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Engage International Conference 2017

Delegate Soapbox

The ever-popular Soapbox returned in 2017, giving delegates the opportunity to hear from colleagues about their current projects and interests across a series of short presentations.

Richie Cumming, Outreach Officer, National Galleries of Scotland
Art of the Future
Click here to download Richie's presentation (PowerPoint)

Susannah Thorne, Bella Program Coordinator, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Art is for Everyone

Art is for Everyone’ celebrates a recently installed banner outside the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA). Proudly displayed inside the Museum’s National Centre for Creative Learning, Sydney artist Katy Plummer has created a commissioned artwork embedded with the same statement. This marks a significant moment in the Museum’s history, a time where access and inclusion is firmly enshrined within the fabric of our building, inside and out.


Over the past five years MCA has undergone a significant cultural shift. My presentation explores how the Museum has evolved from a place where people with disability are welcomed predominantly through one program stream, to a more accessible and inclusive space where art truly is for everyone.

Read the rest of Susannah's presentation here, and watch below for an interview where Ben Dominish, an MCA visitor and Bella programme participant, interviews MCA Director, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor.



You can learn more about the Bella Plus programme by clicking here.

Ruth Lewis-Jones, Learning Officer (Galleries), Nottingham Lakeside Arts, University of Nottingham
Social Action through Art
Click here to download Ruth's presentation (PDF)

Matilde Martinetti, Interpretation Assistant, Old Royal Naval College
Joanna Wood, member of the Access Advisory Panel
Revealing the Painted Hall

Click here to download Matilde's presentation (PDF)

India Harvey, Artist educator and playworker, Freelance
Slime & Other Spectrums of Sensory Child Culture

Roshni Hirani, Endeavour Community Participation Producer, National Maritime Museum
Sailor Stories, a National Maritime Museum co-curation project with Southend Museum

"The National Maritime Museum are being loaned five objects from the London wreck to go on display in the one of the four new galleries in the new Exploration Wing; the Tudor and Stuarts Seafarers Gallery opening in September 2018.

HMS London was a warship that accidentally blew up and sunk in the Themes Estuary in 1665. According to Samuel Pepys who writes about this tragic happening in his diary, 300 of her crew were killed and 24 men and one woman were blown clear and survived the disaster. The wreck was rediscovered in 2005 and an underwater rescue excavation mounted during the summer of 2014 by English Heritage. It remains a mystery how the London managed to blow itself up without firing a shot at the enemy off Southend.

We were aware of the importance of the London to the Southend community and from the outset, wanted to work with them to help us explore, select and interpret objects from their ‘local wreck’. Through Southend Museums we approached Southend Adult Community College and invited them to take part in the Sailor Stories co-curation project. We received a fantastic response: 12 adult learners with different skills, abilities and backgrounds, but with a common interest in heritage and the London wreck, signed up to take part. Encouragingly most of the group stayed with us until the end of the project and we were also delighted to later welcome 2 A-Level students interested in history and museums from nearby Chase High School.

Historic England’s involvement in the excavation, temporary storage and conservation of the London finds meant that it was wonderful that the team at Fort Cumberland agreed to come on board as a project partner. A fruitful kick-off meeting there between Southend Museums, Southend Adult Community College, Historic England and the National Maritime Museum laid the foundations for a rich and varied 5-week programme at the following sites over the summer of 2017, comprising of the following:

  • an introduction to museums and the curation of object display at the Mary Rose Museum
  • an introduction to the NMM, the London and a brief overview of 17th-century maritime history at the NMM
  • an introduction to Southend Museum’s store and object storage in Southend
  • conservation of the London objects, initial object handling and pre-selection at Fort Cumberland
  • the final selection for Museum display and object interpretation insight at the NMM

Come along to the National Maritime Museum in September 2018 to see the participants’ final selection of objects on display in the Tudor & Stuarts Seafarers Gallery.

Click here to download Roshni's presentation (PDF)
, and watch a short film below produced by Southend Adult Community College to commemorate their experience taking part in Sailor Stories below.


Rachel Craddock, Young People's Programmer, National Gallery
Click here to download Rachel's presentation
Click here to download Reflections on Canvas(s)
You can also listen an excerpt from the Audio Guide for Canva(s) below

Amanda Rigler, Senior Officer, Artsmark, Arts Council England
Artmark Partnership Programme
Click here to download Amanda's presentation

Jane Trowell, Arts educator and researcher
Victoria, Britannia, Henrietta and other art educators
Click here to download Jane's presentation

Ruth Clarke, Learning Associate: Inclusion, University of Cambridge Museums
Dancing in the Museum

Dancing at the Fitzwilliam Museum from Engage on Vimeo.

"The idea to dance in the museum grew from a simple idea: the conviction that people should be able to dance in beautiful spaces, inspired by their surroundings. Wellbeing can be enhanced through shared cultural experience, dance, self-expression and beauty, so why not dance in a place defined by beauty, the Fitzwilliam Museum?"

Ruth Clarke

Download the Soapbox presentation here

Read a blog post by Ruth about the pilot project here


Katy Culbard, Programme Manager, Nottingham Contemporary
Supporting women with Multiple and Complex Needs

Loudspeaker projects are 10 week creative projects for women with multiple and complex needs. Artist-led sessions for groups of up to 10 women offer opportunities to go to new places, meet new people and talk about ideas and creativity with a dedicated support worker. All barriers to accessing Loudspeaker are removed to ensure we provide a friendly, safe and welcoming place. For most women, being at Nottingham Contemporary is their first experience of contemporary art, and by the end each project, women feel comfortable and empowered by talking about, making and presenting artworks. Loudspeaker projects are part of a three year project called Opportunity and Change, funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund.

Watch our Loudspeaker film to hear what women say about taking part, and to see examples of creative activities. For more information, contact Katy Culbard, Programme Manager at Nottingham Contemporary.



Engage International Conference 2017
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