Jorn Uton and Harry Seidler.

I wanted to come to the Library to explore the archival stories, hidden gems and jewels. I have never been here before and was excited be able to access things that I didn’t think we could access before

Artist, Therese Keogh presented on various contemporary Australian artists who work with collection and archival materials. Therese stressed the importance of taking into account historical, geographical, social and material contexts when interpreting and analysing archival collections. Students remarked that the program not only provided inspiration but also an understanding of the importance of these collections in creating new trajectories in their own work leading to creating contemporary understandings of heritage collections.  A week spent here could fuel a lifelong love and association with one of our most intriguing and diverse resources.

Students Sarah Furness and Josephine Morrow (seated) drawing in the Library

Students Sarah Furness and Josephine Morrow (seated) drawing in the Library

Students then had the opportunity to draw the Library’s glorious buildings and reading rooms, including the iconic balconies in the Mitchell Library Reading Room with its elevated views and contrasting light from the glass ceiling. 

The artworks were then displayed in the Glasshouse Learning Centre for the student assessments, followed by a special viewing for Library staff. The finished works will be submitted for exhibition at the National Art School’s Hoff Project Space later in the month. The week was not only an exciting program for the Library but brought creative life and interpretation on our collections and reading rooms by future artists. 

It’s amazing! I loved everything

Student artworks created during Drawing in the Library

Student artworks created during Drawing in the Library


Staff viewing students works

Staff viewing students works .