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Engage is the lead advocacy and training network for gallery education.

We support arts educators, organisations and artists to work together with communities in dynamic, open exchanges that give everyone the opportunity to learn and benefit from the arts.

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engage International Conference 2016

Conference information

Whose Art? Our Art!
Access and Activism in Gallery Education

The 2016 Engage International Conference
Liverpool Hope University & Venues across Liverpool
13 & 14 October;   Fringe 12, 13 & 15 October

The Engage International Conference 2016 explored how issues of access and activism impact on gallery and visual arts approaches to education and outreach.

Having taken place in Liverpool, a city renowned for its radicalism and creativity, at the time of the Liverpool Biennial, the 2016 Conference programme focused on arts activism – how it has changed not only society’s response to art, but also how it has irrevocably altered the way in which the arts world now engages with society at large.

Conference considered the exciting methods of engagement that have developed from the early days of activism, examples of how intervention achieves its aims and the ways in which the arts can create value in contemporary society. It examined how the arts can effectively engage with schools and asked if the curricula, or styles of interaction needed to change. A discussion about how best to provide sustainable careers for artists brought the two days of interaction and conversation to a close.

Conference explored four key themes:

Arts Activism
What is arts activism in 2016? Would early activists recognise it today? What is it trying to achieve? Can the arts learn from other forms of activism?

Accessible Arts and Social Cohesion 
What does accessible mean? Who decides the arts offer?  How can the arts improve social cohesion? Why do the arts achieve when others fail?

A Re-definition of Education
Who is best placed to define arts education? Where does art stand within education? Can the arts offer a curriculum for life? Inspire or test?

Sustainable Careers
How can young people be supported to achieve sustainable careers in the arts and creative sector?

Local, national and international speakers brought a range of perspectives, engaging delegates in lively discussion and debate through presentations and panel discussions.

Breakout Sessions enabled delegates to focus on aspects of the Conference themes in more detail, through case studies, practice and skill sharing.

Conference Evening Event
Day One closed with a Delegate Soapbox session; networking; and the Marsh Awards for Excellence in Gallery Education.

Delegates also participated in an exciting Fringe programme of visits, tours, talks and satellite events showcasing visual arts and culture in and around Liverpool.

Engage is grateful to its partners, including Liverpool Hope University, LARC, Tate Liverpool and Bluecoat for their support of the 2016 Conference.

Media Partner:

‘Attending Conference was really inspirational, it provided me with the opportunity to reflect on my work and discuss with peers best practice.’
Engage conference delegate

We already have some fantastic speakers lined up - click here to find out who will be there...

Bookings are now open! Click here to book your place at Early Bird rates.


engage International Conference 2016
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