Photo credit: Marion Richardson Collection, Arts, Design & Media Archives, Birmingham City University

Latest Radar project to host exhibition exploring the legacy of pioneering arts educator

Radar’s most recent commission, This is Just What I Saw, is an exploration of the legacy of pioneering arts educator Marion Richardson.

The outcome of the project – led by artist Katarina Hruskova in collaboration with Loughborough’s Dr Sarah Mills – is a mixed-media exhibition which will run from 3-25 October.

Using printed textile, spoken word, archival materials and text, the exhibition will function as both an imaginative and pedagogical space.

Dr Mills and Katarina Hruskova began their research by visiting Marion Richardson’s Archive at Birmingham City University, to see the works produced by her pupils and examine her teaching methods.

The pair then led workshops with schoolchildren and young adults in various learning environments across Loughborough, Leicester and Nottingham, which were structured around narratives by Katarina and focused on two key aspects of Marion’s methodology: ‘Mind Pictures’ and drawing and painting from description.

‘Mind Pictures’ was a term used by Richardson to describe images which ‘came spontaneously to the mind’s eye’ without any instruction. She would encourage pupils to close their eyes and paint whatever they saw, stimulating both vision and trust in their own expressions.

On the other hand, drawing and painting from descriptions was much more structured, with Marion setting a scene using detailed verbal descriptions, which pupils would then recreate through paintings or drawings. Katarina used both of these methods as a foundation for her texts, developed using visual language derived from the work produced by Marion Richardson’s pupils.


As part of This is What I Just Saw, Katarina selected elements and gestures from the artworks produced by workshop participants to create collages and patterns, which have been reproduced on surfaces of carpets to encourage guests of the exhibition to sit down and listen to the stories, and consider the relationship between image and language.

The exhibition will be held in the Martin Hall Exhibition Space and will be open from 10am-5pm, Monday to Friday, and from 12pm-5pm on Saturday 19 October. Access to the exhibition is free.

Speaking about the project, Dr Sarah Mills said: “It’s been fantastic to work with Katarina on this Radar project.  I’m looking forward to her exhibition and the accompanying events. 

“These will explore some of the connections between her artistic practice and some of my research themes. I hope visitors will enjoy the imaginative space Katarina has created, inspired by archival material and our contemporary workshops with children and young people in the local area.”

She added:  “As academic researchers, we are very lucky to have Radar on campus. It’s been a pleasure to collaborate with them on this project and consider my research themes from a new perspective.”

As part of the exhibition, there will be a special launch event on 3 October from 6.30pm-7.30pm that will feature a conversation between the artist Katarina and the academic Dr Mills. They will discuss the research process they embarked on together, each other’s ways of working as well as Richardson’s legacy in the context of contemporary arts education and Katarina’s practice. All are welcome to attend but are encouraged to book their free place in advance here.

 Photo of child drawing

As part of the programme for This is Just What I Saw, a film and discussion event – Bodies at Play – will take place on Thursday 10 October from 6.30pm-8.30pm.

Focusing on the politics and material cultures of play, this event will consist of a screening of Helen McCrorie’s film ‘If play is neither inside nor outside, where is it?’, as well as a discussion event with Helen and Dr Sarah Mills.

Katarina is a Slovakian artist who is currently based in Berlin. She studied at the Royal College of Art and the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. She has exhibited, performed, and presented in countries across the world, including the UK, Czech Republic, Portugal and Germany. Katarina is also one of the laureates of the Oskar Cepan Award, YVAA Slovakia (2017).

Dr Sarah Mills is a Reader in Human Geography at Loughborough University, and her work explores the material, cultural and political geographies of education and childhood. Her recent projects have explored the role of sound, spatiality and childhood; youth citizenships projects; and the gendered citizenship projects and educational philosophies of several British youth movements across the twentieth century, such as Scouts, Girl Guides and Woodcraft Folk.

Radar is LU Arts’ commissioning and research programme, which invites artists to produce new work in response to and as part of research undertaken across the University’s two campuses, bringing artistic and academic work together.

For any queries regarding This is Just What I Saw or Radar, please email

Notes for editors

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