News | Autograph ABP

Reflections from the Canvas(s) Project


Canvas(s) ran from May 2016 to July 2017, exploring access to cultural spaces with young people from refugee backgrounds.

Funded by a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Explore and Test grant and managed by Autograph ABP, the project was formed around a diverse consortium of arts and migrants’ rights organisations: Autograph ABP, Migrants’ Rights Network, Asylum Aid, the British Red Cross, Counterpoints Arts and the National Gallery. Our public programme team, Lucy Keany and Ali Eisa, have created a document to share some of the learning, key approaches and findings.

Canvas(s) set out to explore the following question:

‘Could a partnership of small organisations and independent practitioners, sharing a common concern with upholding and defending human rights, develop new insights and methods to improve
access for young people from refugee backgrounds at a large cultural institution?’

Project partners included arts organisations and NGO’s, chosen for their varied experience in rights-focused approaches to creative programming, arts participation and advocacy/campaigning initiatives. Each organisation has a long and successful history in developing and providing accessible opportunities to marginalised or under-represented communities. The focus of our exploration was the UK’s foremost museum of Western European Art, The National Gallery.

To find out more about how we designed and facilitated the project, alongside some of our learnings please see: