ArtWorks Alliance – better participatory arts

ArtWorks Alliance is a national network of organisations and individuals with a passion for participatory arts and an understanding that working together to strengthen support for those working in the field will bring benefits for everyone involved. Rachel Gillies explains why creative professionals in our area should consider joining as members.

So many creative professionals across our area approach working with community participants with compassion and empathy. We know the power of creative projects when we give participants the power to edit and author, to steer the direction of a project and see their decisions reflected in a final piece of work. We undertake this work because we want to give those we work with the best possible experience and realise the potential of creativity.

To do this well, however, can be a huge challenge. Constraints with funding, time, partners, reporting, evaluation and so much more can mean that it’s hard to work with the depth and rigour that participants need and deserve.

Fortunately, ArtWorks Alliance understands all of this and more, creating a space and a voice for people who want to develop their practice and advocate for participatory practice. As a membership organisation there is a real diversity of practitioners, in terms of geography, artistic discipline, size of organisation (freelancers are very welcome!) and experience.

Questions arising from the ArtWorks Alliance ‘Gathering’ event in January 2020

Their online Knowledge Bank is a great place to browse through a wide range of reports, reflections and case studies. You can also sign up for their regular newsletters which include a good mix of sector news, reflections on participatory practice as well as funding and work opportunities. Membership is currently free due to recent emergency funding – it entitles you to join in with discussions.

At present it feels as though the West Midlands is underrepresented at the table – let’s get involved in this fantastic community.