Test Risk Change

Exploring democratic practice between young people, youth organisations and galleries


Circuit Programme National Conference

Nottingham Contemporary
Friday 10 March 2017
10.45am – 5.30pm
Free, booking essential


If you are interested in attending please email circuit.conference@tate.org.uk.


Join us for a day of debate exploring how the youth and gallery sectors can work effectively together in turbulent social and political times to challenge inequalities and champion young people’s cultural participation. Framed around four years of learning from Circuit, discussions between youth practitioners, gallery staff and young people aim to interrogate the authenticity of partnership, examine the agency of young people, and address the dynamics of organisational change.


Delegates are invited to pose questions, engage in open conversations, share expertise, and propose actions to advance future alliances. We hope to draw upon our collective experience to identify how to make our programmes more socially inclusive, politically relevant and creatively diverse. And we plan to think about how to meaningfully collaborate while cuts and policy changes are altering the landscape of national youth provision.

This is the first of a series of platforms for conversation hosted through Circuit in 2017 between the arts and youth sectors and young people, investigating what steps can be taken to engage with wider social justice agendas and to push for change within and beyond institutions.


10 – 10.45am
Registration (Refreshments will be provided throughout the day)
10.45 – 11.15am

Kay Hardiman, Head of Learning, Nottingham Contemporary
Anna Cutler, Director of Learning, Tate

Circuit: An Introduction

Maria Balshaw, Director, the Whitworth, University of Manchester and Manchester City Galleries
Rachel Moilliet, Circuit National Programme Manager
Régis Cochefert, Director, Grants and Programmes, Paul Hamlyn Foundation
Ernest Wereko, Tate Collective London member
Julie McCarthy, Creative Producer, 42nd Street
Abigail Christenson, Curator, Young People, Tate Liverpool

Provocation: Youth, change and honesty

Raluca Moraru, Circuit Assistant, Nottingham Contemporary
11.15 – 12.15pm
Cross-sector partnership: Is democratic practice possible?
How is agency and power distributed in partnership activity, and can youth and gallery organisations, young people and artists work together equitably? Speakers unpick the challenges of cross-sector partnership and propose ideas for trialing different ways of working.

Jeff Mills, Director, Business and Communities, tasc Manchester (Chair)
Isabella Martin, artist, Wysing Arts Centre & Kettle’s Yard
Nicola Sim, Doctoral researcher, Tate/The University of Nottingham
Alice Thickett, Youth Programmer, Nottingham Contemporary
Calum Watts, Residential Social Care Worker, Crocus Fields
Charlotte Winters, Young Artist Kommunity (Y.A.K) member, and Trustee, Firstsite

12.15 – 12.30pm
12.30 – 1pm
Table debates

Table facilitators:

Janet Batsleer, Principal Lecturer, Youth and Community Work, Manchester Metropolitan University
Piotr Bienkowski, Project Director, Our Museum: Communities and Museums as Active Partners
Gillian Brent, Associate Artist, Nottingham Contemporary
Marina Castledine, Head of Learning, Towner Art Gallery
Jo Dacombe, Associate Artist, Nottingham Contemporary
Peter Hamilton, Circuit Board member and youth practitioner
Jan Miller, artist, Mostyn
Kay Hardiman, Head of Learning, Nottingham Contemporary
Sue Hogan, Education and Learning Officer, Firstsite
Jane Sillis, Director, engage, the National Association for Gallery Education
Louise Thirlwall, Operations Director, Wysing Arts Centre
Pat Thomson, Professor of Education, The University of Nottingham
Laura Turner-Blake, Curator, Young People’s Programmes, Tate London
Hannah Wilmot, Evaluator/researcher/writer

1 – 2pm
2 – 3pm
Parallel breakout sessions (delegates choose one to attend)

Option 1

What does authentic peer-led working look like?

A series of reflections on the realities of co-production between diverse groups of young people, organisations and staff members. Participants highlight different models of peer-led practice and question how much autonomy can be afforded to young people who are not familiar with galleries. Drawing upon examples of practice in the youth and cultural sector, this session asks: does ‘peer-led’ work in hierarchical organisations? How do young people learn through these semi-professional models? And could they be more inclusive?

Will Dean, former GLITCH Collective member, Mostyn
Sufea Mohamad Noor, Tate Collective Liverpool member
Tracy Ramsey, Professional tutor in youth and community work, Liverpool Hope University
Deborah Riding, Programme Manager, Children & Young People, Tate Liverpool
Rebecca Scott, former Circuit Cambridge member
April Taylor, GLITCH Collective member, Mostyn

Option 2

Just a gig in a gallery? Cultural democracy in the museum

How serious are galleries about connecting with popular/sub youth cultures beyond the visual arts? And can engaging with different art forms help to make galleries more relevant social spaces? A discussion on investing in young creatives, and developing emerging talent through social practice.

Mike Baines, Whitworth Young Contemporaries Emerging Artist, musician/MC
Angela Diakopoulou, Circuit evaluator
Araba Mercer Banson, Tate Collective London member
Adrian Newman, Station Manager, Reprezent Radio
Adrian Shaw, Late at Tate Programmer, Tate London
Andrew Vaughan, Learning Manager, the Whitworth

Option 3

Spatial democracy

Programmers, artists, young people and youth workers from Circuit sites share learning from a range of experiments in deformalising and democratising space to build relevance through everyday social encounters. In former cafes, shops and bus stations, many Circuit projects have created new relationships with communities and youth workers, and tested innovative ways of working beyond the site of the gallery or youth centre. Can galleries and youth organisations learn from these methods, as well as use art practice to navigate tensions surrounding young people's presence in the public realm?

James Davidson, Y.A.K member, Firstsite
Judith Merritt, Head of Talks and Exhibitions, National Theatre
Ben Randall, Youth and Community Based Commissioner, Essex Youth Service, Essex County Council
Emma Saffy Wilson, artist, St Ives
Marijke Steedman, Curator
Rachael Woodhead, Learning Curator, Tate St Ives

Option 4

Red tape and glass ceilings: who speaks for young people?

How much say and responsibility do young people really have in youth programmes? What are the factors that limit and amplify their voices? From LGBT cultures to campaigns for racial equality, how can organisations embody underrepresented issues and communities that young people relate to? Circuit’s young evaluators ask who is speaking, who is listening, and whose voices may be missing.

Rachael Coward, Tate Collective St Ives member
Lou Greenwell, Circuit Cambridge member
Roz Hall, Circuit Critical Friend
Jackie McManus, Circuit board member and education consultant
Bradley Stephens, Y.A.K member, Firstsite
Decarla Phillip-Riley, Tate Collective London member
Dominique Phizacklea, former Collabor-8 member, Nottingham Contemporary
Gaby Sahhar, Tate Collective London member

Option 5

Organisational change? Directors’ Question Time

How are institutions committing to future work with young people? How can we learn from, and extend the influence of these types of programmes? And how can galleries expand their civic role and share resources with communities? Young participants and partners of Circuit put questions to directors about the capacity for risk-taking and strategic change in their institutions.

India Cawley Gelling, Tate Collective Liverpool member
Michael Irwin, Curatorial Assistant, Firstsite
Francesco Manacorda, Artistic Director, Tate Liverpool
Julie McCarthy, Creative Producer, 42nd Street
Emily Pringle, Head of Learning Practice and Research, Tate
Roxanna Sultan, Intern, the Whitworth
Sam Thorne, Director, Nottingham Contemporary

3 – 3.30pm
3.30 – 4.30pm
Where were we, where are we and what next?
The riots of 2011 shone a light on young people’s frustrations with racial, generational, class and social inequalities, and were seen by many as a consequence of cuts to youth provision. This panel revisits the original motivations for Circuit and confronts the social urgencies that have shaped the creative energy of the programme. Can the art and youth sectors work effectively as allies to bring about future change, and what should this change look like?

Janna Graham, Lecturer and Programme Leader, BA in Curating, Department of Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths (Chair)
Edward Boott, Artistic Director, Nonsuch and National Programme Lead, Undivided
Pat Farrell (aka Cave Man), former Whitworth Emerging Artist
Ruth Ibegbuna, founder and CEO, RECLAIM
Hannah Kemp-Welch, Mental health programme manager, Raw Material (& Circuit Programme: Digital Producer)
Mark Miller, Convenor: Young People’s Programmes, Tate, and Circuit Programme National Lead
Angela Wereko-Anderson, Tate Collective London member

4.30 – 5.15pm
Table debates: Test, risk, change?
5.15 – 5.30pm
Closing comments
Peter Hamilton, Circuit board member and youth practitioner
Anna Cutler, Director of Learning, Tate
5.30 – 6.30pm
Drinks Reception & Makey Makey workshop



  • Listen to Rebellious Voices, a new work by sound artist and Circuit Digital Producer Hannah Kemp-Welch. Collaging political broadcasts with recorded conversations between Circuit participants, the work offers a second critical narrative of the programme and wider socio-political contexts.


  • Explore Circuit’s archive, mapping creative social action and institutional critique through material generated by and with young people. Curated by Nicole Jones, Circuit Programme Assistant, and Rianna Jade Parker, Tate Collective London member.



  • Visit the Circulate Lounge, hear about the programme’s key findings and take away ideas for creative evaluation designed by Circuit’s young evaluators. Curated by Circulate members Lou Greenwell, Jack Makin, Sufea Mohamad Noor and Bradley Stephens.


  • Encounter an installation of artists’ commissions by gallery staff exploring organisational change, language and the role of the gallery practitioner.


Nottingham Contemporary
Weekday Cross