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  • Writer's pictureSophie Fox

Whose workshop is it anyway?

In our first online network meeting we asked ourselves and our community of artists, educators and cultural organisation about their thoughts and perspectives on participation and collaboration in early years arts practices.

The provocation was posed by Original Projects; an artist-led organisation based in Great Yarmouth who currently occupy the old Debenhams department store, now a gallery and artist studio space called PRIMEYARC, where we had hoped to hold this meeting in-person.

Adapting to the situation we held the session online and had an amazing response to it - attracting attendees from all over the UK (one of the benefits of online spaces!)

The session was led by artists Genevieve Rudd and Kaitlin Ferguson who explored their own participatory arts practices with us, through a series of presentations and workshop style activities.

We were able to share our thoughts, doodles and musings through a shared Padlet as Kaitlin and Genevieve guided us to unpick some of the aspects of participatory arts practice and to consider what a softer presence might look like.

The second half of the meeting was given over to an Open Space forum, where participants offered questions and ideas for conversation in small break rooms. The range of topics was hugely varied from discussions about ethics of ownership in participatory arts, to questions about what participation actually look like? There was such a range of ideas, thoughts and opinions, and a great deal of experience, that the people attending generously shared.

Our next Network Meetings will be happening in Spring 2021, and we have some fabulous, passionate and experienced people in the pipeline who are going to share their early years work and practice with us.


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