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engage International Conference 2014


Sponsored by the Tessitura Network

Venues across Leeds 10 & 11 November
Fringe events across Yorkshire 10, 11 & 12 November

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Disruptive Influences? on Twitter
Disruptive Influences? on Storify
Disruptive Influences? Programme Outline

The 2014 engage International Conference explored the broad and inspiring theme of innovation in the context of education and learning in galleries, museums and the visual arts.

The programme considered gallery education and examined where practice has been innovative in the past, in the present, and how it can continue to innovate in the future. There was a focus on the potential of digital technologies to encourage new ways of engaging with art and ideas, and discussion about the importance of innovation, provocation and disruption in learning and education across different art forms. 

Delegates heard key opinionmakers and researchers’ views on what the sector could expect in the near future. In engage’s 25th anniversary year, delegates and speakers created a manifesto of the moment – a snapshot of current practice and ideas for the innovative future of gallery education. Some of the most exciting thinkers and doers from within the sector and beyond shared their ideas and experiences and got everyone talking. Sessions explored:

Innovation & collaboration: The value of working together to imagine new ways of enabling

Innovation & the digital age: Ways in which social media, mobile and digital technologies continue to influence our experiences, and why arts organisations need to be part of this change.

Innovation & gallery education: A lively discussion investigating why some of the best gallery education is disruptive and innovative.

Engaging breakout sessions hosted by venues across the city introduced delegates to new tools and skills, such as intriguing apps for galleries, gif animation, fresh approaches to evaluation, and designing diagrams to communicate stories of innovation.

Contirbutors included:

Tamsin Omond, climate change activist and founder of The Future, who discussed the importance of collaboration in thinking and acting in new ways, as though the world were different.

Bill Drummond's art and actions range from the music of multi million selling KLF to the choir of The17. He joined the final panel session at conference exploring the near future of art and innovation.

Ben Eaton, digital artist and member of Leeds-based Invisible Flock supported all delegates to crowd-source a snapshot of current thinking in gallery education.

Claire Antrobus from Work Better consultancy and Rebecca Sinker, Curator: Digital Learning, Tate Britain and Tate Modern  joined our group of Chairs.

Paula Le Dieu
is a Digital Director and Consultant, and was previously Digital Director at Mozilla Foundation and Director of Digital BFI at the British Film Institute. Paula joined Rob Ashelford, who develops NESTA’s Digital R&D Fund for the arts in Wales, to look just over the horizon, and considered what we should be planning for and getting excited about the future.

Rohan Gunatillake is a producer exploring how the arts can do more interesting things with digital tools and digital thinking. He is the co-producer of Sync, the progressive innovation programme for the arts in Scotland. Rohan spoke about ways of collaborating and dealing with a sense of the unknown.

Alex Fleetwood, creative director and founder of Hide&Seek proposed ways in which galleries can collaborate with digital makers to disrupt and re-imagine how we experience art.

Sarah Ellis, Digital Producer at Royal Shakespeare Company examined how audiences and participation can completely change when a performance unfolds across social media.

Sarah Bailey, Acting Head of Engagement, FACT, discussed how collaboration is essential for innovation and is at the heart of FACT’s approach to engagement.

Matt Locke, Director of Storythings, explored the potential of digital technologies and storytelling to think about art in new ways.

Amanda Philips, Learning and Access Officer, Leeds Art Gallery talked with artists Kate Genever and Steve Pool about art, education and subversion.

Kate and Steve led a session on designing diagrams that capture innovative ideas and practice. Lynn Froggett, Research Professor, Universities of Central Lancashire and Stavanger, Norway, introduced delegates to the Visual Matrix, a new approach to evaluation. Nick Ellwood, co-founder and Creative Director, Breakfast Creatives, and Wieke Eringa, CEO & Artistic Director, Yorkshire Dance ran a workshop about respond_, a digital adaption of Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process. Tom Goddard, Learning and Participation Officer, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery showed delagates how to produce an animated gif. Rohan Gunatillake ran a session on how to convince your executive to do something truly innovative.

Keeping the discussion lively and ensuring everyone got a chance to contribute, Conference Chairs included Rob Greig, Chief Technology Officer, Royal Opera House and Lisa Edgar, Head of Education, ffotogallery.













The 2014 engage Conference was sponsored by:


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    Company number: 4194208
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