Mask Image 1

Join Pressible, a link to sign up for Pressible

Thinking through Drawing

Contact | Feed RSS Icon

Thinking through Drawing: an interdisciplinary project of Teachers College, Columbia University

Bridging traditional and contemporary methods of visual expression, investigation and communication,  the Thinking though Drawing project extends drawing into the 21st-century.

Thinking through Drawing brings current research in visual arts, cognitive psychology, technology and education to the practice of drawing across knowledge domains, across the curriculum and across national and cultural boundaries.

why drawing? Because the activity of drawing allows us to play with our thoughts outside the confines of our minds. Lines and marks on surfaces are ways of having and constructing ideas equally as they constitute ways of  expressing them.  Artists, architects, mathematicians, engineers and other professionals draw to explore concepts and discover new ones.

Students in schools, if encouraged, use drawing as a means for exploration and discovery across the curriculum, to record, understand and process new knowledge not just with their brains, but their minds, feelings, hands and bodies as well. Drawing is a language of thought and expression which considerably expands the kind and depth of knowledge available through words and numbers.

By pointing to critical and intertwined habits of mind and practice, we may consider how the process of drawing contributes to the creation and construction of important knowledge.  In recent years, cognitive scientists have made amazing progress in seeing into the inner workings of our minds, and it turns out that seeing itself is a big part of what happens.

As educators, how can we use recent developments in brain science to understand better how drawing can marshal visual and spatial reasoning to empower students’ thinking, learning and meaning-making?  For drawing offers a tool of thought and action that allows students to stretch widely in their investigation and sympathies, to peer into their world of experience and imagine how it might be otherwise.


Promote drawing as a means to foster thinking across disciplines and collaboration among individuals and creative communities.
Expand the possibilities of making connections through drawing by providing models of how to integrate the latest technologies with traditional media and methods.
Facilitate the growth and development of an international network of researchers on drawing and cognition
Disseminate best practices of teaching drawing across the curriculum, in K-12 and higher education.

Thinking through Drawing is actively involved in several collaborative research efforts…

Drawing Across the Curriculum

This project supports collaboration between art teachers and university researchers to identify, analyze, assess and disseminate instructional methods that utilize drawing to promote trans-disciplinary creative and critical thinking and serve diverse populations. Drawing is chosen as a focus because of its broad application within and beyond the visual arts, as well as its accessibility to students and schools with limited resources.

International Drawing and Cognition Research Group

In partnership with the Center for Drawing at University of the Arts, London and the Drawing Research Group, Loughborough University, the Thinking through Drawing sponsors annual international symposia on research in drawing, cognition and education.  creates print and on-line publications to disseminate drawing research and practice to a global audience.

in the future, we plan to…

Create a multi-media archive of drawing resources to be shared with educators and researchers.  This would include documentation of the drawing process by artists and other expert practioners from a variety of professional fields,.; best practices of  K-12 and higher education drawing instruction across the curriculum, for use by classroom teachers, art specialists and researchers; and historical and cross-cultural resources on the role of drawing and drawing instruction.

Implement a program of professional development for K-12 teachers in the NYC metropolitan area and beyond, at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Develop our internet presence to share resources and foster cultural exchange and collaboration world-wide.