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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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Theme and programme

Summer School 2015 focussed on the value, benefit, challenges and opportunities of artists working within education, learning and participatory practice, either as or alongside education colleagues.

Northern Ireland has a distinguished history of artists and artist educators working in education and participatory practice, and of visual arts organisations, funders and partners proactively supporting this work. Starting with an introduction from colleagues at Belfast arts organisations including artists, engage Summer School 2015 delegates explored what can be learnt from practice in Northern Ireland, and each other. engage invited participants at Summer School to reflect on the research and practice in the UK and internationally which nurtures the best of artists’ and artist educators’ practice, looking at issues such as:

 - What is distinctive about the role of artists and artist educators within gallery education, learning and participatory practice? What do artists bring which is unique to this area of work? Do you have any illuminating examples of practice, case studies or research to share?

 - How can artists, artist educators and arts organisations record and disseminate work, which is often ephemeral? What evaluation methodologies are appropriate?

 - How can artists be supported to work within education, learning and participatory practice? What are the challenges for artists, educators and visual arts organisations of working in partnership?
- What can visual arts organisations learn from artists and artist educators?

 - What can larger arts organisations learn from artist-run spaces and alternative arts education systems? Can artists or grassroots community practice result in experimentation and risk-taking?

 - What practical or continued professional development (CPD) support do artists and artist educators want and need? How can visual arts organisations, funders and partners provide this?

 - Can visual arts organisations provide fair employment opportunities for freelance artists and artist educators?

 - What opportunities are there for artists and artist educators to progress to leadership roles?

 - What role can artists and artist educators play to support and extend equality and diversity within the arts? What enables artists to successfully engage with diverse communities?

At Summer School, participants were invited to explore these questions as they apply to their individual practice - whether that is as an educator, artist, artist educator, curator, teacher, researcher or administrator etc. Delegates shared ideas and areas of enquiry through case studies, research and practical sessions. Summer School is international, with delegates hailing from right across the UK and beyond - it is a great opportunity to share and critique the latest practice and research internationally, as related to education and learning with galleries, museums, visual arts venues and artists.

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