Rights in Focus
A 2-day exchange exploring the politics of engagement

Wednesday 18 & Thursday 19 April, 9.30am – 5.30pm

Autograph ABP

London, UK


Join us for a 2-day exchange, aiming to start a conversation about the models and methods, which could constitute a rights-focused approach to arts participation. We will explore how the incorporation of social justice agendas and the upholding of ‘rights’ can shape, and challenge, the way arts engagement work is designed, produced and delivered.

Bringing together diverse voices from arts, politics and community spaces, the programme of talks and workshops will critically reflect on the ways ‘rights’ inform arts participation and discourse in distinct ways. During the two days, we aim to raise questions and initiate discussion about how a rights-focused approach might:

- Engage those most marginalised, excluded or discriminated against
- Address the power imbalances that create these conditions
- Advocate for structural/ systemic change at personal / community / organisational / societal levels
- Highlight some of the ethical dilemmas of arts engagement work
- Generate interdisplinary learning related to arts participation

Throughout the course of the two days participants will be encouraged to share learning, skills and resources from their own practice.

Lunch on each day is included in the ticket price.

Please note - 10 free spaces are available for artist-educators to attend. Apply with a paragraph about your work, any website details and why you want to attend by 5pm on Tues 27th March, (please only apply if you can attend both days as places are in high demand):


Dr Gavin Grindon, University of Essex
Dr. Gavin Grindon is a lecturer in art history at The University of Essex, where he specialises in activist-art and political curating. He curated Disobedient Objects (V&A, 2014), Cruel Designs (Dismaland, 2015) and the Occupation Museum (Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel, 2017).

Gavin’s research focuses on twentieth century art, specifically activist-art and institutional critique and its futures. He is currently completing a book on the history of activist-art. His interests focus not only on the particular histories of activist-art, but on new theoretical, methodological and curatorial approaches to social movement cultures which research and display with movements as well as on them.

Jess & Matt Turtle, Museum of Homelessness
Matt and Jess are the co-founders of the UK’s first Museum of Homelessness, which is driven by people with lived experience of homelessness. MoH collects and shares the art, history and culture of homelessness to create social change.

As well as developing the Museum of Homelessness, Jess works on the Policy and Programmes team at the Museums Association, is the Chair of Trustees for the Simon Community and also sits on Battersea Arts Centre’s heritage committee. Matt currently works full-time on MoH but has previously worked in programming roles for organisations such as the Design Museum, Crafts Council and the Royal Academy of Arts. They are also visiting tutors at the University of Essex and Kings College, London.

Teresa Cisneros
Teresa Cisneros is a Chicana (Mexican-American) cultural producer. She has worked as a curator, art educator and arts administrator, including at Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts), Tate Modern, 198 Contemporary Arts & Learning, and Nottingham Contemporary as well as with the collective sorryyoufeeluncomfortable. She is currently curatorial fellow at the Showroom gallery.  She co-founded the independent curatorial collective agency for agency in 2015. Cisneros' projects and work explore the politics of identity, history and contemporary art practices.

Tony Cealy
Tony Cealy is drama & theatre practitioner, trainer working intergenerationally with communities at risk. He is the founder member of Noh Budget Films (est. 1991), and since 1993 has won contracts developing drama-based responses to health and wellbeing, mental health, social care, education, substance misuse, housing and regeneration, youth services and community development, and special educational settings across the UK.
Over the last 20 years He has built a strong reputation for innovative and experimental drama and theatre-based projects within the criminal justice system in the UK and across Europe.

His work is often focused on behavioural change, developing pro-social skills, increasing self-esteem and greater self-awareness with people at risk. This includes theatre and digital video projects in prisons as well as production of cross artform projects that span the divide between prison and the wider public.In addition to teaching he often guest lectures at Central School of Speech and Drama, Goldsmiths, Bristol, Leicester and Birmingham Universities. He created the UK’s only weekly forum theatre on the air radio soap opera drama and is currently working pan London delivering training to young people in the use of role play and interactive theatre techniques for creative 'round table' workshops with officers and staff from the Metropolitan Police and local young people around Stop and Search Issues.

Dr Sylvan Baker
Dr. Sylvan Baker is an Applied Arts Practitioner, Researcher and Director with over 30 years experience of using arts practice to work with communities and young people. Since 1990 Sylvan been working across the fields of applied theatre, socially engaged arts
and social justice in a diverse range of contexts and communities and a specific interest in international interventions in sites of conflict and transitional justice.

In 2005 he began working with the arts and social justice research centre, People’s Palace Projects, where he coordinated the UK partnerships projects between Brazilian Social Project AfroReggae and arts organisations from across the UK including the Barbican; Southbank Centre; Theatre Royal Stratford East; Contact, Manchester; The Lawnmowers and The Sage, Gateshead. This work explored the knowledge transfer of artistic practice between AfroReggae, who are based in the improvised favela communities of Rio de Janeiro and artists in the UK. Sylvan was Associate Director of Peoples Palace Projects from 2010-2016 and completed a practice research PhD on his work with AfroReggae in 2014.

He is currently a lecturer in Community Performance and Applied Theatre at Royal Central school of Speech and Drama and has previously taught in the drama departments at Queen Mary, Goldsmith College and Queen’s University of Belfast.

Don Flynn
Don Flynn was previously director of Migrants' Rights Network (MRN), a network of civil society organisations working to support the rights of migrants. He helped found MRN after 30 years' work on migration issues in law centres and as a policy officer at the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants and an immigration caseworker in London. He is past chair of the UK Race and Equality Network (UKREN) and the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM)

Kate Adams, Project Art Works
Kate Adams is a visual artist, co-founder and director of Project Art Works. Project Art Works explores and promotes new practical and philosophical approaches to the meaningful involvement of people who have complex needs in visual art activity that finds its way into mainstream programming and is of exceptional quality in its concept, aesthetic and production.

She has initiated many responsive, collaborative projects with artists, galleries, psychologists, children and adults who have severe neurological impairment and their families. Kate’s experience as a parent activist and the mother of a man with complex needs is central to the organisation’s responsive and informed approach. It requires a high degree of knowledge and sensitivity to the ethical issues arising from the inclusion of people who cannot knowingly consent to their involvement in art and culture.

Aida Silvestri
Born in 1978 in Eritrea, Silvestri lives and works in London. She studied photography at the University of Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea College. In 2013, she was voted one of the British Journal of Photography’s Best of Show Winners at the Free Range exhibition, London. Silvestri’s practice explores new and unique approaches of documentary photography and addresses potent current issues of culture, ethnicity, identity, health and politics. Her work has been shown at The Photographers’ Gallery, Roman Road and Autograph ABP.

Tom Green, Counterpoints Arts
Tom works for Counterpoints Arts, a leading national organisation in the field of arts, migration and social change. The mission of Counterpoints Arts is to support and produce the arts by and about migrants and refugees, seeking to ensure that their contributions are recognized and welcomed within British arts, history and culture. Counterpoints Arts produces events and performances, learning programmes and manages the national Refugee Week and Platforma networks.

Tim Corrigan, Project Art Works
Tim Corrigan is an artist filmmaker and Lead Artist for Project Art Works. He has extensive experience of video production both as a cameraman and editor, both in the arts and across the broadcast media and business sectors. He has worked with children and adults with learning disabilities and with behaviours that challenge for 20 years and has delivered and led workshops and programmes for Project Art Works since 1998.

Ingrid Guyon
Ingrid Guyon is a photographer, filmmaker and participatory visual media practitioner passionate advocate of a better world through community engagement and self-representation.  As the founding and Executive Director of Fotosynthesis, a social enterprise that specialises in participatory photography, and trained by PhotoVoice and InsightShare, she has 10 years experience in implementing participatory media projects in London and internationally within the education, museums and development sectors. Recently, she has been using photography and filmmaking as tools for peacebuilding and reconciliation and make visible the untold stories of the Colombian conflict but also of the resilience of the Colombians women in Colombia and in the diaspora.

Rachel Anderson
Rachel Anderson is an artist and producer based in UK. She and Cis O'Boyle are the co-founders and caretakers of idle women a small artist led organisation that works specifically with women. Since launching in 2015 they have designed and built a canal boat with women in refuge to serve as a resource and residential space for women which they then toured across the North East. In 2016 they were awarded the Ambition for Excellence award in partnership with Heart of Glass and Anu productions for a new phase of work in which they will deconstruct a building in St Helens with local women transforming it into a permanent women's resource centre. They are currently working on plans for a major new land project.

Rachel spent eight years at Artangel as Producer, Collaborative Projects where she developed site-specific works with artists in collaboration with a broad range of communities. Projects include Did you kick the foot that kicked you? By Ruth Ewan which involved the co-ordination of a hundred musicians along the City of London commuter routes, The Museum of Non Participation by Noor Afshan Mirza and Brad Butler who worked with collaborators in London and in Karachi and included the production of an English/Urdu newspaper with the Daily Jang Broadsheet distributed to 60,000 European readers and a tender subject by Mark Storor who worked with gay prisoners and prison officers across the UK to develop a live devised performance in a dis-used cold storage unit below Smithfield meat market. 

Rachel was previously Education and Outreach Manager at the South London Gallery. Before this she managed the Queensbridge Youth Project in Hackney.

Bertha Foundation
Bertha Foundation fights for a more just world. We support activists, storytellers and lawyers who are working to bring about social and economic justice and human rights for all by:

- Resourcing grassroots organizing to build stronger movements for transformative social change. Currently developing physical spaces for activist retreats on every continent
- Nurturing global talent, exposing relevant stories and connecting them to audiences
- Growing the practice of human rights and movement lawyering in pursuit of social justice

Chloe Osborne, ‘Headspace’ Exchange

We have commissioned participatory artist and creative producer Chloe Osborne to transform our studio into a ‘headspace’ during the event. We encourage attendees to participate in informal sessions and respond to other prompts so that we can pool together reflections, ideas, knowledge and experience of methods and models of rights focused approaches. Our aim is to gather this wide range of learning and produce a shared resource, to support the work of practitioners interested in rights-focused approaches.

Chloe Osborne is an artist, agitator and creative producer who makes work designed to engage the public in issues that are important for social change. Inspired by service design thinking, she works collaboratively with artists, organisations and institutions to design creative projects and arts experiences in the public realm.

A member of the Change Collective, her work has been commissioned by People United, Hull City of Culture, Barbican and Heritage Lottery Fund over the last two years-  building a body of work which falls under the title ‘Radical Acts of Resistance’ and seeks to explore how public interventions can both provide insight and incite action. She is currently collaborating with Aswarm, Bureau of Silly Ideas, Coda Dance, Immersive Me & a network of Brixton based Community Groups to make work for 2018-21.

Event Curators

This event is curated by Autograph ABP

Lucy Keany, Public Programme Manager (Events and Projects)
Lucy is a visual arts public programmer interested in exploring how the politics of social justice and human rights can be applied to the arts and working with audiences/participants. Since completing her MFA at Edinburgh College of Art (2008) Lucy has undertaken programming roles within a variety of visual arts organisations including Edinburgh Art Festival, Street Level Photoworks and Autograph ABP since 2014.

Ali Eisa, Public Programme Manager (Education)
Ali is an artist managing the learning programme and facilitating workshops for Autograph ABP since 2015. His background includes social circus, community arts and youth work with organisations including Albert & Friends Instant Circus and Hounslow Action on Youth. Ali exhibits nationally and internationally, as part of collaborative project Lloyd Corporation. He studied at Goldsmiths, University of London and graduated with BA Fine Art (2010) and MA Visual Sociology (2014).

Lunch by Mazí Mas

Lunch by Mazí Mas
Included in ticket price

‘Mazí mas’ means ‘with us’ in Greek, and is a social-enterprise providing employment and training for long-term unemployed women from migrant communities. Their food reflects London: vibrant, full of flavour, and steeped in rich cultural traditions. Mazi Mas was named one of Britain’s 50 New Radicals by Nesta and The Observer in 2014.


Day 1

Khoresht-e bademjan – Persian split pea and aubergine stew with saffron, orange and rose, served with jewelled saffron rice, salad and pickles (vegan)
Loz – Persian almond, saffron and rose sweet

Day 2

Chifrijo – Costa Rican rice and red beans topped with avocado, chimichurri and leaves (vegan)
Lemon and orange almond polenta cake


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