What does it mean to have a rights-focused approach to arts participation? 

Tues 18 July, 9:30am - 1:15pm

The National Gallery

London, UK

Free seminar

Join us for a morning of talks and discussion where we’ll explore diverse rights-focused approaches to arts participation.

Guest speakers will present a range of perspectives and methods, providing insights into how these have applied to specific audience groups they’ve worked with. Speakers will then host a series of open roundtable discussions encouraging an open dialogue and exchange of ideas around the following issues:

• How are rights-focused methods and processes applied in an arts context?
• Why are rights-focused approaches important in the recruitment of participants and community engagement more broadly?
• What participant, institutional and sector-wide changes can take place as a result of incorporating a rights-focused approach?

The notion of ‘rights’ brings into focus the duties institutions have to engage with diverse audiences. Using a rights-focused approach we can pay closer attention to the responsibilities publically- funded arts organisations have to the public, as well as the power relationships that shape and hinder participation. In this way, a rights- focused approach provides a starting point with which to address access issues between audiences and institutions, through utilising agency, advocacy methods and change processes.

This event marks the end of a year- long project called Canvas(s) funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Canvas(s) has explored access to cultural spaces with young people from refugee backgrounds. The project was formed around a diverse group of arts and migrants rights organisations: Autograph ABP, Counterpoints Arts, Migrants Rights Network, Asylum Aid, British Red Cross and the National Gallery. 

The Canvas(s) project is managed by Autograph ABP.


To book tickets, and any questions about the event, please contact:

Rachel Craddock
+44 (0)20 7747 5891



Gail Babb, Producer: Participation and Learning, Talawa Theatre Company and Associate Lecturer on MA applied Theatre at Goldsmiths

Gail Babb is a theatre practitioner who specialises in participatory arts work in a range of community, educational and social settings. She has run Talawa Theatre Company’s Participation Department for 9 years, developing an innovative programme that places an emphasis on bespoke, participant-led projects and has brought Talawa’s work with emerging theatre-makers to the centre of the company.

Alongside her work at Talawa, Gail continues to freelance as a facilitator and producer for a number of arts companies and is Associate Lecturer on the MA in Applied Theatre at Goldsmiths, University of London.


Kate Adams, Director, 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.

Kate Adams is a visual artist, co-founder and director of Project Art Works. 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.


Ali Eisa, Public Programme Coordinator (Education), Autograph ABP

Ali is an artist and educator, who has been working for Autograph ABP since 2015. He coordinates the education programme, producing interactive workshops and events for diverse audience to engage with Autograph’s exhibitions and photographic archive. His background in education includes social circus, youth arts and youth work for various organisations in London including Albert & Friends Instant Circus and Hounslow Action on Youth. Ali is a visual artist who exhibits nationally and internationally, working since 2010 as part of collaborative duo Lloyd Corporation. He studied at Goldsmiths, University of London and graduated with BA Fine Art (2010) and MA Visual Sociology (2014).

Autograph ABP is based in London where it runs a photography gallery and a programme of talks and educational activities. It also works internationally promoting exhibitions, events and publications concerned with photography, cultural identity, race, representation and human rights.

Lucy Keany, Public Programme Coordinator (Projects and Events), Autograph ABP

Lucy has been developing and managing public programmes since completing her MFA almost ten years ago. Working within visual arts organisations, festivals and outreach settings, she has designed programmes for a diverse range of audiences. Lucy has always been interested in political art/ curatorial practices and radical approaches to community engagement; she believes in an audience- centred approach to programming. Lucy is the project convener for the Canvas(s) project.

Rachel Craddock, Young People’s Programmer, National Gallery

Rachel is an educator and creative practitioner with extensive experience of supporting young people’s participation in Museums and Galleries, including informal and vocational creative learning programmes. She is passionate about creative positive progression and pathways into the creative sector for young people. She is now managing the development of a brand new programme for young people at the National Gallery. The programme aims to connect a diverse range of young people with the Gallery’s collection, spaces and expertise to support an exchange of skills, knowledge and expertise.

The National Gallery houses the national collection of paintings in the Western European tradition from the 13th to the 19th centuries.


Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, Opinions Editor, gal-dem  

gal-dem is a creative collective and magazine (online and in print) comprised of over 70 women and non-binary people of colour.

Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff is a news and features writer, editor and creative with focuses on race, feminism, media, youth culture and social politics. Charlie is the opinions editor at gal-dem, the weekend editor at Dazed and a Guardian freelancer. Winner of the 2017 Georgina Henry Award for Innovation in Journalism on behalf of gal-dem.


Reem Charif, Febrik

Febrik is a not-for-profit collaborative platform for participatory art and design research projects with practicing architects, designers and artists active in the Middle East and the UK.

Febrik’s main area of concern lies in the dynamics and practices of public spaces in relation to social and urban change; in specific in relation to negotiations of right of space (within spaces of refuge) of previously unrepresented groups such as children and women. We focus on the use of art-and-design-based research methodologies and processes (architecture/ art/ film/ photography/ text) to enhance community participation and action and to develop propositional thinking with regards to the immediate social and physical environment.

Febrik has been researching the notion of the social playgrounds and invented play as participatory and democratic practices that incite social dialogue and engagement in the public realm, leading to a series of public space interventions that document spatial narratives and in turn develop physical propositions in the urban context. Febrik’s book “Creative Refuge” was published by Tadween Publishing in 2014.

Reem Charif obtained a degree in Architecture from the Architectural Association, School of Architecture (AA dip RIBA II), after which she completed an Msc in Development Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studied (SOAS), University of London. She is a founding partner of Febrik, her research has been developing collaborative methodologies for negotiating the right to (public) space; in specific the role of social play and the social playground as catalysts for creating everyday acts of protest and for exercising community rights to operate in and appropriate the public realm.

She has worked with international development institutions such as UNRWA, UNICEF and A.M. Qattan Foundation as well as the community initiatives of the South London Gallery, The Serpentine Galleries and the Mosaics room. Reem has taught at the Architectural Association and Chelsea College of Art and Design and is currently a Senior Lecturer of Architecture at the University of East London.


Laura Philips, Head of Community Partnerships, British Museum

Laura Phillips is Head of Community Partnerships at the British Museum. This entails relationship building with diverse audiences across London to support their access to and use of the Museum’s collection. Increasingly, her work includes exploring the collections, and supporting communities to explore the collections, to find and promote narratives, stories and histories that challenge mainstream understandings. 

Laura will talk about the development of the Desire, love, identity: exploring LGBTQ histories display and trail at the British Museum which is open until October 15th 2017.


9.30am: Tea/ coffee and pastries on arrival 
9.55am: Welcome 
10 - 10.30am: Presentation of the Canvas(s) project
10.30 - 11.30am: Canvas(s) audio trail introduced by young adults, and tea/ coffee  
11.30 - 12.10pm: Presentations by guest speakers 
12.10 - 1.10pm: Break out, topic-based discussion tables (each speaker on one table)
1.10 - 1.15pm: final words

Additional Info


National Gallery
Sainsbury Wing Conference Room 1
Trafalgar Square
London WC2N 5DN

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