Drawing Headlines: A Tea Party with Silent Conversation

YiMiao Shih describes her 'Drawing Headline' event.


  • YiMiao Shih
  • Residency

Our fifth Illustrator in Residence, YiMiao Shih, describes the last ‘Drawing Headlines’ and how it will inspire her forthcoming exhibition this spring.

Tea, biscuits, a big pile of old newspapers and one huge roll of paper. These were the key ingredients of the ‘Drawing Headlines’ event I ran to gather opinions on Brexit from House of Illustration’s audience.

But I wanted more nuance than monolithic opinion; shades of grey within ‘Leave’ and ‘Remain.’ I wanted a timeline, a barometer of changing concerns, thoughts and feelings through time. Hence the ‘Drawing Headlines’ event.

Newspaper front pages were pinned onto the walls; pens and pencils, scissors and glue were scattered across the table; and I drew big square frames at points on the paper and gave them dates – some Brexit-related, some random.

Participants were asked to choose a date and recall their mood that day. They were invited to respond creatively, moving around the long scroll of paper, drawing and collaging in and around the squares. It was like a tea party but with silent conversation, quietly drawing out people’s inner thoughts.

This patchwork of individual voices emerged between sips of tea and nibbles of biscuits in a beautifully curated way, unveiling collective inner emotions and feeding in to my residency project.

As well as being a touchingly collaborative process on a divisive issue, ‘Drawing Headlines’ also presented a rare opportunity to see people travelling back in their memories, paying special attention to specific days whose specific qualities are otherwise lost. Watching people unearthing these moments and revealing them in the squares was a delightful experience.

With thanks to Jayoon Choi for the photographs.