Groundswell – Engage Hybrid Gathering 2024

Groundswell will be a two-day hybrid event aimed at people at all stages of their career in visual arts engagement. Our theme for this event is ‘local practice leading global change’. The programme of presentations, panel discussions, and workshops will explore radical, hyper-local and community-focused engagement practices.

We will explore successes and challenges of addressing systemic inequalities and global issues, such as climate change and of operating within and beyond government agendas and funding.

What is a Gathering?

Engage hosts annual gatherings, or conferences, to bring together colleagues across the UK and create opportunities to develop practice, share learning, network and discuss the challenges and opportunities we are facing. Each gathering is different, Groundswell is our first in-person since 2019, and our first ever hybrid! You can expect lots discussion, some inspiring talks and presentations from a diverse range of perspectives, and opportunities to hear about exciting projects and programmes. In addition to the main programme, we will also have ‘fringe’ activities in the local area, and break out sessions delivered by members across the country and internationally.

Why Groundswell?

In the UK, and globally, we are living through a time of significant change, whether that’s through the pandemic, cost of living, global conflict, the climate crisis, or the impact of systemic inequalities, there is a growing drive for radical, transformative practices that will create lasting positive change on these issues. The 2024 gathering title and theme acknowledges that there has been a shift in attitude in society, an altered public landscape, an emerging need for new types of leadership, and a renewed valuing of creative engagement practices in galvanising these.

Why Plymouth?

We will come together in Plymouth to consider what this change might lead to, recognising that community and hyper-local arts practices are already delivering high impact activity that addresses global issues. Plymouth has been the focus of governmental initiatives which leverage resources for regeneration. These have seeded exciting, meaningful opportunities. However, it could be argued that it is community led activities in that are leading to lasting change. Take A Part are one of the cultural organisations pioneering this change. In 2023-2024, Engage, Take A Part and grassroots practitioners working with children and young people in the South West have collaborated on ‘Art Encounters’. Groundswell will explore what has been learnt through this professional development programme which shines a light on exemplary engagement practice.

Who is Groundswell for?

Whether you are a student, academic, gallery educator, policy maker, artist, architect, social worker, teacher or arts producer, we invite you to join the conversation in May at Groundswell. Members and non-members are welcome. You can find out more about Engage membership here – to access the best discounts for events like Groundswell.

Book your tickets:

Engage is supported by Arts Council England, Arts Council of Wales and Creative Scotland:  


We thank our Groundswell partners and contributors for their ongoing support: