Table Debates at the Circuit Conference

At Test, Risk, Change, the Circuit conference held in March, we hoped that everyone who came would bring their own experiences to contribute actively to discussions and help shape the next steps we, in the arts and youth sectors, want to take.

c Jack Makin

c Jack Makin

c Jack Makin

Between the conference panel discussions, delegates took part in debates on their tables, facilitated by a youth or arts sector professional. On each table were delegates from a range of backgrounds and roles – youth and arts practitioners, directors, funders, researchers, and young people who had been involved in Circuit – aiming to bring a mix of voices into each discussion.

To spark conversation, each table was presented with a set of questions, and could select the ones that interested them. Questions included:

  • How can the youth and gallery sectors swap knowledge and practices?
  • What could funders do to support more equal partnerships?
  • How can young people and artists inform the development of partnerships?
  • What’s the best way to stop the hierarchy of arts organisations affecting the hierarchy of partnership with the youth sector?
  • Why aren’t we talking about the role race and class play in building these partnerships in arts organisations?
  • What language and principles could be used to bring the youth and cultural sector together as allies?
  • Are national youth/arts programmes useful? What do they produce?
  • What specific change do we want to see?
  • What are we willing to test, risk and change?
  • What arguments and demands do we want to propose to change-makers?
  • Who are the change-makers we need to talk to?

Through the debates, everyone started to identify the issues that concerned them most, triggering conversations about shared aims, interests and challenges. Many of the conversations led to more questions being posed, with each delegate bringing their own critical viewpoints and experiences to shape further provocations. Across the tables, people developed recommendations or even demands for our sectors, and some people took the opportunity to identify practical actions that they could take forward personally.

Here is a selection of some of the themes, opinions and issues that came from the discussions.