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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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Day One

Monday 20 March 2017

Presentations and workshops


Claire Cochrane, Engagement Producer, Stills Gallery

Every Woman, Super Woman

In Summer 2016 Young Saheliya, a service providing support for young BME women aged 12-25, took part in a programme of creative activity with Stills Centre for Photography and Edinburgh Art Festival.

Inspired by Jo Spence’s exhibition at Stills Beyond the Selfie was a summer project exploring how photography can disrupt traditional representations of women in print media, television and film using self-portraiture, photographic collage and text.

Ciara Phillips’ Every Woman co-commissioned by Edinburgh art Festival and 14-18 NOW was the fourth in a series of dazzle ship artworks and provided inspiration for Every Woman A Signal Tower, a series of workshops on female empowerment, sexual violence and consent and female representation in the media giving the young women a chance to tell their stories in a world that wants to silence them.

With both the Beyond the Selfie and Every Woman A Signal Tower focusing on women’s rights, female representation in the media and taking inspiration from strong female artists there was a natural connection between the projects and so Every Woman Super Woman was born. As the girls didn’t differentiate between projects, soon neither did we; and Stills and Edinburgh Art Festival brought the two projects together to continue their legacy and build on the relationship we had formed with these inspiring young women.

Stills’ Engagement Producer shared the exchanges that happened within this project along with the benefits of being open to new and ‘organic’ partnerships.



Leanne Alldred, Learning and Engagement Assistant, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

My Exchange

"My contribution will focus on the following: My exchange is with children and young people. My exchange is with schools and colleges. My exchange is with teachers. My exchange is with children and families who have Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. My exchange is with artists. My exchange is with and alongside creative professionals whose goals it is to provide diverse audiences opportunities to engage with and learn from creativity and culture. My exchange is with education. My exchange is with contemporary art. My exchange is with equality and equal opportunities. My exchange is with philosophy of enquiry with a Spiritual Moral Social and Cultural focus. My exchange is with ideas. My exchange is with national initiatives such as The Big Draw. My most important exchange is working in partnership with children, young people, teachers and families of all backgrounds, ethnicities, ages and abilities, providing them access and engagement to arts and culture. Them learning from me, me learning from them – exchange."



Jo Plimmer, Freelance Project Manager; Lisa Jacques, Former Learning Officer, Leicester Arts & Museums Service; Gina Mollett, Artist Educator

Generation ART: Young Artists on Tour: film

Jo Plimmer's Presentation

Lisa Jacques' Presentation

Gina Mollett's Presentation


Christina Bradstreet, Courses and Events Programmer, The National Gallery

Creating innovative art and mindfulness experiences for adult learners

Dr. Christina Bradstreet, Courses and Events Programmer at The National Gallery, London shared her experience of creating innovative art and mindfulness courses and workshops for adult learners. Themes have included immersion in the sensory wonder of Dutch still life paintings, drawing on the Vanitas theme to explore meditations on making the most of life, finding curiosity in the familiar, every day, or things that we dislike, casting aside self-judgement and fears of drawing, and sustaining looking in a crowded gallery. The session included a slow, mindful, guided looking at a painting and discussion of the challenges and opportunities of creating events such as these. Christina invited thoughts on how other institutions might incorporate mindfulness in their own programming.



Henrike Plegge, Gallery Educator, Docent, Researcher, fort-da, Arts Academy Mainz

Illumination desired?

"Making gallery education visible becomes a more and more relevant aspect of gallery education practice and theory. Pivotal in that process is not that gallery education is made visible but how, by whom and with what aims the visibility is formed and created. Visibility is not given, it is produced.


During the last two decades an increasing number of art museums and galleries established, within their institutions, free accessible and visible gallery education spaces like Tate Exchange, in which gallery education is made directly visible for the visiting audiences of the institution. These spaces do not just display what has been invisible before behind closed doors in cellars or top floors. The formation of these spaces yields new forms of gallery education and raises new challenges for the educators.


In my presentation I will provide a view into the development of free accessible and visible gallery education spaces in German galleries of contemporary art. The main application will be on exchange with the other participants about their experiences and perspectives of visible education spaces. Questions that can be addressed are: What has changed in educational practice through the establishment of visible gallery education spaces? Which impacts have the acknowledgement on the one hand and the surveillance/observation on the other hand? How has communication within the institution, how with the audience changed? Has the self-image of gallery education and its role within the institution changed, through these spaces? Where do the niches of gallery education remain?"



Juliana Capes, Artist

Live visual description

Juliana presented a live description of a space in collaboration with my audience. This is based on my experience of giving visually descriptive tours and training and writing Visual Descriptive prose that describes a context for sighted and non sighted audiences.


Liz Conacher, Schools Learning Coordinator, National Galleries Scotland

What's the point of gallery education for schools?

This discussion session invites colleagues to share ideas on the role of galleries in nursery, primary and secondary school education.

With reference to National Galleries Scotland Programme for Schools I will present ideas and invite discussion on the ideal gallery-run programme for schools.

What should 21st Century gallery education look like? What can galleries offer that other education programmes can’t? What problems can we fix? What’s your top priority?

The Scottish curriculum requires young people to develop practical skills in expressive arts, creativity and employability, health and well-being, literacy and numeracy as well as becoming responsible citizens, confident contributors and effective learners.

Should galleries attempt to address all of these? Where are our strengths?
Is it our role to develop artists of the future? Or audiences of the future?

How do we get young people bothered about art?
Who should deliver gallery education? Artists? Teachers? Philosophers? Children?
How do we have an impact? One off visits? Long-term partnerships? And everything in between? What effective delivery models have you used?
How do you know if you’re succeeding?
Can creativity be measured?

Eleni Kostarigka

What's art got to do with it?

In the midst of debates about the impact of the English Bacc on art subjects, the decision of AQA to scrap Art History A-Level and the general shifts in education, this workshop explores how art can be used for non-art school subjects. It will explore topics of GCSE and A-Level Sociology using artworks and arts. It hopes to spark interest, discussion and ideas about similar activities for different subjects. 

Expect to engage in activities that use artworks from TATE Modern, in order to understand aspects of Marxism, feminism, functionalism and social research methods: create your theories-mood board; look at a painting through the eyes of different theorists; interview a portrait; be the portrait; combine different forms of art to explain sociological concepts.

The workshop was based on Eleni’s research on museum learning, her teaching practices and her latest learning activities as a freelance educator. She wished to bring artists, art historians, students and all those interested in galleries together, to exchange ideas that would lead to effective and interesting gallery learning experiences for busy secondary school pupils.



Day Two

Amanda Phillips

An exploratory presentation to share an experience of programme delivery and explore a potential constituent of ‘transformative experience’

We worked hard to make our participants feel at home, but we knew as they did that it was physically a temporary experience. Over time we began to describe participant-homes-in-the-gallery as ‘campsites’. Commonly barring relatively unusual circumstances, a campsite is acknowledged as temporary but if at first it seems strange and uncomfortable, if you have everything you need around you, a sense of the environment in which you are camped, and you are with people that you trust and possibly know reasonably well, it becomes a place from which you wander to and from.

There are times when the boundaries between such homes become blurred and it is these circumstances that provoked us. We bore witness to something taking place, a silent exchange between participants, and between audiences, that was not designed within our workshop or event plans. It seemed that in noticing someone or some others camping-out-as-I-am-doing, something was acknowledged. We are struggling to pin this something down, perhaps it is a form of recognition that validates what is happening as simultaneously personal and collective, as learning, belonging and becoming in shared experience.

This presentation will describe Leeds Art Gallery during British Art Show 8, which filled its entirety physically and psychologically. It will offer initial ideas about audience encounter in galleries, inviting Tate Exchange participants to ‘hive-mind’ to form a collective understanding of what might have taken place.

Joanna Kori

Digi + Art + Educ. What do we get when it’s added together?

Galleries and artists increasingly are expected to provide active, rather than passive, viewing experiences for the public. When using a combination of elements - visual, physical, auditory, written word and spoken - digital interactions can be very useful in this regard.

But can digital interventions distract from concepts? Does this kind of exchange really work for all gallery visitors? How do you design a digital event to integrate with non-digital artwork? And how can associated educational and outreach experiences work simply and affordably with digital media?

Joanna Kori will present a brief comparative analysis of 3 recent art shows featuring different kinds of digital experiences, including total immersive installations; augmented and virtual reality using headsets; Google Cardboard; QR codes; and Minecraft.

She will also bring some examples for the group to interact with their mobiles; ask the group to share their considerations of the questions above; and offer some workable solutions.


Martha Burns-Findlay

Picture Yourself

During this 30 minute workshop you will work alongside other delegates to create a small display which represents your professional persona. In other words you will be tasked to ‘PICTURE YOURSELF’.

· What does your job title really mean?
· How do you explain to people outside the sector what you do?
· How do arts educators speak? What are your buzzwords?
· What toolkit do you use to carry out your job?
· What principles and values are at the core of your profession?

This creative challenge will provide a platform for you to think about these questions and many more in order to creatively reflect on your profession alongside fellow delegates.

Sarah Campbell

The Creative Process of Museum Educators & New Approaches to Museum Learning, Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travelling Fellowship

In September 2016, I visited five cultural organisations in the US to learn more about the creative process of art museum educators and new approaches to learning programming. The trip was made possible thanks to a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travelling Fellowship. Museum and gallery education is a highly creative profession, although our attention is more often on supporting the creativity of others rather than nurturing our own creative process. Through my meetings and interviews with art museum educators, I wanted to draw out how we generate and develop ideas for programmes, and the importance of our contribution. I also wanted to highlight examples of interesting and innovative learning practice that is actively reshaping the discipline and repositioning learning within cultural institutions. Learning staff are well-placed to lead the future of art museums, as the imperative to be audience-focussed, responsive, flexible and adaptable become ever more important.

Jon Lockhart

Sharing - What's Mine is Mine - Get Your Own!

What is it about?

Do you connect? Do you relate? Are you careless with your emotions or do you keep yourself so 'clammed' up it's un un unbelievable?

The fluidity of digital interconnection belies the clotting impasse of human interaction. From neighbours to neighbour states, our paths can cross so infrequently that we rarely relate at all.

Emergencies, Black Swan Events can propel us towards each other like defiant magnets.

How can the corollaries of a digital road map fizz in a concrete world? What do we need to creatively ignite human to human exchange? Exchange is defined as a transaction of equality, yet mainstream education promotes a race to the top for the individual.

How do we use the 'hive mind' to reach a parity in the human exchange, with an emphasis on collectivism versus individualism?

What will we do?
A fun, reflective practical activity using an 'economy of means' approach that uses little equipment but that relies on participation to progress.

Susie Turner 


My contribution is to share my skills and knowledge, as an arts practitioner and educator, with a specialism in fine art printmaking. Over the last thirteen years I have helped raise the profile of print as a medium for learning. In the last nine years I have been exploring the potential of printmaking with photopolymer plates / Solarplate. I would like to give a short talk and demonstration about an engaging and innovative method of contemporary fine art printmaking. Solarplate describes the process of printing from light sensitive plates that have been exposed to sunlight or an artificial source of UV light and then developed in water.

The same plate is also used extensively in the packaging industry. In the late 20th century, artist-printmakers sought to find safer methods of working and experimented with new technology. The surface of the photopolymer plate offered fine detail and a wide tonal range. For the artist it offers versatility in image making whereby hand drawn imagery, photographs and the direct use of found objects, can be transferred into fine art prints. The technique is easy to learn, it inspires curiosity and has proved appealing to a wide audience."

Caroline Moore

Take a Joke

Take a Joke, a project led by Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) Arts and the Foundling Museum, playfully explored the role of laughter and humour in the hospital environment and its potential for improving wellbeing in a Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) ward.

Take a Joke took inspiration from traditional hospital waiting rooms and items in the Foundling Museum Collection. Patients at GOSH and their parents worked over a period of 5 weeks with artist Davina Drummond to experiment with the idea of joke exchange.

Through the process of developing their own medical jokes and writing them onto isolation windows and hospital-like bedding, children and families explored and shared their experiences of BMT treatment and being in isolation, with each other and the staff on the ward.

The project culminated in a temporary display at the Foundling Museum and in the BMT wards and oncology outpatient areas at GOSH, enabling the project to reach out to a wider group of patients, parents, staff and the general public. The work on display fully represents both Drummond’s identity as an artist and the children experiences of participating in the project and is a true case of co-production and exchange.

GOSH Arts is the arts programme at GOSH, our wide-ranging activities are designed to encourage creativity and improve the hospital experience for everyone.

We offer art workshops, creative residencies, music, performances and cultural opportunities for patients, families and staff. We also commission site-specific artworks and curate changing exhibition spaces to improve the hospital environment.

Meghan Goodeve

Feminist groups in the 1970s

Using Etchell’s line ‘the most important exchange is between the past and the future’, I will deliver a short presentation on feminist groups in the 1970s working outside of London. The focus will be showing participants material such as exhibition material, catalogues, and documentary photographs, from Nottingham’s Midland Group, but also some archival material recently found in The Hepworth Wakefield’s exhibition archives. This will be followed by a group discussion (or a number of breakouts), where we will explore what we can learn, if anything, from these past projects that dissolved barriers between politics, pedagogy, and art galleries. Discussions will consider a number of starting points. For example, ‘what role does feminism play in gallery education today?’, ‘what does it mean to work outside of London today?’, and ‘are these ideas relevant to our work now?’

Louise Fraser

Making Matters

I will share a presentation on the recent work I have done with The Fruitmaket Gallery, 'Making Matters’ a school project with the Garcia Family Foundation Schools Programme an exchange of ideas from 8 to 18 years reacting to contemporary art.

Debbie Hillyerd

Participants, Audience and Collaborators: Looking at the communities involved in developing an education programme at Hauser & Wirth Somerset.

Hauser & Wirth Somerset is a pioneering world-class gallery and multi-purpose arts centre, which acts as a destination for experiencing art, architecture and the remarkable Somerset landscape through new and innovative exhibitions of contemporary art. A landscaped garden, designed for the gallery by internationally renowned landscape architect Piet Oudolf, includes a 1.5 acre perennial meadow, which sits behind the gallery buildings.

Centred around a core belief in conservation, education and sustainability, Hauser & Wirth Somerset offers a wide variety of special events including talks, seminars, workshops and screenings, as well as an extensive learning programme for local schools, young people and families. The centre also provides resources including a bookshop and dedicated learning room.

Hauser & Wirth Somerset supports an immersive artist-in-residence programme, encouraging artists to benefit from the idyllic surroundings and to integrate with the local community.

Since opening in July 2014, Hauser & Wirth Somerset has continued to build and work closely with a wide variety of networks from its local community and education institutions through to engaging international curators and patrons of the arts. The gallery has developed a series of artist, specialist and curator-led talks, seminars and events open to schools, colleges, universities and general members of the public.

Developing an education and event programme in a rural location, comprising international art was a new development for Hauser & Wirth, Debbie Hillyerd, Head of Education will share aspects of this journey and talk about her approaches to identifying the need and creating opportunities for the community.

Tara Page

Exchange of ideas between artists and audiences with emphasis on the family

This short presentation will explore the exchange of ideas between artists and audiences with a particular emphasis on the family. How might we enable opportunities for artistic exchange within the family? How might we enable the family as artist? How might we support artists creating work as families? And how might organisations encourage a more fluid exchange between themselves, families and schools to extend and deepen learning experiences?

Natalie Kerr

Natalie is extremely interested in economic growth, development of communities and the notion of place making. Natalie will explore the relationship of exchange between artist, organisation and community. Natalie’s experience has been dependent on the investment of time from people who are committed to cultural change. Previously mentored by the Director of the Library Service at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Natalie has a relationship with the institution which takes inspiration from Artist Placement Group Manifesto. Natalie will share her own experiences and reflect on the various techniques she has adapted in order to deliver high quality public engagement activity.

Be Brave!
Meticulously prepare to play the character.
Be Patient - give it the time it needs to be authentic, invest in it, create that atmosphere you know oh so well.
Stay calm, controlled and truly responsive.

Gaby Lees

Top Trumps Saints

York Art Gallery was awarded the Kids in Museums’ Family Friendly Museum of the Year Award 2016 not least because the curators there do not take issue with their learning colleague adding toys, games and books to their meticulously researched exhibitions. This practical workshop will introduce the concept of Top Trumps cards as an interpretive tool. Explore how the simple, playing card format can convey nuggets of information in an appealing manner and consider how other games may be utilised to do the same.

Why have labels at all when you can say it all with fuzzy felt?

There will be an opportunity to design your own Top Trumps card.

Thomas Williams

Just Between Us - what does failure feel like?

What does failure feel like? How do we know when something hasn’t worked? What do we do with failure, how do we carry it and still carry on? Can we use failure constructively?

These are some of the questions I was thinking about when I made “Just Between Us”, an animated text work resulting from a project I led which aimed to make a connection between g39, an artist led gallery, and The Trinity Centre which works with asylum seekers & refugees, both in Cardiff.

During the session, I will introduce and show the film, which is 10 minutes long, and then lead a general discussion. I am keen to hear others experiences of failure and what they did with them. Can we come up with a redefinition of failure or do we need a more useful term for those of us working in galleries, engagement projects & gallery education?

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