Please note that in Autumn 2024, Drawing Matter will move its activities and drawings collection to London. In preparation for the move, the collection will be closed to visitors from 1 May 2024. If you would like to discuss ideas for workshops in London, please email

Drawing Matter collaborates with architecture and design teaching studios and art/architectural history students based in the UK and internationally. Our work with tutors and students has explored how the Drawing Matter collection can be used in imaginative ways within educational contexts to offer students a way to engage with architecture and design through its representational media. This work has included workshops designed to complement (or set) specific design studio briefs, and curatorial or editorial projects. 

We are also interested in collaborating with education groups from other disciplinary backgrounds. Drawing Matter has recently collaborated with ethnography students from Queen Mary University of London, and Foundation students from Central Saint Martins (including students studying fashion, graphic design, jewellery design, painting, and sculpture). 

Archive pin-up developed with tutors from the University of Plymouth.
Students in the archive. Photos: Safiya Alyautdinova.

Archive workshops for education groups

Visits to the archive offer education groups a unique opportunity to work with the Drawing Matter collection and examine original design drawings in natural lighting. Over 2,000 students visit the archive each year—an average of one group per week. Each archive workshop is tailored to the particular interests of the group; past workshops have focused on typologies of drawings or objects (such as collages, surveys or sketchbooks) or on different uses of drawing in design contexts—such as survey drawings. 

Students from Loughborough University in the archive.

Workshops are a collaboration with tutors and students, rather than a lecture. Simple, but effective, strategies for getting everyone involved include inviting students to talk about their interests in a drawing selected in advance of the visit, or drawing tasks that allow students to more closely observe the objects they are looking at. We are very happy to discuss creative and ambitious models for workshops, including bringing drawings to universities/schools of architecture, and extended series of remote and on-site workshops. 

Survey of the Drawing Matter Archive by student Fionn O’Leary made during the SAUL (Limerick) visit in 2019.
Architectural Drawings gallery designed by Claire Oster for a virtual exhibition curated by Nicholas Olsberg. Part of a remote collaboration with students at Cornell University. Read more.

Most visits to the archive include a tour of the site, which, depending on group size, can be led by a member of the Drawing Matter team, or with a map of the farm for a self-guided walk. Click here to learn about the development of the site at Shatwell Farm.

Tutors (or others) wishing to bring a group to the archive should email to discuss a programme and pricing. We keep costs as low as possible, and the money raised through workshops helps fund student scholarships on our annual Architectural Drawing Summer School.

Read reflections on archive workshops by Elizabeth Hatz, Ger Carty, and Fionn O’Leary (SAUL, Limerick), and Benjamin Machin (Loughborough)

How can emerging practitioners bridge the gap between the natural and the built environments against a backdrop of climate change? In this residential trip to Somerset, Central Saint Martins Foundation Diploma in Art and Design students visit Drawing Matter and Hauser & Wirth Somerset exploring drawing, architecture, and climate sensitive design. Film: Gareth Johnson.

Workshops for architecture and design practices 

In addition to our work with education groups, Drawing Matter runs workshops with design practices interested in the site and the drawings collection. As with the education workshops, these are most successful when organised in close collaboration with a contact at the practice.

These visits help fund our annual Architectural Drawing Summer School. For more information please email

Accessing the collection catalogue  

The entire Drawing Matter collection is digitised at The catalogue is a key instrument in developing workshops with visiting groups, but it is also a resource for students, educators, and researchers that can be used more widely. Please contact with any specific research queries.

Lightbox exploring utopian urbanism in the postwar period, prepared with tutors from University of Nottingham – click here to expand.
Lightbox of survey drawings, prepared for students from Loughborough University – click here to expand.

Drawing Exercises

Tomas Schmit, Two new ways to draw a circle (detail), 1971. Black and red India ink on paper, 515 × 300 mm. DMC 2230.

In collaboration with Fernando Poeiras (ESAD.CR/LIDA), Drawing Matter has developed a series of drawing exercises to encourage students, tutors, and others, to engage with the diverse design material that comprises the Drawing Matter collection. Each exercise offers simple methods for approaching drawings through drawing to both better understand an object and its author, and to better understand oneself in the process. 

More information here

Reading for tutors and students

Niall Hobhouse interviewed by Mary Vaughan Johnson and Andrew Clancy for Register Podcast

Matt Page interviewed by Semi Park for Space Magazine.

In the Archive – an ongoing project that digitally recreates visits to the collection

Drawing Matter Extracts – informal publications generated from this website and the drawings collection

Conjunction and Incongruity by Polly Gould

Parataxis by Matthew Wells

Archives, or Ardor by Iris Moon

Workshop on Siza’s March 77 Sketchbook by Manuel Montenegro