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Dialogues Towards Change

Throughout 2019 and 2020, CVAN South East and its participating partners delivered a series of three consultative seminars across the CVAN South East region to explore themes of equality, rights and representation in the visual arts.

The three Dialogues championed positive change in the visual arts ecology by showcasing best practice and informing the development of a new phase in our activity regarding audiences, the workforce, decision-makers, and the representation of artists.  The Dialogues took place across the South East region in the following way:

  • Dialogues Towards Change: Artist Placemaking, Phoenix Art Space, Brighton, Saturday 9th November 2019
  • Dialogues Towards Change: Inclusive Practice, MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, Wednesday 20th November 2019
  • Dialogues Towards Change: Participative Institutions, Modern Art Oxford, Monday 17th February 2020

©Dialogues Towards Change, Miles Umney

Artist Placemaking

This first of three Dialogues examined how creative places such as Brighton can be shaped by a more diverse artist community, making reference to this city as a case study to provoke wider discussion. The event explored artists’ agency and representation in the cultural community; its challenges, and the opportunities for the right to freedom of artistic expression and creation to be fulfilled.  Thank you to our panel, participants and attendees at the Artist Placemaking Dialogue event:

Tony Heaton (Chair) – Artist and Chair of Shape Arts, Jo Offer – Artist, Rocket Artists, Brighton, Louella Forrest – Artist, Rocket Artists, Brighton, Desmond Lake – Artist, Rocket Artists, Brighton, Kate Davey – Step Up Coordinator, Outside In, Brighton, Jackie Bennett – Artist, Member of Outside In, Jamila Prowse – Writer and Curator, Alli Beddoes – Artistic Director and CEO of Lighthouse, Brighton, Liz Whitehead – Director, Fabrica, Brighton, Oliver Sumner – Manager, CVAN South East.

Film by Platform Alumni Artist Nadia Perrotta.

Inclusive Practice

For this Dialogues seminar, CVAN South East partnered with Project Art Works as part of the EXPLORERS Conference, putting neurodivergent artists and makers at the centre of the conversation. This was an inclusive and progressive event examining rights, institutional empathy and how to support and nurture more diverse practice in contemporary visual art.

Speakers for this event included:

Dominique De-Light (Chair) – Consultant, Ella Ritchie – Director, Intoart, London, Dr Peter Baker – University of Kent, Kate Adams MBE – Artist Director and CEO, Project Art Works, Hastings, Shoair, Mavlian – Director, Photoworks, Brighton, Bethany Mitchell – Curator of Inclusion, MK Gallery, Liz Whitehead – Director, Fabrica, Brighton,Oliver Sumner – Manager, CVAN South East.

Thank you to everyone who contributed and participated at this event.

Film by Platform Alumni Artist Nadia Perrotta.

You can find out more about these first two Dialogues Towards Change events here.

Participative Institutions

This final Dialogues seminar investigated the participatory models for cultural institutions and the leadership role they might play as agencies for change. The event looked at how organisations can extend their relevance to a wider section of society, remove barriers to participation and shift hierarchical or exclusive cultures. Contributors examined the influence of institutions to challenge conventional thinking; as well as the many external pressures which prevail on institutional working. It is organised by CVAN South East in partnership with Modern Art Oxford.

Speakers for this event included:

Lara Ratnaraja (Chair) – Cultural Consultant, Ali Eisa – Public Programme Manager (Education), Autograph, Farhana Ghaffar – Independent Researcher, Kate Adams MBE – Artist Director and CEO, Project Art Works, Hastings, Paul Hobson – Director, Modern Art Oxford, Richard Hunt – Artist, Shadowlight Artists, Oxford, Richard Duriez – Adult Training, Film Oxford, Oliver Sumner – Manager, CVAN South East

Platform Alumni artist Fay Turner attended the event, you can read Fay’s blog on the event here.

Film by Platform Alumni Artist Nadia Perrotta.

During the course of the events CVAN South East consulted with a wide constituency of artists, organisations and other individuals, gathering ideas and suggestions which will inform our future programme development. The process highlighted areas of need for us to focus on for artists, the wider visual arts workforce, organisations and boards of governance in the South East.

Dialogues Towards Change was funded by Arts Council England who made the programme possible, thank you to all speakers and participants you took part.

Header Image© Dialogues Towards Change: Participative Institutions, Modern Art Oxford, Monday 17th February 2020, Image by Miles Umney


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