National arts education charity, The Big Draw, this week announced the 2016 theme for the world’s biggest drawing festival, which takes place annually from 1-31 October, and has a reach that spans national institutions and individual initiatives on every continent.

The theme, ‘The STEAM Powered Big Draw Festival 2016’, responds to the current debate on the essential role of Arts within formal education alongside, and within, Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. The STEAM themed festival announcement occurred on the same day that Patron of The Big Draw, Artist Bob and Roberta Smith RA appeared on Channel 4 News to debate the relegation of arts in education and the value of drawing across sectors with Ed Vaizey MP, Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy.

Kate Mason, Director of The Big Draw said: “The theme of The Big Draw Festival 2016 invites event organisers to look at the intersection between arts, science, digital technology and enterprise, and represents our support of the campaign to give the arts parity with other subjects so that STEM becomes STEAM.”

Watch world renowned Physicist, Sir Roger Penrose, Patron of The Big Draw, use drawing to communicate scientific and mathematical concepts:

The announcement also launched an open competition for illustrators, designers and drawing enthusiasts to visually represent how Art sits alongside STEM subjects, to create STEAM. Entrants are urged to consider how the universal language of drawing shapes the world around them and how artistic and creative thinking is essential to diverse industries. For example, how a Physicist may use drawings to communicate scientific and mathematical concepts, how buildings come into being through an Architect’s sketches, or how an engineer might visualize new innovations.

To find our more about The STEAM Powered Big Draw Festival 2016 or to enter the competition, visit