Drawing from Memory

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Drawing from Memory

Thursday, 21 February, 2019 - 13:30 to 16:30
E25 in the Main Building of Edinburgh College of Art
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Our memories are like stories which we reshape each time we recall them. We invite participants to discover how to reconstruct and bring to life a significant life event through a range of simple drawing exercises where memory, recall and association are the only reference material.

Most of us rely on our photographs, correspondence and mementos to help us remember our past. But our memories are like stories which we reshape each time we recall them. We cannot simply press ‘play’ sit back and watch, but instead actively reconstruct from scratch whether fleeting fragments or vivid detail.

Artist Robbie Bushe and memory specialist Michael Craig invite participants who perhaps never draw to reconstruct a significant life event through a series of given drawing exercises where memory, recall and association are the only reference material.

During the 3-hour workshops, participants will

  • Reconstruct, map out and draw a floor plan of where the event took place; Where were the windows, doors and bookshelves? What was on the walls?
  • Learn how to make visual notes through drawing, appropriation and collage to create versions of the people in the memory
  • Think of who was there and for what purpose? Was it a celebration? What was the time of year – what would people be wearing?
  • Create a collection of visual studies and drawings which revisits and makes real our memory.
  • Reflect on the potency of drawing as a tool to revisit and explore our memories.

What to bring

  • Your memories in your head.
  • All other materials, stimulus and equipment will be provided.


Robbie Bushe RSA

Robbie has exhibited his distinctive narrative drawings and paintings throughout the UK since 1990. Born in Liverpool in 1964, he grew up in Aberdeenshire, before graduating in Painting at Edinburgh College of Art in 1990. Since then he has successfully worked as both an artist and an art lecturer throughout the UK. He currently lectures within the Centre for Open Learning at the University of Edinburgh where his has won several awards for innovation in creative learning and teaching.

Bushe’s recent art practices straddle the use of fragments of research, daydreams, observation and pictorial reconstruction. His structural but free-flowing drawings take as their starting point sprawling cities built on monumental panoramas – both improvised and real – to create elaborate theatrical environments as a stage for buildings, civil engineering, transportation, its people and their stories.



Dr Michael Craig

Michael obtained a BSc in Human Biosciences from Northumbria University and an MRes in Neuroscience from Newcastle University before completing an Alzheimer’s Society funded PhD in Psychology at the University of Edinburgh (2015). I joined Heriot-Watt University in 2015 as a Postdoctoral Research Associate working with Dr Michaela Dewar. He also teaches Memory short courses at the Centre for Open Learning

His research focuses on memory consolidation, i.e. the process that acts to strengthen new memories. Recent research demonstrates that the long-term retention of basic verbal memories can be significantly enhanced if learning is shortly followed by a brief period of wakeful rest. He is also interested in the role of sleep in memory, spatial memory and navigation, autobiographical memory, and the effects of normal ageing and disease states in memory.

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