Anne Howeson


  • Anne Howeson is a Tutor in Visual Communication at the Royal College of Art. She devised the seminar series ‘DRAW’ which supports second-year MA students working on sustained drawing projects and welcomes a wide interpretation of ideas from any area or discipline. She contributes to the electives with a special interest in the research aspects of Research Design Publish (a critical design elective comprising 14 students from the Visual Communication programme), and works as a research supervisor and personal tutor.

  • Biography

  • Anne Howeson is a Jerwood Drawing Prize winner, with work in permanent collections including the Museum of London, the Guardian News and Media, 
St George’s Hospital and Imperial College Art Works, London, as well as in many private collections. In 2014 she was selected for the Derwent Art prize and the National Open Art Award. She was an invited artist at Discerning Eye, Mall Galleries, London, in 2011 and 2016. 

    Anne Howeson worked as an illustrator for many years in Europe and the USA, with clients including Esquire and GQ New York, the Sunday Times, the Guardian and the Telegraph. She represented the UK in publishing commissions from the European Commission. Currently she develops drawing projects concerning time, place and people. Recent exhibitions have focused on regeneration at King’s Cross, and have included three London solo shows: Remember Me at the Guardian News and Media, Present in the Past at Collyer Bristow, and Imagining King’s Cross at Cross Street Gallery. (See Practice section.)

    Her current project, Vaster than Oceans, uses drawn and photographic elements and research material from the National Genealogical Archive at Seapoint, Dublin to develop narratives about the sea, loss and renewal.

    In addition to her practice, Anne works as an educator  - with both roles informing and influencing each other. As a Tutor, she promotes committed subject matter, wide and interdisciplinary reference points (both contemporary and historical) and the use of drawing as a tool for unravelling ideas and describing and expressing curiosity about the way we live. She encourages students to respond to the real and the everyday as a working method and to build on this from memory, imagination and invention. 

    She continues to lead and develop ‘DRAW’ - a seminar series for second year students where major personal projects are presented and guests are invited to participate in discussions.  ‘DRAW’ aims to raise the profile of drawing within the Programme and promote drawing research projects by practice, it was originally set up as a platform for presentations and debate and to encourage cross-departmental and cultural links within the RCA. The 2010 exhibition: DRAW - Turning Thoughts into Lines showed work from the seminars and demonstrated how the notion of ‘Drawing as Thinking’ is used by staff and students across the College.

    ‘DRAW’ is a seminar series for 2nd year students working on sustained drawing projects, supporting them through to resolution shortly before graduation. It aims to raise the profile of drawing within the course, and welcomes a wide interpretation of ideas from any area or discipline as long as they contain a thread of drawing. Past work has included reportage, documentary, biography, narrative and the practical investigation of drawing as thinking and process.

    Recent commentators on ‘DRAW’ have included Professor Anita Taylor, founding director of the Jerwood Drawing Prize project, Adam Dant, artist, and Sir Quentin Blake artist and illustrator.

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  • Practice

  • Anne Howeson’s work uses drawn imagery to create atmosphere and tell stories about everyday life and memory. Her practice focuses on the act of making and combines photographic, film and literary research in addition to working from life.

    Her intention is to exhibit and produce work on subjects with depth and ideology, within contexts that have a collective and public interest, using a personal and accessible language.

    Her solo exhibition Remember Me at the Guardian News and Media 2009, looked at regeneration in the King’s Cross area and its impact on local communities. (See also the Research section). In 2015, two further London exhibitions on King’s Cross redevelopment: Present in the Past, Collyer Bristow, and Imagining King’s Cross, Cross Street Gallery, took digital fragments from original source material (initially from the Museum of London’s prints and drawings archive) reworking and transforming them in scale and content to evoke a sense of passing time. Monocle Radio London interviewed her about this exhibition (listen to the interview here). 

    Her current project, Vaster than Oceans, uses drawn and photographic elements and research material from the National Genealogical Archive at Seapoint Dublin to develop narratives about the sea, loss and renewal.

    She is known as a commentator on relationships and her work can be seen as documentary, both fictional and real. She was one of The Radical Illustrators group and developed a reputation for focusing exclusively on socio/political issues. Partly as a reaction against this, partly for the pleasure of working outside during the summer months she has had commissions and exhibitions (The Gallery Cowcross Street, London, and The Padstow Studio, Cornwall) on the subject of formal gardens. These stage-set like images have a narrative element and reference travel and journeys.

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    • External collaborations

    • External Examination and Teaching 

      Previous academic posts: regular lecturing Central St Martins and Camberwell College of Art

      External Examining: Middlesex University, John Moores Liverpool, Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh and Anglia Ruskin University.

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    • Publications, exhibitions and other outcomes

    • Selected Group Shows


      51%Remember Her (April), Tower Gallery Barking London – selected artist 


      ING Discerning Eye (November), Mall galleries – selected artist

      Selected Solo Exhibitions


      Imagining King’s Cross (September), Cross Street Gallery

      Present in the Past (February ), Collyer Bristow Gallery with accompanying Conversations with Archives: Talk and discussion with Archivist Jeremy Smith 


      Remember Me (October), Guardian Media funded by The Guardian

      Selected Talks, Publications & Conferences


      'Drawing and Memory', chapter by Howeson on ‘Present in the Past’ reportage work in: Reportage: The Techniques and Practices of Visual Journalism, London: Bloomsbury Books, due October 2017


      Talk and Workshop (March):  'House/City/Landscape and the appropriation of Found Images', Ecole nationale supérieure des arts visuels La Cambre, Brussels


      Conference paper (November): 'Drawing and the Remembered City' at Shaping the View, Edinburgh College of Art


      ‘Present in the Past - Renovation and Revival in Kings Cross Central’ (May) London Metropolitan Archives: Talk and Workshop

      Research Talk at the RCA (April): specific focus on use of archive material

      ‘Drawing/Memory/Theft’ (March): Talk for Guild of Pastoral Psychology London

      Panelist forVisual Narrative vs. Narrative Illustration’ (January), House of Illustration

      ‘Practice as Research’ (January): Talk for School of Media and Performing Art, University of Portsmouth


      ‘Memory, Drawing, Place and Appropriation’ paper at ‘The Itinerant Illustrator’ conference (December), Shrishti School of Art, Design and Technology Bangalore India

      Topolski Studio Masterclass (October 2013, 2014 and 2015)

      Brazell, D. and Davies, J. (June) Understanding illustration, London: Bloomsbury Books (Howeson's work for King’s Cross featured in a chapter called 'Documentary/Topography')

      ‘One Day in the City’ presentation at ‘Metropolis Transformed’ (June) University College London 

      ‘Witness' (March), Symposium at Falmouth University Symposium

      'Drawing memory and Theft' (January), talk at the Daniel Blau Gallery


      Guest Lecturer India Govt. College of Fine Arts Kerala (December) 

      Panel member for 'Designing Critical Messages' conference (June), Plymouth University

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    • Research students

    • Louis Netter

    Selected work


    Research interests

    Anne Howeson’s recent research sources reference historic drawings and prints from the collections of the Museum of London and London Metropolitan Archives.

    The central research focus for her work is ‘place’ and the impact of time and memory on the lives of the people who exist within it. Working from personal memory, observation and written sources, drawing is used as a primary method because its shorthand character facilitates thought and connects directly with memory and the unconscious. ‘Memory, even if you repress it, will come back at you and it will shape your life’  (W.G. Sebald).

    Ideas around culture and history are woven into an overall narrative, demonstrating that the artist ‘has a duty as a bearer of cultural memory’ (Rainer Maria Rilke).  

    Current and recent research

    King’s Cross and St Pancras Regeneration: 

    Anne began a research project around regeneration developments at King’s Cross some time before the first Eurostar Train left St Pancras in November 2007.

    Research included a range of activities: looking at early photographs in the Holborn Library archives, publications by the Camden History Society and by local contemporary photographers, making ongoing digital photographic records, (by day and night) as well as drawn responses on site. Arranging official and unofficial site visits to ensure that the drawings looked at local people’s everyday lives, both currently and historically. Reading biographies of the many deceased literary residents, including Dickens, Blake and Wollstonecraft.

    Early work responded to the idiosyncratic mix of architecture, communities and cultures, depicting the shop fronts of Caledonian Road, and the prostitutes who stood in Goods Way (as seen in Neil Jordan’s film, Mona Lisa). Later drawings recorded old tenement blocks and warehouse buildings, and landmarks of recent regeneration like the Barlow Shed and Eurostar.

    A selection of this work was shown in November 2007 during the Arrivals festival. This exhibition made connections between the architecture of the past and future, focusing on the idea of journey and arrival. Some of the images were in monochrome others in a limited colour range of blue and orange suggesting twilight and street lighting. The drawings celebrated the early Victorian buildings surrounding St Pancras and King’s Cross, contrasting them with the modern Eurostar track emerging from the Barlow shed en route to Europe.

    An earlier exhibition project, shown at the Thumb Gallery, Soho, – Business, Three Views on Sex for Sale – was partly inspired by the streets behind King’s Cross station, including the gasometers and buildings of Goods Way. This exhibition on the subject of prostitution, was the subject of an article in the Guardian by Waldemar Januszczak.

    King’s Cross Regeneration Part Two

    This project has been ongoing, because the area of King’s Cross/St Pancras will be in transition for some years. The Guardian show focus in 2009 was the exploration of architectural change, and its impact on communities. In addition to making a simple commemoration of the old and lost buildings, the drawings invented a semi fictional near future in the transformed neighbourhood. Most of the work was architectural, with occasional figures having supporting, semi abstract roles.

    An exhibition of the King’s Cross drawings Remember Me was held at the Guardian News and Media headquarters, 90 York Way, London, N1 in October 2009. Present in the Past and Imagining King’s Cross were held in February and September 2015.