Everything Else

Sketching Cottonopolis

A group, made up of people from U3As across Manchester, joined up in Castlefield for a few hours of urban sketching.

The event was led by Tameside U3A’s Catherine Freeman, and was one of the summer active learning events organised by Greater Manchester Network as part of their ‘Cottonopolis’ theme.

The session was aimed at encouraging confidence in joining in with urban sketching. Some participants were experienced artists, leading groups in their U3As.

Others were complete novices. Most of the group hadn’t met before, and in chatting a common theme emerged, namely that they had long wanted to do this, but felt too self-conscious to stand alone in an unfamiliar street, ‘just sketching’.

Catherine Freeman guided us to a spot near the ‘Duke’s 92’ pub on Castle Street, where the Bridgewater and Rochdale Canals join. Here the views in all directions include Georgian canals, locks and warehouses, Victorian railway viaducts, and 21st century Manchester high-rise developments.

To encourage choice and confidence, Catherine suggested we wander the immediate area and choose a spot, keeping other group members in view if one felt a little awkward. Being with a group of companions overcame self-consciousness, and members were soon roaming and sketching happily.

We shared our work in a pop-up gallery on the pavement and you can also see them on the Cottonopolis website https://cottonopolis.weebly.com/urban-sketching.html

We will be having future meet and any U3A member is welcome to join in. You can reach us on cottonopolis.gmu3a@gmail.com