Glyn Brewerton

Senior Lecturer BA(Hons) Illustration, Norwich University of the Arts

Glyn Brewerton

Detail from ‘Mapping Wheatfen Broad: June – Map of visitor comments from Wheatfen. Visitors book’ (2020) Medium: Pen and Ink.

Connecting urban communities with Nature: Illustration as a conduit for outdoor education in the Norfolk Broads.


In the 2005 publication ‘Last Child of the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder’, Richard Louv explores the importance of a connection with the outside world in child development. His research seeks to understand ‘bio-phobia’, and how employing ‘eco-mindfulness’, can help with mental illness such as anxiety and depression. This presentation will aim to raise awareness of the challenges and successes encountered when using an illustrators investigative and observational drawing process to connect audiences with the environment, whose lives are impacted by a lack of engagement with the Natural World. I aim to show how public illustration projects that engage with the rural landscape can remedy what Richard Louv describes as ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ (Louv, 2005).

The work shown in the presentation begins with an investigation of the visitor book located at Wheatfen Broad in Norfolk, showing drawn detailed ‘maps’ which measure the moment of human engagement with the site. Later, in a pedagogical project with Acle Academy, I worked with a class of Year 8 students to record their experiences of Polkey’s Mill in Halvergate Marsh, through drawing and writing. The resulting book, displayed later in the ‘Mapping the Broads’ exhibition at the East Gallery in Norwich, contains a glimpse of the magic and euphoria that the students felt, many of them experiencing the wilderness of the rural Norfolk for the first time.

The collaboration aimed to act as an exemplar of future learning, to bridge secondary level education from Key stage 3 to undergraduate study, and the community beyond. This project serves as an illustration of the essential role that art and design has in society, as a tool to engage youngsters and adults with their natural surroundings.


Glyn Brewerton is a Senior Lecturer in Illustration at Norwich University of the Arts. Since 2017 he has been working with the Norfolk Broads Authority in the UK; on a Heritage National Lottery and Norwich University of the Arts funded project titled; Water, Mills and Marshes: Mapping the Norfolk Broads; developing illuminated mapping and illustration in response to visitor sightings of wildlife at Wheatfen Broad in Norfolk, an area of natural beauty and rich biodiversity.

In his practice Glyn Brewerton incorporates industry and research experiences, his past research projects have been informed by creative collaborations with schools, performance artists, animators and graphic designers. His approach to illustration is wide ranging and influenced by a number of years working with digital illustration. More recently his practice has returned to drawing and interpretations of oral histories, working with university students and schools on projects that encourage participants to interact creatively with their rural surroundings.

In 2007 Glyn was shortlisted for the Jerwood Drawing Prize with a drawing titled ‘Ghost’, which documented the traces of the Slate Mining Industry in Snowdonia. Recently in June 2020 the drawing 'June - A visual map of the Wheatfen Broad Visitors Book’ was longlisted for the 2020 Trinity Buoys Wharf Drawing Prize.