News & Views

You can browse the latest news and views from ArtWorks Alliance here. Why not also sign up to our newsletter?



Holding the Space

Date: March 2019 | Posted by: Mary

Adrian Sinclair from partner Heads Together Productions looks at the ‘why, what, how and who for' of training pathways for those wanting to pursue a career as participatory artists and reflects on the power of coaching in the UNION programme.

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How participation won, and why it matters

Date: February 2019 | Posted by: Mary

Kathryn Deane, visiting Professor at York St John University in the International Centre for Community Music, reviews François Matarasso's A Restless Art.

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A question of capacity

Date: January 2019 | Posted by: Mary

John Whall from Derby QUAD is the ArtWorks Alliance digital participation champion. Here he explores issues around mental capacity and creative work by participants in an edited version of a blog from DigitalpARTicipationis…No-one wants to participate in participation designed by somebody else following a Soap Box presentation at the 2018 Engage international conference A Social Prescription.

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A more collaborative creative economy

Date: December 2018 | Posted by: Mary

Catherine Rogers, from Alliance partner Creative Leicestershire, continues her blog about a recent British Council funded partnership development visit to Brazil.

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Crisis - Place & People

Date: November 2018 | Posted by: Mary

Catherine Rogers, Alliance partner Creative Leicestershire Manager and also Junction Arts Chair and Advantage Creative Associate, writes about her first day on a recent British Council funded partnership development visit to Brazil.

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Becoming trauma informed is a journey

Date: October 2018 | Posted by: Mary

Our ‘blog swap’ arrangement with the US Bartol Foundation starts with their interview with the artist Mindy A. Early about trauma informed practice.

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Artist as's time to speak out

Date: September 2018 | Posted by: Mary

Rhian Hutchings, Partnership Manager at ArtWorks Cymru, shares key provocations and practices from the Fourth International Teaching Artist Conference (ITAC4) held recently in New York City.

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Turning up the heat

Date: July 2018 | Posted by: Mary

Catherine Rogers from ArtWorks Alliance partner Creative Leicestershire, and a member of the Alliance’s leadership group, reflects on two hot days for weather and ideas.

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‘In your opinion, what is the ideal complexion for a cow?’

Date: June 2018 | Posted by: Mary

Prompted by re-reading Padgett Powell’s ‘The Interrogative Mood’ and attending a recent European Academy of Participation course, Adrian Sinclair, Chapel FM Centre Director for Heads Together Productions, takes a questioning approach to what he’s doing in participatory arts...

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Bright and shiny, or sustained engagement?

Date: May 2018 | Posted by: Mary

Briar Monro, Arts Practice Director, Community and Youth at Creative New Zealand reflects on participatory arts in Aotearoa/New Zealand and the UK – and looks ahead to a slow spiral of development that honours the process and shared intentions of the work itself.

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Let’s hear it for cultural democracy…

Date: April 2018 | Posted by: Mary

Adrian Sinclair from ArtWorks Alliance partner Heads Together Productions shares some thoughts from the Cultural Democracy: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow symposium held on 5 April 2018.

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If culture is digital, what’s digital participation?

Date: March 2018 | Posted by: Mary

Derby QUAD’s John Whall, our ArtWorks Alliance digital participation activity group champion, takes a look at what the DCMS Culture is Digital and Nesta Digital Culture 2017 reports have to offer (or not…) for participatory arts.

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Prepositions and propositions...

Date: February 2018 | Posted by: Mary

Prepositions may be small words, but they tell big stories…

Alliance secretariat Mary Schwarz reflects on the recent desire expressed by Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England, for greater ‘access to what the arts have to offer’ alongside Charles Leadbeater’s call for ‘the art of with’… and wonders whether it’s actually the little boy who said he felt ‘A puppet show in my stomach’ who’s on to something truly radical.

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Owning the L word...

Date: January 2018 | Posted by: Mary

Extend cultural leadership programme evaluator Mary Schwarz shares some reflections on why people working in education and learning roles make such great leaders…and how leadership can be practised in all sorts of ways and by all sorts of people – not just ‘the boss’. 

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‘Solopreneurship’, sustainability and system change

Date: December 2017 | Posted by: Mary

Following her work as Paul Hamlyn Foundation ArtWorks initiative Project Director and Advisor (2010-17), Susanne Burns was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to visit the USA and Australia, exploring solutions to support artists working in participatory settings. She reflects on her enquiry, learning through different lenses and where synthesis leads...

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Dandelions and dissent

Date: November 2017 | Posted by: Mary

Newsletter subscriber Stephen Pritchard reviews Culture, Democracy and the Right to Make Art: The British Community Arts Movement edited by Alison Jeffers and Gerri Moriarty.

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Confidently selling our value

Date: October 2017 | Posted by: Mary

In her last blog as Alliance Consultant Director, Kathryn Deane tackles market issues...

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Then and now, beauty and use...

Date: September 2017 | Posted by: Mary

Participatory arts: what’s it for? Prompted by the recent death of community play pioneer Ann Jellicoe, Kathryn Deane revisits practice purposes... 

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Feel the width

Date: August 2017 | Posted by: Mary

We’ve spent a lot of time over the past decade in ArtWorks and ArtWorks Alliance on the quality of our participatory arts. It’s time we looked at how much of it we do, says Kathryn Deane.

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Doing participatory arts better

Date: July 2017 | Posted by: Mary

Alliance Communications Manager Mary Schwarz explores what the participatory arts sector can learn from a book about individual altruism...

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Meaningfully digital, properly participatory

Date: June 2017 | Posted by: Mary


Kathryn Deane, ArtWorks Alliance Consultant Director, is not a techno-Luddite but does want to reclaim what’s participatory when we talk digital...

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Strategic means...

Date: May 2017 | Posted by: Mary

partner logo

What does ArtWorks Alliance as a strategic UK-wide network actually do?

Kathryn Deane shares her take on what strategic means… and the strategic means by which we support more and better participatory arts. 

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Because we're worth more

Date: April 2017 | Posted by: Mary

Why is participatory arts better than the aerospace industry? Because it’s worth more – however you measure it.

Kathryn Deane reflects on how the power of participatory arts to make change is describable in so many ways...

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Making connections, solving problems

Date: March 2017 | Posted by: Mary

A call to action

The initial ArtWorks Paul Hamlyn Foundation special initiative finished with A Call to Action to work collectively to strengthen practice in participatory settings.

This month ArtWorks Alliance Consultant Director Kathryn Deane has been out and about doing just that...

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What's in it for me?

Date: February 2017 | Posted by: Mary

ArtWorks Alliance members have mantras: 'We only do what only we can do.' 'It’s not what we take, it’s what we bring.' True – but worthy: be honest, you want to know WIIFM?

Kathryn Deane, Consultant Director, shares what members are saying about the real rewards...

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Quality: getting better at what you do

Date: January 2017 | Posted by: Mary

ArtWorks Alliance is committed to improving the quality of participatory arts. How are members going about doing that? From Kathryn Deane...

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What’s the point? Kathryn Deane is exploring culture value

Date: November 2016 | Posted by: chris

Why do we do participatory arts? Let’s not try an answer here: it’s all in the fascinating report of the three-year Arts & Humanities Research Council Cultural Value Project.

What the report highlights is that wishing for benefits from participatory arts isn’t enough: the evidence is often unconvincing and approaches are not sufficiently rigorous. On the other hand, we’re overlooking some areas where real benefits are to be found. Part of the problem lies in our tendency to confuse evidence with short-term advocacy.

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Older people's dance activities - first UK survey published

Date: November 2016 | Posted by: chris

A new research report into current practice in older people's dance, published by ArtWorks Alliance member People Dancing and co-commissioned by Aesop, was launched at the House of Lords on 7 November 2016.

This new research report provides a snapshot of current practice in older people’s dance.

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Quality frameworks launched

Date: October 2016 | Posted by: admin

Frameworks for the quality of participatory arts have recently been launched by ArtWorks Alliance members ArtWorks Cymru and Creative Scotland.

Quality frameworks are developing in different ways to serve different purposes. That is the main finding from an ArtWorks Alliance action group which is exploring the development and use of generalist frameworks across the participatory arts sector.

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New leader for participatory arts

Date: September 2016 | Posted by: admin

ArtWorks Alliance has announced that Kathryn Deane is to be its new Consultant Director.

The head of the development agency for community music is to become the leader of ArtWorks Alliance for the period up to July 2017.

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