Tracing the Pathway host Situating the Groundwork: Initiatives, Infrastructures and Interventions; a 3-day symposium presenting multiple perspectives from artists, cultural organisers, policy makers, urban geographers, town planners to reflect on the value, role, impact and future of socially engaged, site-responsive arts practice in urban development. Situating the Groundwork will offer 25 provocations on how policy, labour, resources, arts practice and research are integral to cities developing fertile artistic and cultural infrastructures. The range of speakers will give particular consideration to the examination of:

Cultural Infrastructures: asking what are the necessary components for developing a city with a strong artistic identity.

Artistic Networks: looking at methods for establishing, supporting and developing the growth of creative communities within urban areas.

Grassroots/artist-led/artist-centred: what types of approaches can different stakeholders adopt when working with residents and community groups.

The Impact of Participation: assessing cultural demographics, market analysis and evaluating the impact of arts on urban societies and alternative strategies for creating programmes and facilities that attend to these people’s needs and interests.

Cultural Migration: reflecting on why artists leave their hometowns to seek communities in major cities, making enquires into the phenomena of cultural drain, and contemplating how can we plug this drain.

Identity Crises: How do maligned towns overcome a sense of negativity and build an identity as an artistically vibrant place

Art and Culture in New Towns: Plans for art provision in the development of new towns, artistic provision in new towns today, and the future of new towns in the artistic landscape.

Art vs Heritage: The relationship between art, culture, heritage and urban or suburban landscapes.

Social Explorations and Interventions: Examples of political, architectural and performance interventions that activate sites or invite residents to engage with sites.

On Friday 14 September the symposium will be held at MK Gallery, where we invite you to join our gathering of speakers as they share their experiences, knowledge, methodologies and anecdotes for implementing creative initiatives and interventions across the UK.

Presentations, panels and debates will then continue in multiple locations on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 September as the symposium moves in line with The Groundwork Weekender festival’s journey across the city of Milton Keynes. Conversation will be sited and contextualised in response, and at times in counter-point, to the Groundwork artists’ artworks, offering audiences the opportunity to simultaneously examine the initiatives and interventions one might make in order to situate the groundwork for a thriving cultural infrastructure, whilst visiting many of Milton Keynes’ cultural and artistic hotspots that are at the heart of this cities’ artistic network.


MK Gallery, Milton Keynes Arts Centre, Westbury Arts Centre, Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre, The Old Bus Station

Dates: Friday 14, Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 September 2018

Panels 1-6 -  9.30am-6.20pm, Friday 14 September at MK Gallery
Panel 7 - 1.30-2.45pm, Saturday 15 September at Milton Keynes Arts Centre
Panel 8 - 4.45-5.45pm, Saturday 15 September at Westbury Arts Centre
Panel 9 - 12-12.45pm, Sunday 16 September at Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre
Panel 10 - 3:30-5pm, Sunday 16 September at The Old Bus Station

Find out more and book here