Make Room

As part of my work with The Engage Extend Leadership programme I will be working with a wonderful group of people on our enquiry…More of that in a moment.

Firstly, a bit about The Extend leadership programme. The programme is led by Engage (National Association for Gallery Education). It is open to people who are working in learning and education roles in the arts, museums and libraries. Extend was developed in response to the under-representation of learning and education staff in leadership within the arts and cultural sectors. I am super excited to be part of this. I don’t normally align myself to anything and prefer to facilitate/coordinate or act as a conduit for others so something that challenges me and encourages me to think about my own practice as a leader is brilliant and terrifying at the same time. Bring it on.

So, my group. I will be working with a great bunch of people. A little bit about them, they are a great mix of experience and understanding.

Judith Liddle. Judith Liddle is an interdisciplinary gallery and education facilitator. Judith co-curates a number of Edinburgh Printmakers core in-house exhibitions, plans and delivers elements of their education and outreach programme, and has responsibilities in project managing their public artworks programme, offsite exhibitions and activities. Having spent most of her professional career working between Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Milan, Judith has previously written a regular column on contemporary art for Benvenuto Magazine, has sat on the managing committee of David Dale Gallery and Studios and has established an art facility in North Lanarkshire for elderly people with additional needs. Judith has worked with Edinburgh Printmakers for four years. She is passionate about print, and how this unique medium continually is re-contextualised within the contemporary field. She is dedicated to facilitating challenging, engaging, and relevant projects, and allowing absolutely everyone to share her energy and passion for contemporary art and printmaking practice.

Bethan Page
Bethan Page is a freelance Creative Project Manager with over 25 years experience of working in the arts in Wales. Previous roles include Senior Commissions Manager for Cywaith Cymru/Safle and Arts Officer for the Arts Council of Wales. Current freelance work includes leading on the Criw Celf project for Oriel Davies, a project for more able and talented Art pupils, and mentoring Aberystwyth Arts Centre’s Learning Team while they establish Criw Celf in Ceredigion. Bethan is a Creative Agent on the ACW Lead Creative Schools Scheme involving working with teachers, pupils and creative practitioners on creative learning projects. She also works with NAWR; the Art and Education Network for Mid and West Wales to identify the training needs of teachers, and to implement bespoke training events. Bethan is a graduate of Brighton University School of Art and is a fluent Welsh speaker.

Daryl Wells
Daryl is a specialist in community arts engagement with over 20 years of experience designing participatory arts programmes.  She has taught and designed curricula in New York, Washington, London and San Francisco.  In 2014 Daryl launched Art Responders (AR), an arts organisation producing art events with a social justice focus. AR has produced two acclaimed art exhibitions and an event series, and has plans to launch its second exhibition in 2018. As a dual citizen of the US and the UK, Daryl permanently returned to the UK in 2017, and currently resides in Southeast London. In summer of 2017, she was invited to join the Engage London Council, and was also selected as a teaching artist with First Site Gallery. Working with excluded students in Northeast Essex, Daryl created a multimedia installation for the gallery’s “Britishness” exhibition. Daryl has also been a youth artist mentor for the Barbican Centre in 2018.

John Whall
Artist, performer, educator and curator with a background in performance, puppetry, animation and 3D design. First degree in BA (Hons) Performing and Media Art, with additional study in Computer Games Modelling and Animation (BA) and Postgraduate in Visual Communication. Currently the Digital Participation Curator at QUAD in Derby, responsible for the development and delivery of QUAD’s participatory programme, creatively engaging people with the arts and contemporary culture through digital media. John is also a board member for the Derwent Valley World Heritage Site Partnership (DVWHSP) Vital Valley project, as well as digital lead for the East Midlands Participatory Arts Forum (EMPAF) and ArtWorks Alliance (AWA).

Our team is called “Make Room”, taken from an article by Kit de Waal. Our focus enquiry centres around Authentic participationThere is a strong belief in the group that a socially democratic approach to leading arts and culture is key to providing meaningful experiences to audiences and creating sustainable participation for cultural spaces. Through this, it is the group aim to generate findings through a participant first approach, where diverse participant voice, needs and aspirations are brought to the forefront of leadership thinking. We aim for the findings of this enquiry to empower leadership to support and guide socially engaged co-production within cultural and community spaces. Nurturing the positive effects of participation: sustainability, social inclusion, wellbeing, empowerment, learning etc. and developing positive sustainable relationships with education and learning in the cultural sector. We hope to discover models of best practice and potentially to identify new ways of working, that will contribute to leaders undertaking and understanding a participant point of view of the arts. 

As we progress, I shall update here about our progress, thoughts and learning…

Exciting future…stay tuned.