A while ago, I got the fantastic news that I have been awarded a grant to spend a year working with The Morgan Centre for Research into Everyday Lives at Manchester University, shadowing their research projects with my sketchbook in hand. The project will span a complete academic year, so the start date is October 2015 - ages to wait when I'm so excited!
In the meantime, we can at least start planning. Professor Heath from The Morgan Centre came to the studio this week, for a meeting. The main research project I am to work on is studying the effect the weather has on our lives. I LOVE drawing a bit of weather, so am intrigued. Plus there is also a project around 'Dormant Things', objects we all own, which we don't need or even really want, but can't quite bear to throw away: cellars, attics and bottom-drawers everywhere are packed with them.
Another couple of bits of research I might dip into will involve interviewing people on the streets of Manchester. One is about how people interact with public spaces and the other is looking at street fashion. That should be quite a challenge - my speed sketching will come into it's own!
The Morgan Centre have also commissioned me to shadow their conference in July. The theme is 'Atmospheres' and they have some fantastic presentations booked in. It sounds like it is going to be fascinating, over and above the fun I am going to have recording it in my sketchbook. I will be co-delivering a paper with Prof. Heath about our project and, as with the ASCEL conference, I will have a short slot on my own near the end, for showing what I have been drawing during the event and talking briefly about urban sketching.
I am going to make long, Japanese-format books to work in throughout the year, so we can unfold them for exhibition afterwards, as the one major drawback to sketchbooks is the problem with display.
Another part of my remit for the residency is to get everyone at the Morgan Centre sketching, so there will be empowerment workshops and sketchcrawls too. Such a fun job. I can't wait.