Bicentenary year Artist in Residence drawings to be exhibited on campus



Three of Julia's sketches featuring Professor Andy Newsam, David Alton and Chancellor Nisha Katona speaking at their Roscoe Lectures

Liverpool John Moores University will look back on its milestone Bicentenary year at an exhibition of work by artist Julia Midgley created during her residency throughout 2023.

Julia Midgley: Bicentenary Sketchbook - A Window on LJMU's 200th Anniversary Year will go on public display from Monday 18 March for an extended run until Friday 5 April, open daily to the public from 10am to 4pm (closed during the Easter bank holiday weekend), at LJMU’s John Lennon Art and Design Building, Duckinfield Street, Liverpool L3 5RD.  

As Artist in Residence, Julia visited the LJMU campus regularly during the year to capture everything from open days to public lectures, to student projects and graduation celebrations, using her distinctive documentary and reportage style to create a poignant record of a historic year.

Three images of Julia sketching and painting at different events

Julia created around 140 individual drawings with watercolour from her time on campus, some of which have been curated for the special exhibition which will also feature large-scale reproductions of the original works, Julia’s sketchbooks and her art materials.  

Vice-Chancellor Professor Mark Power said: “Julia captured the many different aspects of university life throughout 2023, documenting our milestone anniversary year in her unique style. There’s a real sensory element to Julia’s work - from perfectly capturing the emotion of graduation to the animated delivery of our historic Bicentenary year Roscoe Lecturers - I’m excited for people to see these vibrant works for themselves.” 

In bringing the exhibition to fruition, Julia has worked in collaboration with the Bluecoat’s Director of Cultural Legacies Bryan Biggs, one of LJMU’s Bicentenary Honorary Fellows, and final year History of Art and Museum Studies student Madeleine Pedley, brought onto the project through an innovative internship opportunity through the university’s on-campus recruitment agency Unitemps.

Julia, Bryan, Madeleine and Vice-Chancellor Mark Power all stood behind a table full of sketches

Bicentenary year Artist in Residence, Julia Midgley, said: “It’s been a real privilege and delight to record the events of LJMU’s Bicentenary year in my sketchbooks through drawing.  Although very familiar with the School of Art and Design the project has introduced me to the many-faceted world of the whole university. Staff and students warmly welcomed me, a professional fly on the wall in their workplaces, and with great courtesy they inspected the sketchbooks. Hopefully the drawings will help others to enjoy the journey.”  

Final-year student and exhibition intern, Madeleine Pedley, said: “It’s been a really great opportunity and it’s always amazing to learn and grow both personally and career-wise. Throughout my internship I’ve been put in a professional environment, and it’s been nice to have professional expectations of your work too. Please do come to the show!”

Bluecoat’s Director of Cultural Legacies, Bryan Biggs, said: “We did the internship interviews and Madeleine really shone. We’ve been very pleased to work with her and to give her an insight into how you not just organise an exhibition, but how you promote it and that’s something that Maddy is particularly interested in and maybe further down the line she might well go into that area of work.

“It’s also very special for me to get to collaborate with Julia and LJMU on this exhibition. I got the fellowship in the Bicentenary year – I think there’s even a drawing of me among Julia’s work - and I’ve known Julia for a long time. Encapsulating these moments in drawing, combining accuracy with spontaneity, is a highly skilled practice, one in which Julia excels, and this exhibition demonstrates the continuing vitality of that process.”

Exhibition opening times and location

Visit the exhibition from Monday 18 March for an extended run until Friday 5 April, open daily to the public from 10am to 4pm (closed during the Easter bank holiday weekend), at LJMU’s John Lennon Art and Design Building, Duckinfield Street, Liverpool L3 5RD.   

About Julia Midgley

Award-winning artist Julia was a Reader in Documentary Drawing within LJMU’s School of Art and Design and a member of staff for 26 years before retiring in 2013.

Reportage is an important aspect of her studio practice. In her projects she records events with drawing creating beautiful and detailed watercolour sketches. A wide variety of locations and subjects have been illustrated from sporting events such as the Wimbledon Championships to medical procedures at the Royal Liverpool University and Broadgreen Hospital.

Julia has previously captured other milestones in LJMU’s history, as the Resident Artist to LJMU’s Roscoe Anniversary Lecture Series in 2017 and between 2006 and 2007 she was the DLA Piper Artist in Residence, creating a unique fly-on-the-wall catalogue of the construction of the John Lennon Art and Design Building. She donated this collection to the university for the building's 10th anniversary and this was exhibited at the school in 2018.

Julia is also a practising printmaker and is a frequent exhibitor at the Royal Academy of Art's Summer Exhibition (12 occasions). She has been the recipient of national awards for drawing, painting and printmaking, and is a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers and the Royal Watercolour Society.

Further exhibition at Kirkby Gallery spring and summer 2024

Julia will also be exhibiting a selection of her drawings at Kirkby Gallery from 15 April to 17 August 2024, including a number of artworks from the LJMU Bicentenary portfolio.



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