Drawing Life (Grant Museum of Zoology)

The Grant Museum of Zoology collection has long been used to teach comparative anatomy at UCL and while researching their archive of zoological illustrations I became interested in how drawing could be used to expand how the specimens could reflect contemporary science. In the workshops I developed we explored how ecological dynamics could be enriched by investing abstract scientific content with personal meaning through active experience. The processes by which animals interact with each other and their habitat are as defining of life as their physical forms. Unfortunately, much of what we know remains obscured by the mysterious languages of diagrams, graphs, and equations. By considering how organisms interact while drawing them we sought to enliven our conceptions of their complex relationships and transform audiences’ understandings of remote formulae, bringing them closer to aspects of nature which lie beyond our immediate grasp.

This collaboration between researcher Dr Joey O’Gorman (research associate with the MA Art and Science, Central Saint Martins College) and the Grant Museum was funded by the Arts Council under the auspices of Share Academy (see the partners web links below), which is a partnership between University College London, University of the Arts London and the London Museums Group. The Share Academy project aims to build sustainable and mutually beneficial relationships between the higher education sector and specialist museums in London.

See the Drawing Life website for further information and images from the initial Share Academy sponsored workshops and subsequent public events in 2015.

Live drawings for presentations

Trophic Cycles



INdirect Effects


Paine 1966

Quick sketches






tongue worms

Coral Snail Bryozo LEVELS

Frog Beetle Monkey Larvae LEVELS


Under the sea LEVELS


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