ArtWorks Alliance members meet regularly in a Forum.

Our last Zoom Forum was on 18 September 2020 when we shared how everyone was ‘getting on with it’ in terms of their current work; identified ‘nations and regions’ advocacy actions in the UK-wide context, following up on the recent meeting with Arts Council England (see News & Views); and pitched ideas for the wider networking and deeper knowledge exchange Gathering event on 8 October 2020. This was facilitated by Mortal Fools and we had a really productive afternoon sharing ideas, inspirations and resources with plenty of people experiencing that Alliance ‘magic moment’ when you’re ‘instantly networked to a rich vein of knowledge’.

At the previous Forum in July, facilitated by Åsa Malmsten from Sound Sense, we were delighted to have a presentation and Q&A session from Kate Fellows, Head of Learning and Access at Leeds Museums and Galleries, about the work of the four task and finish groups on education and learning for the cultural sector which Clore Learning Spaces has been supporting with input from GEM, Engage and a number of performing arts networks/organisations to help colleagues plan for education, learning and participation work, as lockdown relaxes. In addition, members enjoyed networking and discussed plans for sector advocacy.

The Forum meeting back in June, the first with our new membership model, was hosted and chaired by John Whall. There was a special focus on digital participation with plenty of discussion about the impact of Covid-19 on the participatory arts sector and the support and championing that ArtWorks Alliance provides.

And the previous (‘in person’) Forum meeting in the old partnership model was held in September 2019 in Leeds, hosted and chaired by Heads Together Productions. Partners held a pre-Forum conference call about participatory arts with Alison Clark, Director of Combined Arts at Arts Council England, shaped the then upcoming January 2020 Gathering for Partners and Associates, discussed the Alliance’s Development Plan and planned the next stages for the ArtWorks Fellowship.

Forum meetings are great opportunities for general information and knowledge exchange as well as focusing on specific topics that members want to discuss and action. Everyone always leaves a Forum with at least one new idea or contact to follow up – and often, several!

 ‘It’s fantastic having your work contextualised, feeling you’re not on your own but part of something where there is a shared level understanding. This really supports being able to move things on. And it’s so great being collaborative rather than transactional.’

Check out how you can Join in.

Contact Mary Schwarz, Secretariat at for more information.





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Culture, Democracy and the Right to Make Art: The British Community Arts Movement

The story of the UK community arts movement.

Author: edited by Alison Jeffers and Gerri Moriarty

A Restless Art

A book about participatory art and its more radical predecessor, community art.

Author: François Matarasso