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Rights And Arts Engagement

Explore how social justice agendas can inform the challenges, practice and discourse of arts engagement. Autograph’s Rights in Focus Network meets quarterly to discuss the structural powers shaping the context in which arts engagement work is taking place, and consider how approaches based on the legal, civic, and human rights of participants can inform more ethically aware forms of participatory projects - and help initiate systemic change.  Please join us for an afternoon of talks, discussion, practice sharing and networking. Our guest speaker will be Tony Cealy.




How can the rights of participants be central to the design and delivery of arts engagement? Why do we work with those most marginalised, excluded or discriminated against? What ethical dilemmas and power dynamics of arts engagement emerge in these relationships? Can this work advocate for systemic change at personal, community, organisational and societal levels?


This event is aimed at arts professionals, socially engaged artists, curators, arts commissioners, facilitators creating workshops in arts and community spaces, artist educators, and those working in community settings - regardless of what stage in your career or practice you are at. You'll be encouraged to share learning, skills and resources from you own practice. We welcome newcomers to the Network.



11:30 – 11:45 Welcome and introductions 

11:45 – 13:05 Guest Speaker Tony Cealy

13:05 – 13:50 Lunch (included in ticket price)

13:50 – 4pm Practice sharing by two network speakers: Alexandra Mckenzie and Mai Omer. Followed by a group discussion and feedback 

4 – 4:30pm Feedback and sharing of references and resources 

4:30 – 5pm Drinks and networking



• Rights, social justice and activism in arts engagement

• Institutional and social power structures, which create conditions of privilege and marginalisation

• Coalitions and partnerships as a force for social change

• Community campaigns achieving a scale of change in their work

• The politics of representation and engagement

• How a rights-focussed approach can address power imbalances in the relationships between participants and arts engagement practitioners

• Creating access for the most marginalised

• Ethics and instrumentalisation

• Building non-transactional relationships with participants

• Radical approaches, methods, and pedagogy for engagement



Everyone is welcome at Autograph. Our building Rivington Place is an accessible space with a step-free entrance at street level, and a lift to all floors. Unisex, accessible toilets are located on all floors. Download our Accessibility Guide for detailed access information about our venue and transport We are happy to help. If you would like to discuss your visit, or have any questions, please contact us at or 020 7749 9200


Supported using public funding by Arts Council England. Also supported by The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. This network event is organised by Autograph and Will Essilfie.


Event starts
Saturday 7 September, 2019
Event Ends
Saturday 7 September, 2019
Venue Address
Rivington Place, London EC2A 3BA

East England, , London

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