The three central questions that the conference sought to explore were:
Funders and policymakers aspire to engage more people in the arts, and yet socially engaged practice is perceived by many to be marginalised within the Visual Arts sector. Why is there a real or perceived hierarchy of value between work which sits in a gallery context and socially engaged practice?
Who is seriously critiquing socially engaged arts practice? Are debates about process versus product still relevant? If a piece of work delivers on social outcomes, is that enough? What academic discourse is taking place in relation to Socially Engaged Arts Practice (SEAP) and how can this have an impact on the sector?
Most SEAP is realised through a complex series of relationships between funders, commissioners, arts organisations, artists and the public. How do you navigate these partnerships? Can you satisfy the demands for risk-taking high quality visual arts practice against the need to deliver against social agendas, and keeping participants feeling safe?
During the conference there were ten different workshops on offer, exploring themes linked to socially engaged practice. Conference speakers included: