My time at the conference spent with teaching artists and facilitators from around the world was incredible, the conversations and workshops that I took part in helped me delve into the question: What is the best way to describe my own practice? Below are some of my main thoughts, takeaways and quotes from the conference that have since helped me think about my own work and how to embed good practice into all that I do;

‘Art is a machine for social change’- Marc Bamuthi Joseph

‘It is our responsibility to shift the culture of the places we work’ David King

‘The world needs artists now more than ever in the age of rage’- Eric Booth

‘Imagine a world where every country has artists working in the heart of communities, for you and with you’ Eric Booth

‘Radical curiosity and radical creation’ Doug Paulson

‘Try and listen with your full artist self’ Liz Lerman

‘To get peoples trust you have to be able to articulate your values’ Sarah Bennett

‘Instigating creative experience to help people deal with difficult situations’ Lemon Anderson

‘Let communities take the narrative back’ Aaaron Huey

‘Meaningful and sustainable change’ Aaaron Huey

‘Listening as radical curiosity’ Jeannette Rodríguez-Píneda

‘Art is not a safe space but a space for revelation!’ Unknown

‘Not about sympathy driven work but work driven by empathy and change’ Unknown

‘Artists have an ability to imagine things as if they could be otherwise’ Unknown


So, here is how I now choose to describe my own practice: I am an inclusive artist* and an arts venue manager, I facilitate art workshops with a variety of community groups who are in some way marginalised, from adults affected by cancer to teenagers who are homeless .

My own practice focuses on art and health, blurring boundaries between performance and visual arts. I am interested in the intersectionality of all art forms and believe the arts can be used as tools for positive, social change.

*an inclusive artist is defined by art access as; ‘a flexible, creative process that ensures equal access to the arts for all marginalised groups’ (definition taken from www.artsaccess.com.au)


During my time at ITAC4 I took part in numerous workshops across all artistic disciplines. I listened to inspiring talks from artists from all over the world, watched performances, heard from radical practitioners who are using their practice to change the world for the better, became part of a choral voice ensemble, I even got to watch a live podcast recording, this was all encompassed by debate and discussion with fellow delegates on what truly encompasses best practice when it comes to teaching art.

The morning of the third day at the International Teaching artist conference was spent at Lincoln Centre For Education. A half an hour workshop was the prelude to an incredible performance; Soundtrack ‘63- by Soul Science Lab. If I’m honest, incredible doesn’t even begin to do the performance justice. An ensemble of phenomenal black musicians and vocalists performed live scores in front of a visual collage of moving image, archive footage and animation, using music and song to narrate black American history; from slavery, through to Jim Crow, mass incarceration, the civil rights movement to the Black Lives Matter movement of today. The use of music and live performance by contemporary black artists was so powerful in highlighting the ongoing, systematic oppression faced by people of colour not only in the United States but across the globe.

The performance made me think of my own position within the arts and brought into perspective the themes of the conference ‘Artist as Instigator, The Role, Responsibility and Impact of Artists in Global Communities’. Since being back in Brighton I have been reflecting on how integral it is to acknowledge my privilege (as a white person) when it comes to working with community groups and artists of colour. A participant at ITAC4 summed it up in one sentence:

‘It’s not about sympathy driven work but work driven by empathy and change’.


To find out more about Soul Science lab click here.



Part 2: The International Teaching Artist Conference New York City 2018.

Day 1 of The International Teaching Artist Conference 2018 consisted of a truly inspiring workshop at Groundswell Brooklyn focusing on the senses. Groundswell pride themselves on working with local community groups to create large scale wall murals around Brooklyn and further afield, and say they are an ‘organization using the collaborative art-making processes of public murals to foster creative youth development.’

Little did I know a wonderful morning of writing, poetry and spoken word  was about to commence with two amazing practitioners, Toni Blackman and Sahar Muradi from City Lore (an organisation using the arts to promote grassroots cultures).

Words, listening and poetry became, unexpectedly, integral to my experience at ITAC4 with some of my favourite experiences based around poetry. This included a powerful workshop led by Alexis Alleyne-Caputo using words to delve into African women’s trauma.

As a predominantly visual artist I have always steered clear of spoken word but my time at ITAC4 made me somewhat, naively, realise no matter the artistic discipline the best workshops are those delivered by the best practitioners, the influence of poetry on my time spent in NYC (including a night at Bowery Poetry Club) made me reflect on bringing back all forms of the arts into my own practice and work with community groups.

A lunch time tour led by two of Groundswells young artists- involved in creating past murals- made me reflect on the integrity and ego of an artist working within a community process and what is truly best practice when it comes to working with groups.

The afternoon at Groundswell was led by two visual artists Jeannette Rodríguez-Píneda and Doug Paulson, with an emphasis on radical curiosity, radical listening and radical creation. A 16 minute drawing to sounds exercise was followed by using an assortment of materials to turn our drawing outcomes into sculptures. It was liberating switching between disciplines so easily in a single workshop and took away my usual fear of working with 3D. One participant described the workshop as “movement and sound frozen in time”. For myself, I was inspired by the idea of rest as a form of creativity, simply sitting with my eyes closed and just listening became a creative act in itself.

Personal reflections on good community practice:

– It’s important that all those involved feel valued and appreciated no matter how large or small their contribution to the work.

-The meaning of the work itself and what it represents has to come directly from voices within the community, its seems such a simple concept but so often gets lost along the way, especially when we as artists are so used to making aesthetic choices on our own.

– To truly work with a community you have to be present in that community.

– “To get peoples trust you have to be able to articulate your values” Sarah Bennett, a Brighton based Inclusive Artist.

-Learn and grow from your mistakes.

-Be reactive rather than static.

– Don’t just lead workshops, take part in them too.

-Stay curious.

-Listen throughout. Read the room, if a participant is reacting in a negative way towards the subject matter matter adapt the workshop accordingly.

-Be brave- face and explore discomfort- we learn at the edges of our comfort zones.