On 20-21October 2017 we supported the October Dialogues event at Nottingham Contemporary. This included invigorating discussions, workshops and performances!
The two-day event was supported by The Bigger Picture and invited speakers from arts organisations such as Culture Coventry, Birmingham Museums Trust as well as freelance artists, activists and more!
The first day included talks on Off-site museum practices to the archive as a catalyst for engagement, whilst the second day consisted of a local activism workshop with presentations by Journey to Justice and others!
As a researcher on the Bigger Picture project, I’ve spent the past year immersed in three arts organisations in Nottingham - Nottingham Contemporary, New Art Exchange and the National Justice Museum. I’ve been working with staff members within to gather information about their programming for minority communities (broadly defined). This has happened through face-to-face interviews, meeting shadowing and observing how various spaces are used by staff and visitors. The data is being analysed to outline a picture of staff members ‘ways of working’ with relation to programming, assessment and evaluation as well as how this knowledge is then used in future programming.
Some of the questions I’ve been grappling with are:
• How, and to what extent, does an organisation’s approach reflect both their internal strategy as well as industry standards set by funders such as Arts Council England?
• Does existing organisational practice help staff work towards improving access to arts for diverse audiences?
• How do the ways in which staff work enable connections or create fissures?
This data and analysis will be collated, and then presented back to the organisations. Together, we will refine the questions and exercises that will form the tools which will enable staff both within the partner organisations at other similar institutions, to reflect on their practice.