"I construct new stories from old,
In ways that are contemporary, socially engaged, and sometimes rather bold...
I marry words with images, which I’m often told,
Bring to light, map, and celebrate,
Histories that would otherwise remain hidden, side-lined, or untold..."
Kremena Dimitrova, a London based illustrator-as-historian, storyteller, lecturer in Visual Culture, and practice-based PhD researcher in Visualising History at the University of Portsmouth. I specialise in children's illustration, comics, murals, public art installations, mapmaking/trails, and visual storytelling in the cultural, heritage, and education sectors. I often work with archives and collections and use a mixture of artistic approaches, such as interweaving text and images, creative writing, character development, and humour to bring hidden and marginalised narratives to life. I experiment with photographic material and traditionally made textures, painted, drawn, and printed backgrounds, which I often combine into digital collages.
As an illustrator, I have extensive professional industry experience and a breath of specialist knowledge. I have had a number of diverse national and international exhibitions and my work features in print, online, book publishing, design, and advertising. Many of my commissions are socially engaged and site-specific in nature and involve collaborating with the public to explore culture, history, and heritage in creative and memorable ways - through art, storytelling, and co-creation.
As an educator, I have wide-ranging experience in delivering dynamic, engaging, and flexible face-to-face/online events, talks, lectures, CPD sessions, masterclasses, and workshops in formal and informal educational settings. I focus on edutainment. Exploring different media, from drawing, collage, and printmaking to creative writing, comics, and digital art, participants are inspired to be imaginative in an inclusive, creative, and playful environment.
I work with galleries, museums, theatres, cinemas, government organisations, research institutes, libraries, universities, schools, charities, and more. Many of my visual (hi)storytelling interventions, commissions, and (research) residencies are funded by Historic England, Arts Council England, and The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
National Memorial Arboretum
MAST Mayflower Studios Theatre
No 6 Cinema
The British Museum
The Charles Dickens Museum
Museum of the Home
Manchester Museum (University of Manchester)
Preston Park Museum & Grounds
Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture
The Jewish Museum
Bishop’s Stortford Museum
Headstone Manor & Museum
Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery
West Cheshire Museums
East Riding Museums
Benjamin Franklin House
The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge
BBC Tiny Happy People
Lonely Planet Kids
McPin Foundation Mental Health Research Charity
University of Manchester and The John Rylands Research Institute and Library
University of Oxford
The Open University
Oxford Brookes University
IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society
University of Portsmouth
University of East London
Brno University of Technology
L'Ecole de Battersea
Victoria Primary Academy
Kings Mill Special School
Driffield Junior School
Cameron Vale School
Kenton Learning Centre (Learn Harrow)
The Wolseley Bridge Centre, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust
Rotary Club of Reading Abbey
IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society (Sep 2014 - Sep 2016) (part-time)
Culture and Heritage Hub Seed Funding - Higher Education Innovation Fund and Participatory Research Fund (2023) - University of Portsmouth (The Heritage of Tyneham Unravelled Phase 2) in partnership with the Ministry of Defence, Dorset Diocese, Dorset Museums and Historic England
The U.S. Embassy, London, and the British Association for American Studies Funding (2022) - University of Portsmouth (Celebrating 50 years since The Blue Marble - Image of the Earth from Apollo 17 | NASA)
UK Research and Innovation Arts and Humanities Research Council Grant (2022) - IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society (Partition of Identity: Kaghazi Kashtiyan: The Pakistani Bengali Story) in collaboration with Lahore University of Management Sciences, the Citizens’ Archive of Pakistan, Imkaan Welfare Organisation, Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research
Culture and Heritage Hub Seed Funding - Higher Education Innovation Fund and Participatory Research Fund (2022) - University of Portsmouth (Tyneham Unravelled: Establishing and Connecting the Communities of Tyneham Village)
Mayor of London Untold Stories: Greater London Authority Grant by the Commission for Diversity in Public Realm (2022) - Xenia Women (Untold Stories: Trailblazing Women) in collaboration with Newington Green Meeting House, PEER UK, Hackney Archives, Hackney Museum
Postgraduate Art Development Grant (2021) - Faculty of Fine Arts, Brno University of Technology
National Lottery Heritage Fund (2017, 2018) - Benjamin Franklin House
Higher Education Academy - Advance HE (2018-)
Safeguarding in the Further Education and Training Sector - Future Learn (2022)
Prevent Awareness - Home Office HM Government (2022)
UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER'S CENTRE FOR JEWISH STUDIES AND THE JOHN RYLANDS RESEARCH INSTITUTE AND LIBRARY
MANCHESTER MUSEUM, UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER
PRESTON PARK MUSEUM & GROUNDS
TEES ARCHIVES (DORMAN MUSEUM)
WEST CHESHIRE MUSEUMS
EAST STREET ARTS
MADE WITH MANY
KIRKHAM'S LOCAL HISTORY & HERITAGE COLLECTION
HISTORY / HERITAGE & SOCIALLY ENGAGED / SITE-SPECIFIC COMMISSIONS & RESIDENCIES
Buckinghamshire Libraries and Culture Services, Wendover (managed by Buckinghamshire Council)
(Oct 2022-) Wendover Community Library commission – independent research and research in Buckinghamshire Archives; collaborate with local communities/schools/staff/volunteers to co-produce a series of permanent installations as part of the library’s redevelopment to inform the design scheme for the rest of the library space, including lighting and signage. Aims: maximise the impact of the new library refurbishment with a digitally created word-image installation that is inspired by Wendover’s heritage and contemporary communities; develop interactive eye-catching designs (rhymes/riddles/poetry/games/art)that increase visibility and work with and complement the internal architecture (new extension to the front of the building housing the reception) and external architecture (down a side road off the main road and a small internal garden); work with a colour scheme that is complementary to the dementia-friendly palette chosen for the library; plan and deliver family-friendly (hi)storytelling creative workshops at Wendover Community Library; provide creative consultation and attend regular meetings to report milestones to the Culture and Leisure Services Development Manager (development of project plan, community engagement, sign off of final design, fabrication and installation); risk assessment, evaluation procedures, and reporting.
(Oct 2022-) Co-lead on a fundraising campaign relating to enhancing the library’s children’s section/space - conduct research, develop artistic concepts/designs and lead on community engagement, identify practical considerations (materials, solutions) and advise on fabrication and installation, help produce marketing materials to communicate the ideas and drive the campaign.
(Nov 2022-) Thomas Coram Research Unit, UCL Social Research Institute - Partition of Identity Study - 50 Years on since the inception of Bangladesh - Kaghazi Kashtiyan (Paper Boats): The Pakistani Bengali Story; using archival documentary sources and oral history interviews, create a graphic narrative book (x15 digitally designed A3 double page spreads) to highlight how members of the Pakistani Bengali minority community traverse the space between being Pakistani and being Bengali with a focus on migration and settlement, statelessness and lack of citizenship rights, sense of identity and belonging, social and cultural representations. Use young people’s original personal stories, ideas, writings, and drawings generated during arts-based workshops in Karachi’s Machar Colony to create a central collective graphic narrative script/story/book to be used as an educational resource. Exhibitions in London, Vancouver, and Karachi in 2023 in collaboration with Lahore University of Management Sciences, the Citizens’ Archive of Pakistan, Imkaan Welfare Organisation, Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Funded by UK Research and Innovation Arts and Humanities Research Council).
(Sep 2017) Department of Culture, Communication and Media - researched, designed, and illustrated an info map/trail for the MA Museums and Galleries in Education programme showcasing the main university areas and facilities as part of an induction package for new students. The info map is now used by the marketing department of UCL Institute of Education across the wider university community.
(Jun 2016) Thomas Coram Research Unit - Child Language Brokering: Spaces of identity belonging and mediators of cultural knowledge co-created comic strips e-book communicating research findings for the wider public to raise awareness about lives, day-to-day struggles, and practices of young interpreters (aged 13-15); combined young people’s original writings and drawings generated during workshops by weaving and juxtaposing multiple concepts, voices, stories and research findings in innovative, informative and memorable ways by interweaving words and images.
Xenia Women, London (Nov 2022-) in collaboration with Newington Green Meeting House, PEER UK, Hackney Archives, Hackney Museum (Mayor of London Untold Stories: Greater London Authority Grant by the Commission for Diversity in Public Realm)
Untold Stories: Trailblazing Women project – mix archival research and creative mapping practices as a way of highlighting stories of women of all ages who are disabled, LGBTQ+, economic migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and those born and raised in the UK, as well as children collectively cared for in Hackney; plan and deliver a series of creative workshops and nominations collection sessions (activities that enable artistic/language practice, cultural exchange, and relationship building); co-create a final digital/physical map/trail by interweaving the work generated during workshops exploring radical histories of (ordinary and underrepresented) women in Hackney and women’s rights by interweaving past and contemporary oral (hi)stories and linking those to the places in Hackney where women have lived, worked, or been active.
The Wolseley Bridge Centre, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, Staffordshire (Aug - Sep 2023)
Wildchild Festival freelance illustrator/creative workshop provider - work with young children and families to co-create nature and environment-based artworks (through tracing, monoprinting, creating paper puppets); help them develop postcard pledges with key messaging to send to the local MP; document the ideas/stories/images created during the workshop by children/families and co-create a large-scale legacy triptych poster that reflects the wider messages and themes of the festival (a general celebration of youth and a positive future through slogans and playful rhymes) to be used at conferences and events.
Wallingford Town Council and Wallingford Museum, Wallingford on Thames (Funded by South Oxfordshire District Council) (May - Aug 2023)
Exploring Wallingford’s history in rhythm and rhyme with the Queen of Crime – a history-mystery trail with an Agatha Christie’s twist - co-design ten A1 historical information boards (made of aluminium composite and with UV coating to last in good condition for up to 20 years) to enrich the heritage aspects of the town and create a stimulating environment for residents and visitors of all ages; the information boards include rhymes and riddles to engage a younger audience around the town; design a leaflet with a crossword to accompany the trail. Co-produce the work in close collaboration with the Town Council, Wallingford Museum, and the local community (Wallingford’s Public Arts Working Group and churches’ representatives) through open and pre-planned intergenerational creative workshops (during the Curfew Bell celebrations and with Waterside Court Care Home, Wigod Way Family Centre, Wallingford School). Attend project meetings with the Councillors and Mayor; liaise with the Community, Tourism & Business Development Officer to support the publicising of the artworks and help co-produce a travelling community exhibition starting at the Town Hall; provide detailed advice and guidance on the long-term maintenance and any required specialist cleaning of the artworks. Provide the Town Council with a detailed risk assessment relating to the installation and viability of the artwork.
MAST Mayflower Studios Theatre, Southampton
(May - Aug 2023) The Pride co-production project - run a series of arts workshops for participants from the Solent Queer Society at Solent University to explore what Pride means to them through visual arts, painting, photography, poetry, and prose; use the workshops as a creative platform to celebrate young people from the LGBTQ+ community and co-develop a freestanding digitally co-created large-scale 6-piece installation to be displayed at MAST Mayflower Studios in Southampton’s Cultural Quarter; work together with the group to plan and paint an 8-piece visual narrative on a mezzanine glass railing adding thoughts and ideas and responding to the creativity and provocations already discussed. Plan creative workshop activities for Pride Festival to gather text-images resources to incorporate in the exhibition. The final piece must be robust, free standing and flame retardant.
(Jul - Nov 2022) Community Exhibition Christmas Takeover Project ‘Wonderland’ - White Rabbit 3D Puppet Sculpture (5ft in height). Focussing on storytelling through comics, worked with a class in Redbridge Primary School to co-create the pieces of a white rabbit art installation and the letters for a bunting signage “Welcome to Wonderland” inspired by the story of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; constructed the rabbit and signage outside of the workshops ensuring the final installation in the foyer in the main theatre entrance is robust, safe for interaction with the public, and flame retardant.
The British Museum, London
(May - Aug 2023) Brownfield’s Men’s Cabin - Community Programme - Freelance Illustration Workshop and Design Project - engage men aged 55 and over through a creative project centred on the British Museum and its collections that enables them to showcase their skills, learn new skills around materials and techniques, and share their experiences. Aims: harness the knowledge, skills and creativity of participants working together within their social groups by encouraging the production and making of something tangible; deliver a workshop to teach participants illustration techniques; produce a visual response reflecting the group’s ideas and interests incorporating the workshop's illustrations of museum objects, and the group’s pre-written recipes to co-create a set of 5 double-sided flyer recipe cards with co-written instructions and a poem. Participate in a Skills Share Celebration Event.
(May - Jul 2022) Single Homeless Project (SHP) (Funded by the Japanese Tobacco Industry)
Co-curation project – Object & Art Hunting: Finding Inspiration Together – collaborated with the Head and Co-ordinator of Community Partnerships to plan and deliver 8 art/storytelling workshops with SHP members. Aims: provided a safe creative space and opportunities for SHP clients to share personal stories, connect, take part in artistic activities, and learn about the British Museum and its collections; co-created a digital and physical foldable object trail leaflet exploring the personal connections that exist between individuals and museum objects including choosing themes, stories, and objects to be featured in the trail, and the type of medium/creative practice used; co-wrote/produced the interpretation for the objects in the trail; designed an invitation/welcome letter to give to the participants.
Headstone Manor and Museum, London (Jul 2022 - Jul 2023)
Learning and Engagement Facilitator – designed and delivered a Mindful Sketching course for women of all ages to support the museum’s engagement programme with a focus on exploring the Manor House and grounds, connecting with nature, and representing this via traditional and experimental sketching methods.
McPin Foundation Mental Health Research Charity, London (Jan - May 2023)
10 for 10 co-production project: develop bespoke independent and interdependent celebratory and sombre conceptual visual metaphors (Bridge Between Worlds, Valuing Vulnerability) and bespoke illustrations for a 10-year anniversary legacy project/resource conveying complex ideas about mental health research directed by lived experience and incorporating different perspectives into the overall vison of the piece; illustrate icons and visual threads tying and elucidating the strongest messages and key resources together from across the body of work (Opposing Oppression, Collaborative, Compassionate, Courageous); develop a 10 for 10 branding/logo as a means of identifying the new suite of resources; use a vibrant colour palette that could sit alongside McPin’s brand colours.
The Charles Dickens Museum, London (May 2022-)
Freelance Educator - lead and facilitate creative/history-telling sessions and specialised interactive learning workshops for visiting Education groups of students working with Object Handling Collections onsite in the museum as well as providing outreach sessions.
Made With Many, Wellingborough (Oct 2022 - May 2023) (National Lottery Heritage and Arts Council England Funded)
Wellingborough Stories ‘What is Home: Arriving and Departing’ – community-led oral history project and creative workshops at Victoria Primary Academy, Victoria Centre, Wellingborough Library, Swansgate Shopping Centre. Aims: researched archived oral histories and audio recordings and visually captured the untold stories with the help of the town’s diverse communities and depicted them through co-created large-scale poetry/artistic shop-windows mural installations representing large local audiences (Wellingborough African Caribbean Association, NN8 Writers Group, St Marks Church Wellingborough, the LGBT and Disabled communities, Teamwork Trust, Ukrainian refugees, Women’s Refuge) using their input in terms of production and outcomes; presented at Wellingborough Stories and Fringe Festival and indefinitely displayed in Swansgate Shopping Centre; help a Ukrainian videographer co-record and co-produce a video based on a poem I had co-written with the Wellingborough communities; produced a creative map pinpointing the festival locations for the festival flyer.
East Riding Museums, East Riding of Yorkshire (Jul 2022 - Apr 2023) (Arts Council England Funded)
Natural History Visual Art Uplift Schools and Community Engagement Project ‘Rhyming and Mapping the Wildlife Travellers and Settlers on the Wolds around Me through Comics’ in collaboration with The Treasure House and the Humber Museums Partnership - curate a site-specific contemporary workshop model comprising a series of bespoke natural history sessions for King's Mill Special School and Driffield Junior School with the aim to create representations from participants of the world closest to them and the place they call home by exploring their perspective of the East Riding and North Wolds area. Run a taster drop-in activity inspired by the workshop model at ArtWaves Festival 2022 at Bridlington Spa. Develop an end-of-project co-created short history of the Yorkshire Wolds in rhymes digitally illustrated with works produced by children during workshops displayed at community exhibitions (Church of St Michael and All Angels and The Treasure House, Apr - Aug 2023).
The Open University, Milton Keynes (Nov 2022 - Feb 2023) in collaboration with Oxford Brookes University (Funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme)
NEW-ABC Networking the Educational World: Across Boundaries for Community-building / Pilot: Empowering Young Translators – developed a distinctive digital infographic illustration for inclusion in a report on arts-based participatory approaches as a means of exploring the social and emotional impact of language brokering as a caring activity; interweaved key themes, ideas, quotes, facts, figures together with text and images generated during after-school language brokering clubs with young people to tell a visual story to support guidance materials that can be used by other schools or youth groups who may want to set up a similar scheme.
Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery, Shrewsbury (in partnership with The British Museum) (Apr 2022 - Jan 2023) (Arts Council England Funded)
Created bespoke digital designs for application to retail ranges (homeware, stationary, games, prints, clothing) inspired by the museum’s permanent collections and key objects with the aim to offer audiences a unique retail experience and help them engage with the collections in new ways.
Hanukkah activities for babies and toddlers - social media and editorial digital illustrations showcasing the different activities children can do with their families for Hanukkah depicting people from different backgrounds and with visible and invisible disabilities such as wearing a sunflower lanyard.
University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth
Celebrating 50 years since The Blue Marble - Image of the Earth from Apollo 17 | NASA – developed and delivered a pre-recorded digital workshop and downloadable activity aimed at KS2 using comics as a means of learning about and engaging with The Blue Marble’s iconic photograph and its enduring legacies.
(May - Aug 2022) in partnership with the Ministry of Defence, Dorset Diocese, Dorset Museums and Historic England (2 rounds of Culture and Heritage Hub Seed Funding - Higher Education Innovation Fund and Participatory Research Fund)
Tyneham Unravelled: Establishing and Connecting the Communities of Tyneham Village - a co-production research project seeking to identify stakeholders interested in collecting, co-creating, and presenting the hidden narratives of Tyneham by responding to the site’s historic, archaeological, and ecological qualities in order to preserve its history through documentation. Aims: collaborated with researchers across disciplines to initiate and develop contacts, networks, and sustained partnerships with non-academics in the area of culture and heritage; established a supportive infrastructure to nurture the existing Culture and Heritage Network; developed a forum to enable public engagement through creative mapping and comics/storytelling workshops with communities to facilitate accessible forms of engagement and knowledge exchange.
Barbican Centre, London (Oct 2022)
Creative Workshop Facilitator Family Film Club as part of Family Film Week – co-plan, prepare, and deliver a creative workshop for children and families to support storytelling sessions by Wendy Shearer; help participants create masks, puppets, and characters inspired by the screened films to be used as props during the storytelling sessions. Read More
Wild Wild Words - London Literature Festival – created digital illustrations to be projected/screened as a means of enhancing storytelling performances by Wendy Shearer Storyteller and TUUP from Crick Crack Club; engaged in live illustration/sketching/visualisation of children’s ideas and discussions during storytelling sessions; partook in rehearsal sessions prior to the event. Read more
Newhampton Arts Centre and Curiosity Productions, Wolverhampton (Jun - Oct 2022) (Supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation)
Creative Community Mapping in Whitmore Reans – delivery of creative workshops and co-production of a digital map to support a creative project with the Refugee & Migrant Centre and Wolverhampton City of Sanctuary; co-production of a large-scale digital map of Whitmore Reans with artists and participants across the whole project and all groups (Refugee & Migrant Centre, African Caribbean Community Initiative, Gatis Community Space (Acts of Random Caring CIC), The Good Shepherd (Families Group) in a form that can be recognised as a representation of the area and overall project; ensured the creative process was documented and all necessary permissions were obtained from participants so that images/media produced can be disseminated; ensured the work produced can become a part of the end of project exhibition and community sharing event; contributed material for the project publication, risk assessment, monitoring, and evaluation procedures (Arts Council England Funded).
Green Close, Rural and Social Development through the Arts, Lancashire
(Apr - Sep 2022) Artist Researcher and Artist in Residence - Kirkham High Street Heritage Action Zone collaborative and co-created site-specific history/heritage community commission and exhibition - archival research at Kirkham and Lancashire Archives and delivery of creative workshops with identified community partners (Milbanke Home for Older People (people with dementia), Wesham Rehabilitation Unit, Kirkham Library, St Michael’s Church); co-conceptualisation and co-creation of an interactive digitally illustrated A-Z heritage map/trail brochure and bookmark of Kirkham using ideas, text, and visuals generated during the workshops (Funded by Historic England) (part of Kirkham’s Local History and Heritage Collections); designed a trifold brochure promoting the whole programme (Funded by Fylde Council); designed a 16-page saddle stitch booklet to represent/explain one of the commissioned artists’ work.
(May - Aug 2021) Phoenix Rising Social Prescribing Arts & Wellbeing Programme Mapping Kirkby Lonsdale’s Heritage - using a co-production model, planned and delivered a series of online and physical visual storytelling workshops relating to the histories, myths, folktales, and participants’ personal stories and memories about Kirkby Lonsdale. Introduced participants to the various creative ways of bringing historical information to life such as rhymes, collage, and comics making. Used the workshops’ visual and textual outcomes to co-create an illustrated, visually appealing, educational, and accessible digital/physical map/poster that communicates a variety of individual stories and positions them in the wider historical context to celebrate people, culture, and heritage in contemporary ways; involved the participants in the research, planning, production, and design of the final map/poster (Thriving Communities Fund).
(Oct 2020) The Phoenix Art for Wellbeing & Health Project in partnership with Lancashire and South Cumbria (NHS) Foundation Trust, LSCFT Recovery College (Arts Council England Emergency Funding) - planned and delivered a series of international online Comics & Personal Well-being workshops for women on the theme of Stress & Anxiety. Through discussions and self-reflection, introduced participants to the numerous ways they could employ the unique language of comics and their combination of image and text to visually communicate their thoughts, feelings, frustrations, anxieties or experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown conditions. Developed a co-created comics poster with the workshops’ creative outcomes.
Milton Keynes Youth Cabinet (MKYCAB), Milton Keynes (Funded by MK Council)
(Mar - Nov 2022) Domestic Abuse Art Project Campaign – in consultation with young people (11-18 years old), conceptualised and designed a logo and 5 PowerPoints about domestic violence and abuse for school years 7-11 to raise awareness about the issues at public events.
(Dec 2021 - Jul 2022) Homelessness Action Group Youth Homelessness Project Campaign – raised awareness about the growing issue of homelessness by co-creating a digital visual digital asset in collaboration with young people (11-18 years old) working directly with the young people to inform the design which conjured moments of abstraction to bring an emotional depth to the overall narrative. Aims: incorporating LGBTQ+ colours, we developed a flexible outcome which can work as a whole design and as component parts and can be reproduced in a variety of formats (physical and digital platforms) printed and displayed in public places – a billboard at Station Square opposite Milton Keynes Train Station and a 14-metre-wide mural in an underpass at the Buszy Plaza Skatepark; delivered creative digital and physical workshops with the young people to generate ideas and visual material (text/typography, images, poetry) to inform the outcome; adapted the design into a postcard format for distribution to 15 secondary schools. Objectives: reduce the isolation and stigma surrounding homelessness, inform the general public, provide support to homeless people.
“This was the second most voted project in 2020/21 which is why we created the mural with our artist, Kremena, in the hope of educating and supporting people about homelessness. We want to portray a ray of hope for anyone who is going through a similar situation as well as creating a positive message to the wider community.”
- Alessandro and Crystal Rose, MKYCAB Homelessness campaign group.
Oxford City Council, Oxford
(Apr 2022) Large-scale digital illustration commission printed on display boards (visually showcasing the hidden gems of the city and creatively unearthing the lesser-known stories of the city’s history through rhymes and humour while reflecting the diversity of Oxford’s communities) used to enhance key annual events in Oxford on an ongoing basis.
(Jan 2020) Site-specific illustration commission responding to the climate emergency A Cup of Inspiration; printed on purpose-built giant coffee cup recycling bins creating a trail of inspiration in three of Oxford’s business areas to inspire people to take positive action to address the climate emergency; concept development, draft sketches, final colour design creation covering the themes: inspiration, positivity, diversity, inclusion, visibility, logistics, impact.
Wendy Shearer Professional Storyteller and Author www.wendyshearer.co.uk, London (Jan 2022)
Caribbean inspired fairytalelike hand painted wall mural commission combining collage and water based acrylic paints for a textured and multi-layered effect "as seen on BBC Radio 5 LIVE and as part of other storytelling events".
Museum of the Home, London
(Nov 2020 - Mar 2021) Concept Illustrator/Designer Rhymes Through Time large-scale multi-artwork mural/trail/game family-friendly installation in collaboration with poet Valerie Bloom MBE. Responsibilities: created 5 digitally illustrated walls/cupboard murals displayed in different rooms in the museum visualising the experience of the child during four periods in British history; interpreted the stories from the domestic home in a fun and child-friendly way aimed at children aged 6-12 and families with a focus on edutainment – teaching and learning through entertainment and play; ensured the displays were inclusive, interactive, engaging and memorable through visual poetry map mazes, puzzles, matching pairs, spot the difference games, while considering the rooms’ contemporary relevance relating to family structures, gender, race, multiculturalism; artistic direction of project; design and proofing; concept illustration; created print ready artworks that were fully accessible for all audiences in accordance with accessibility guidance regarding font colour, font size, background colour contrast, text over image; created smaller versions of artworks for use on Soundcloud and the museum website; designed exhibition interpretation and credit panels; worked with the Digital/Social Media Editor to help with marketing and PR by posting about research and ideas, work in progress, creative processes, artistic choices and concepts; liaised with printers for practicalities of printing and delivery (National Lottery Heritage Funded).
(Nov 2021) Created an illustration ‘A Betrothal Gift’ based on a historical Hanukkah lamp (Hanukkiah) for display at the museum to represent a personal family (hi)story; delivered creative workshops for families as part of Hanukkah Festival at the museum.
(Mar - Sep 2021) Concept Illustrator/Designer - co-created Multimedia Associate Schools Project Tomorrowland - inspired by the themes of heritage, community, home, and the future in collaboration with a team of creative practitioners; created a poster and large-scale digital and physical maps populated with QR codes, ideas, writings, rhymes, and visuals created by primary school children during workshops imagining what their future homes could/should look like in 2050; posters and maps’ installation in the museum, schools, shops, and residential windows throughout Hackney.
Manchester Museum, University of Manchester, Manchester (Aug 2021 - Jan 2022)
Mosan Enamels: A Medieval Craft Carried and Continued - archaeological visualisation - working from a script, employed a comic strip format to creatively reimagine the emotional stories of spiritual and religious driven movement inspired by a rare and fragile archaeological Medieval Mosan enamelled plaque that people had carried with them from Europe to the UK (discovered in a field in Oldham in December 2020); used the power of comics to help visitors visually 'see' the object by revealing the emotional realities of belonging this object represents relating to people, places, time; exhibition at The Belonging Gallery and Oldham Histories Festival; use of comics spreads by learning and visitor teams in schools programmes.
University of Oxford, Oxford (Sep - Nov 2021)
Digital Scholarship (DiSc) - reflected on the nature, importance, and activities of DiSc as practices that complement and extend existing methods of academic research and generated a large-scale digital illustration to form a part of DiSc’s visual identity; launch and display in Autumn 2021.
Suffolk Libraries, Stowmarket (Aug - Sep 2021) (Arts Council England Funded)
Stowmarket Garden Project - led on the concept design and hand-painted creation of a large-scale site-specific mural installed in the courtyard and garden space of Stowmarket Library; drew inspiration from own research and local stories collected through public engagement events and weaved these with text and image to celebrate Stowmarket’s past, present, and future; participated in planning sessions and worked with Suffolk Libraries’ staff and project partners from Fox Yard Studio and Modece Architects to help with the evaluation and documentation of work throughout the project.
Wigan STEAM, Wigan (Aug 2021) (Arts Council England Funded)
Future Human - a socially engaged and co-created art-science project with young people exploring what is in store for humanity and planet earth in the year 2050 by delving into the problems we might face as our species evolve, the climate continues to change, and technology advances at an ever-increasing rate. Responsibilities: I planned, prepared, and delivered a storytelling, character development, comics, and map-making workshop to help the young people co-produce a large-scale site-specific digital illustration visually communicating their research findings and visions for the future inspired by their work with scientists about cutting-edge technologies and scientific evidence and theories. Exhibition of work in Wigan STEAM in 2021.
Preston Park Museum & Grounds, Stockton-on-Tees (May - Jul 2021) BBC COVERAGE
Site-specific contemporary collecting exhibition project Lockdown Legends Exposed - working from photographs and stories, devised and designed a large-scale digital vinyl wall mural in a portrait/map style inspired by elected Covid-19 nominees - inspirational individuals whose heroic acts of kindness during the pandemic were deemed by the Tees Valley’s residents to deserve recognition. Responsibilities: maintained ongoing communication via email and phone; research, concept development, considered quality, format, and longevity of portrait map to become part of the museum’s permanent collections showing future generations how ordinary people did extraordinary things and how communities worked together during difficult times; provided initial ideas of the composition layouts; sent regular updates on the progress of work; created versions of work for an interactive wall, website use, and social media promotion; designed exhibition interpretation panels; illustrated frames for the nomination text; Collections: Preston Park Museum & Grounds and Tees Archives (Dorman Museum).
Collections: PRESTON PARK MUSEUM & GROUNDS & TEES ARCHIVES (DORMAN MUSEUM)
University of Manchester’s Centre for Jewish Studies and The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, Manchester (Jan 2020 - May 2021)
Exploratory visual research residency 50 Jewish Objects public history commission and collaborative book publication - researched and visually investigated, employing a comics format, a 14C compendium of Jewish law – an illuminated manuscript of Isaac ben Joseph of Corbeil’s Sefer Mitzvot Katan (Semak) (documented for internet usage) – which is exhibited on The Centre for Jewish Studies’ website is a part of The University of Manchester’s permanent collections in The John Rylands Library. Created a pre-recorded online comics/storytelling talk/workshop to showcase the project, captivate public’s interest and widen understanding of artefacts, Jewish history, and Jewish studies; contributed blog articles which communicated the research, thinking, design decisions, processes and approaches when visually responding to the manuscript.
East Street Arts, Leeds (Oct 2020 - Mar 2021) in partnership with Leeds City Council (main project partner), Leeds Museums and Galleries, Leeds Heritage Theatres, Opera North, Age UK, The Churches Conservation Trust, North Bar/North Brewing, High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) (Funded by Historic England)
Artist-Researcher and Artist in Residence with Leeds Civic Trust collaborating with local history experts, volunteers, and Burmantofts community groups - Shakespeare Primary School, Burmantofts Senior Action, MAFWA Theatre (vulnerable women, refugees, asylum seekers, and settled communities) on a socially engaged intergenerational pilot project. Responsibilities: researched the rich history, culture, heritage, and untold stories of Burmantofts Pottery and its connection to and presence in and around New Briggate and the City Centre; planned, organised and delivered outreach activities programme comprising of pre-recorded online educational videos, postal, phone, and zoom engagement tailored to individual needs; led creative community consultation through online workshops and interviews to uncover unknown stories; used the findings to co-create digital and physical resources (letters, stories, maps, puzzles, colouring sheets) further informing individually tailored activity packs in collaboration with an Artist-Educator distributed to the project participants; engaged in project research, development, production, activation, and evaluation, encouraging people to become history and heritage investigators; developed a physical and digital outcome based on collaboration and helped create a contemporary archive recording Leeds’s neighbourhoods’ deep-rooted histories under threat of erasure and displacement; contributed to a social media campaign to promote the project through artist takeovers on social media channels; attended weekly online meetings with the project team to update on project’s progress and discuss, develop, and finalise ideas; generated an archive of data and information that can be accessed and responded to in future projects; developed, wrote, designed, and digitally illustrated a collaborative (hi)story book in rhymes, posters, and postcards co-created with the community groups’ memories, ideas, suggestions, and creative outcomes from workshops published by East Street Arts in Spring 2021. The successful delivery of this pilot project led to further funding as part of a larger Heritage Action Zone commission.
West Cheshire Museums, Cheshire West and Chester (Jul 2020 - Aug 2020) (National Lottery Heritage Funded)
Digital collaborative place-responsive comic strip commission for Chester Festival of Hope - a pioneering online festival and exhibition placing young people at the heart of design, making, programming and production. The festival is a part of Hope Streets, a five-year project creating a strategic partnership between heritage and youth sectors in the North-West. The aim of the commission was to reflect on Chester Young Producers’ heritage by exploring and visually communicating people’s views and experiences throughout the period of Covid-19 lockdown; employing a comic strip format, I worked with Chester Young Producers to give voice to people whose stories wouldn’t usually be told by visually mapping oral histories gathered by Chester Young Producers through interviews; Responsibilities: liaised with the festival’s project producer and coordinator, devised and delivered an online comics workshop, advised and co-created the digital comic strip with the Chester Young Producers. Digital engagement: contributed to a social media campaign to promote the festival producing content for the festival’s website and social media channels including Instagram artist takeovers.
National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas (May 2020 - Jul 2020) (Funded by The Royal British Legion using LIBOR Charity Funds)
Socially engaged digital exhibition Visualising History: Remembering the Forgotten Army (Aug 2020-Sep 2021) - employing a cartographic narrative format, explored and mapped the lasting impact the conflict with Japan and the Second World War had had on today’s culture and society; devised and delivered online (hi)story-telling/illustration workshops and developed a suite of digitally-accessible activity sheets and a colouring book to engage communities in learning and remembrance of those who served and sacrificed in the Far East focussing on the British 14th Army (the “Forgotten” Army) and most diverse army in history; engaged in visual research investigations and creative consultation with communities using their ideas, visual and textual responses to produce a collaborative historical graphic narrative and a map to form the Arboretum’s first digital exhibition commemorating the 75th anniversary of VJ-Day.
"THE EXHIBITION HAS BEEN REALLY WELL RECEIVED. IN THE WEEK AFTER VJ DAY, THE EXHIBITION WAS VIEWED BY OVER 3000 PEOPLE WITH A DWELL TIME OVER NEARLY 4 MINUTES (OVER THREE TIMES OUR AVERAGE PAGE DWELL TIME)."
Chris Ansell, Head of Participation and Learning, The National Memorial Arboretum
Eastleigh Borough Council, Eastleigh (Mar 2020 - Jun 2020)
Site-specific community heritage commission One Horton Heath - developed an artistic vision in a digital cartographic format inspired by the (hi)stories of a new community housing development site (homes, local facilities, infrastructure) in the Borough of Eastleigh on the theme The Journey (depicting the past/present development and future vision). Responsibilities: created work in adaptable formats for hard copy usage (flyers, posters, site signage) and digital platforms advertising campaigns (One Horton Heath website, e-marketing, social media) to serve as an official image and an umbrella piece speaking to different audiences by establishing a sense of place and purpose; created concept mood boards; maintained regular contact; project updates by email/Zoom; attended meetings for interim discussion and creative consultation with Eastleigh Borough Council’s project steering group.
Auris Tech Limited, London (Jan 2020 - Mar 2020)
The Painting - an interactive children’s e-book design and illustration for a market leading educational Fonetti app, which offers innovative speech recognition solutions for children - a learning system encouraging and assisting children as they learn to read; engaged in independent research, creation of proofs and sketches, layout and design; liaised with the company’s content editor and writers.
Benjamin Franklin House, London (Jun 2015 - Nov 2019) (National Lottery Heritage Funded 2017, 2018)
Illustrator in Residence - researched Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America, and his life and work in London; developed a children’s activity book Benjamin Franklin: At Home in London (published in 2019 and consisting of reusable stickers, a map, spot the difference and puzzles) and site-specific illuminations used as educational projections to enrich young audiences’ experiences during historical re-enactments; illustrated and designed bespoke merchandise for the museum shop (fridge magnets, notebooks, bookmarks); devised activity sheets; delivered talks and mixed media illustration workshops for museum visitors and school children; independent research investigating comics as an innovative form of historiography as part of an interdisciplinary practice-based PhD (focusing on 18C colonial London and Benjamin Franklin House).
Amuse Experiences - Bespoke Museum and Gallery Experiences with the Experts, London (Sep 2018 - May 2019)
Commission to develop illustrations, design panels and a handwritten logo for a new website encapsulating the company’s creative offerings ranging from international museum and gallery tours, artists’ studio tours and creative school curriculum to bespoke talks and events, creative celebrations and life drawing classes. Associate Member
The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge, Canterbury (Apr 2018 - Nov 2018) (Canterbury Council and Canterbury Museums and Galleries, CCC Funded)
Place-responsive interactive community heritage installation at The Front Room commemorating the end of WW1 Beyond War - Visualising Peace: Responding to the Armistice of 1918 (Nov 2018 - Feb 2019). Researched and visually responded to The Beaney’s WW1 Canterbury archives and collections; created historically accurate digitally collaged graphic narrative scenes and an interactive poppy wall Celebrating women in the workforce visualising the (often unsung) contributions of ordinary women living through the Great War and the peace beyond. Responsibilities: independent research, storytelling, creative input, design proofs creation, attended regular project meetings; provided project updates and ensured project milestones were reached on time and within budget; planned, prepared, co-curated and installed the exhibition, created bespoke merchandise for The Beaney’s shop (notebooks, bookmarks, paper puppets, fridge magnets, tea towels, mugs).
Literary Lifestories, London (Jul 2016 - Aug 2016)
Commission to design a book cover for a novelette; liaised with the author to understand and interpret her needs and expectations; provided creative input; advised on page layout and typography; engaged in digital image manipulation working from photographs as references.
The Rude Mechanicals, Shakespeare in Shoreditch Festival, London (Feb 2016 - Mar 2016)
Designed and illustrated promotional materials (poster, logo, map/trail) using traditional and digital methods capturing The Rude Mechanicals’ performances across the London Borough of Hackney to commemorate 400 years since Shakespeare.
Lonely Planet Kids, London (Apr 2014 - Apr 2015)
Educational sticker books adventure series for children - commission to illustrate Adventures in Cold Places and Adventures in Smelly Places and to create the main illustrations for a deluxe world atlas Adventures Around the Globe; liaised with the writers, art directors, and graphic designers; researched information to create digital illustrations and designs for each publication consisting of over 250 reusable stickers, world maps, intro, colouring pages, spot the difference, shadow games, puzzles, 3D push-outs, and more. Worldwide publication of all books.
Bishop’s Stortford Museum and Middlesex University (Nov 2013 - Aug 2014) (National Lottery Heritage Funded)
Archival research and visualisation The Conscientious Objector - created graphic narrative spreads illustrating rare and damaged Hertfordshire’s WW1 police archives visually communicating the experiences of policemen and ordinary people; published in a book anthology On the Beat: Stories from 1914-1918 commemorating 100 years since the beginning of WW1; Responsibilities: researched the Great War period; visited and visually documented Bishop’s Stortford town and museum through photographs and location observational reportage drawings; draft creation and final designs; attended regular project meetings; gave educational talks to local schoolchildren; exhibitions at Bishop’s Stortford Museum and Middlesex University; project was reviewed and approved by the Houses of Parliament; press coverage by the BBC and the Times.
Canvas Restaurant (Marylebone and Chelsea) London (Nov 2013 - Aug 2014)
Commission to create 22 small- and large-scale mixed media artworks and portraits on canvases depicting the fine dining restaurants’ head chef and his signature dishes displayed in the restaurants’ interiors and on their websites.
Ecomsense UK Ltd (Sep 2012 - Oct 2012)
Commission to design a brochure to promote fine dining experiences created using mixed media hand-drawn and digital illustration techniques.
PUBLICATIONS / CHILDREN'S BOOKS
Think in Your Heart, Think... (co-created educational book on statelessness) as part of Partition of Identity Study - 50 Years on since the inception of Bangladesh - Kaghazi Kashtiyan: The Pakistani Bengali Story in collaboration with Dr Humera Iqbal, UCL Institute of Education (2023)
The Painting e-book (Fonetti educational app by Auris Tech Limited) (2020)
Benjamin Franklin: At Home in London (2019) (National Lottery Heritage Funded)
Adventures in Smelly Places (Lonely Planet Kids) (2015)
Adventures in Cold Places (Lonely Planet Kids) (2014)
PUBLICATIONS / BOOK ANTHOLOGIES CONTAINING MY ILLUSTRATIONS
Community Artists Colouring Book Vol. 1 (Portsmouth Creates) (2020)
Adventures Around the Globe (Lonely Planet Kids) (2015)
On the Beat: During the Great War 1914 -1918 (Bishop’s Stortford Museum, part of the Rhodes Birthplace trust and Middlesex University) (2014) (National Lottery Heritage Funded)
Sancti Clandestini: Undercover Saints (World Wood Publishing) (2012)
Impressions of Cat Hill (Middlesex University and Pearls of Wisdom Press) (2011)