Drawing on Age is the name of a pilot project devised by Leicestershire County Council - Adult Social Care, Direct Payment Support Service and Charnwood Arts with additional support from Charnwood Borough Council. The idea for ‘Drawing on Age’ originated from a project proposal in the early 1990s that planned to draw down stories from elderly residents of Loughborough on their memories of entertainment, hobbies and pastimes. That project was the seed for pilot work undertaken as part of the Charnwood Arts groundbreaking millennium programme ‘People Making Places’. The project was co-ordinated by Catherine Rogers for Charnwood Arts and employed a number of artists to set up and run sessions for older people who were utilising services provided by the County Council as well as drawing in other senior citizens from thelocalities in which the sessions were run.

This new approach, undertaken by local artists Val Singh and Tony Zajciw, was based around the simple idea of ‘conversational portraiture’. The process of drawing out and recording memories through dialogue, as the artists built a relationship with the sitter, was designed to contribute to the on-line galleries and stories of People Making Places.

Now, nearly twenty years later, through live projects and on-line, Drawing on Age has come of age again. With a generous grant through Marks and Spencer’s Charity of the Year scheme, artist Jacqui Gallon has worked with us to complete this first book working with Diana Firth to share some of her remarkable life.


As we creatively enlarge the ways in which we can embrace the idea of ‘portraiture’ we hope to capture many more stories that share the lives and learning of local people.

DIANA FIRTH: FROM SARK TO LOUGHBOROUGH and the places in between 

Published on Aug 24, 2020


The compilation of this book, based on the memories of Diana Firth, was commissioned as part of the ‘Drawing on Age’ project. Artist Jacqui Gallon has worked with Charnwood Arts to complete this first book using a range of strategies to draw out Diana's fascinating life story - lots (and lots) of conversation, looking at photographs, diaries, journals, maps and also making several drawings of Diana. Who knows what other remarkable and untold stories exist within the living memories of other elderly local residents?

Access the full book HERE