Public Engagement and Impact: Articulating Value in Art and Design Symposium

Barber Swindells, One to Twenty, 2012. Reproduced with kind permission of the artists.

Barber Swindells, One to Twenty, 2012. Reproduced with kind permission of the artists.

In 2010 The Work Foundation published a report entitled ‘A Creative Block? The Future of the UK Creative Industries,’ which stated, ‘the UK creative industries are now under threat from a combination of recession-induced cuts, [and] the global trends towards convergence and digitalization’, adding that, ‘unless acted upon quickly, there will be a block to the UK creative industries…as a driver of growth and innovation’ (Dr Benjamin Reid and Alexandra Albert, The Work Foundation, December 2010). Successive Arts Council policy goals have underlined the importance of greater public engagement and collaboration, with a view to attracting and inspiring new audiences and ensuring the arts are ‘sustainable, resilient and innovative’ (Achieving Great Art for Everyone, A Strategic Framework for the Arts, Arts Council England, November 2010). It was further observed in 2010 in an AHRC/ESRC report to the DCMS entitled Measuring the value of culture, that due to the ‘cooler climate’ facing cultural and arts organisations, central government and parts of the publically funded cultural sector have recognised the need to ‘more clearly articulate the value of culture using methods which fit in with central government’s decision-making’ strategies (Measuring the value of culture: a report to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Dr. Dave O’Brien, 2010). In light of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework these complexities are now being addressed with renewed vigour for UK art and design HE institutions. This symposium explores the social, cultural and political challenges around measuring public engagement in relation to evidencing impact, and the implications of this for those working in Higher Education and Museum/Gallery sectors.

Symposium Programme

11.00 – Arrival and registration (ROTOЯ film-screening – cinema).
11.30 – Welcome, Professor Steve Swindells and Dr Anna Powell, University of Huddersfield.
11.40 – Speaker 1: Dr Claire Donovan, Reader in Assessing Research Impact, Brunel University.
12.05 – Speaker 2: Dr Sarah Shalgosky, curator of the Mead Gallery, University of Warwick, and Professor Stephanie James, Associate Dean/Head of the School of Visual Arts at Arts University College at Bournemouth.
12.30 – Speaker 3: Bob and Roberta Smith, contemporary artist.
13.00 – Plenary 1 – Creative feedback.*
13.30 – Lunch break (ROTOЯ film-screening – studio).
14.10 – Welcome back.
14.15 – Speaker 4: Dr Helen Pheby, Curator at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and Peter Murray CBE, Founding and Executive Director of Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
14.40 – Speaker 5: Paul Manners, Director of the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement, Bristol.
15.05 – Speaker 6: Dr Rosa Scoble, Deputy Director of Planning, Research and Resources at Brunel University.
15.30 – Plenary 2 – Developing a visual narrative.**
16.00 – Refreshment break.
16.15 – Speaker 7: Ailbhe McNabola, Associate Director of Policy & Research at the Design Council.
16.40 – Speaker 8: Jocelyn Bailey, Head of Manufacturing Design and Innovation Policy, Policy Connect.
17.05 – Final plenary – summary and feedback, review of the day’s discussion topics and responses.
17.35 – Close.

*Plenary 1 – Creative Feedback:
This plenary encourages hands-on, creative responses to the ideas, questions and issues in discussion at the symposium. Utilising placards, banners and slogans, participants will work in small groups to create text based artworks inspired by the themes of the day, presenting visually what they consider to be the most significant outcomes of the day’s talks. The outcomes of this workshop will be displayed throughout the day in the ICA’s studio space, enabling symposium attendees to view and, in turn, respond to a vibrant review of the symposium.

**Plenary 2 – Developing a visual narrative:
In this plenary delegates will be asked to add their ideas and opinions about the event’s discussion topics to a large-scale, wall-mounted mind map outside of the cinema space. Participants will be provided with colour-coded sticky-notes and pens, and will be asked to add text or image comments within the construction of the map. This will help to create a visual narrative that will expand and develop throughout the day. It is our intention to publish the symposium proceedings during the summer of 2013 – we envisage the plenary sessions, video, audio and on-line responses will contribute to the composition and content of the publication. Delegates will be divided into two groups and, on rotation, will be invited to contribute to each plenary session. We will also be asking people to use their SMART phones/laptops and the ICA’s wireless internet connection throughout the day to provide a microblog* entry on our Public Engagement blog, summarising their thus-far experience of the event and anything it has taught them. People will also be encouraged to respond to the comments of others to instigate a dialogue which, it is hoped, will continue after the event.

*A Tweet-length (maximum 140 characters) comment on the site. Replacing the conventional feedback form, it is hoped that the above activities will help to create a dynamic and interesting review and summary of the event, while instigating further discussion.

To book a place at this event please visit the University of Huddersfield store. Please note that places are limited, so early booking is recommended. Ticket prices: £12, £10 concessions, £8 members and £5 student members.

The event takes place at the Institute for Contemporary Arts in London.

For more information, please contact Dr Anna Powell, Research Assistant in Contemporary Art: +44 (0)1484 47 3287