Royal Academy of Arts, London

Ann Gilmore, 12.12.2014
The attRAct programme
The attRAct programme at the Royal Academy of Arts (RA) offers 48 A level art students from 24 London state schools the opportunity to expand and enrich their art studies through workshops, behind-the-scenes tours and mentoring over three terms of their A levels.

One of the most popular activities on offer is life drawing, which is not often available in their schools.

We offer three different types of life drawing sessions over the year, beginning with a workshop that uses mark-making as a starting point.

The artist leader moves the students through a series of imaginative exercises that promote experimentation.

In two more traditional life drawing sessions, held in the RA Schools’ historic Life Room, the students work with several artists and models, learning different approaches to the subject. In each workshop students reinforce skills learned in previous sessions and explore new ways to use drawing.

One of the issues we face in working with teenagers is keeping them engaged over the four to six hours of the drawing sessions. Sometimes the timing of the workshops can clash with their school commitments, and some students are unable to participate in a life class for cultural reasons.

But through life drawing, the students discover new ways of working and looking, and find confidence in their decision-making. But above all, they see that their drawings are a reflection of their personality.

They come away with works of art and practices that are personal to them, an understanding of the value of drawing in their exploration of the visual world and a selection of drawings to add to both their school sketchbooks and portfolios for art college.  

Ann Gilmore is the secondary programme coordinator at the RA and runs the attRAct programme