Rights in Focus Network

SAT 15 FEB 2020 11:30AM – 4:30PM

£6 / £5

Our events are very popular, and this event has sold out. 

Autograph's Rights and Arts Engagement takes place quarterly. The date for our next event will be announced soon via our events page

About the Event

Autograph's Rights in Focus Network explores how social justice agendas can inform the challenges, practice and discourse of arts engagement.

We meet quarterly to discuss the structural powers shaping the context in which arts engagement work is taking place, and consider how approaches based on the legal, civic, and human rights of participants can inform more ethically aware forms of participatory projects - and help initiate systemic change. 

Please join us for an afternoon of talks, discussion, practice sharing and networking. Each meeting has a guest speaker.

This event is aimed at arts professionals, socially engaged artists, curators, arts commissioners, facilitators creating workshops in arts and community spaces, artist educators, and those working in community settings - regardless of what stage in your career or practice you are at. You'll be encouraged to share learning, skills and resources from you own practice. We welcome newcomers to the Network.


Rivington Place



past event

To see our current events, click here

How can the rights of participants be central to the design and delivery of arts engagement?

Why do we work with those most marginalised, excluded or discriminated against?

What ethical dilemmas and power dynamics of arts engagement emerge in these relationships?

Can this work advocate for systemic change at personal, community, organisational and societal levels?

TOPICS the network explores

• Rights, social justice and activism in arts engagement

• Institutional and social power structures, which create conditions of privilege and marginalisation

• Coalitions and partnerships as a force for social change

• Community campaigns achieving a scale of change in their work

• The politics of representation and engagement

• How a rights-focussed approach can address power imbalances in the relationships between participants and arts engagement practitioners

• Creating access for the most marginalised

• Ethics and instrumentalisation

• Building non-transactional relationships with participants

• Radical approaches, methods, and pedagogy for engagement

event programme

11:30 – 11:45 Welcome and introductions

11:45 – 13:05 Guest Speaker Bethany Mitchell

13:05 – 13:50 Lunch (included in ticket price)

13:50 – 4pm
Practice sharing by two network speakers: Mai Omer and Marilene Ribeiro. Followed by a group discussion and feedback

4 – 4:30pm Feedback and sharing of references and resources

4:30 – 5pm Drinks and networking

Guest speaker Bethany Mitchell

Bethany Mitchell is Curator of Inclusion at MK Gallery responsible for the Inclusive Practice in the Arts programme (IPA).  Central to this work, weekly Art and Us sessions invite families with children with complex needs to share creative and stimulating experiences with MK Gallery’s Associate Artists.  

Through her 10 year participatory arts practice Bethany has always favoured co creation, working in close dialogue (not necessarily a verbal dialogue) with participants to realise meaningful creative moments in transformed spaces.  Her practice holds at its core a belief in the power of play, the unifying nature of curiosity and the expansive possibilities of authentic participation.

Network speaker Mai Omer

Mai Omer is a multimedia artist and curator based in London and Tel Aviv. Her work focuses on the intersections between art, politics and education, and explores how communal spaces affect individuals.

From 2010 – 2017 she worked as a curator at The Israeli Centre for Digital Art, where she co-founded the Ulam project (2014–ongoing). Omer studied Fine Arts at HaMidrasha Faculty of the Arts, Israel (2009), and received her MA in Visual Sociology from Goldsmiths university of London (2018).

Her recent works have been exhibited at Art Night (2019), Raven Row (UK, 2018), Parallel (Canada, 2018), Sadnaot HaOmanim (Israel, 2018), Construction Festival (Ukraine, 2017), and Alfred Gallery (Israel, 2016). 

Network speaker Marilene Ribeiro

Marilene Ribeiro is a Brazilian photographer and researcher whose practice is focused on identity and contemporary issues, bringing together photography, intervention, and collaboration. Research engaged in the politics of art, the role of image-based media in society, and also in understanding how the knowledge of traditional communities can operate in environmental and political issues.

Ribeiro's work has been exhibited in various countries and featured in publications in the UK, France, Spain, Brazil, India, and the Netherlands. Amongst other grants, she was the recipient of the Royal Photographic Society Award (2014), the International Art Residence Grant Lab-MIS (2012), and shortlisted for the Arles Luma Rencontres Dummy Book Award (2019) and the Marilyn Stafford FotoReportage Award (2017). Ribeiro holds a PhD in Creative Arts/Photography awarded by the University for the Creative Arts (UK).

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She is a collaborator of the 'Fast Forward - Women in Photography' (collective of female photographers designed to promote and engage with women in photography across the globe), photo editor and collaborator of the project 'Voices of Latin America' (collective project organised by the Latin America Bureau-LAB which acknowledges and communicates the struggle of grassroots social movements against mega-development projects, violence, gentrification in urban areas, etc., throughout Latin America), and also a collaborator of the Instituto Biotrópicos (Brazilian Non-governmental organisation focused on science and arts as a mean to conserve biodiversity). 

Ribeiro is also a co-founding member of ‘Agnitio - change through photography' (collective project that aims to empower local communities via photography skills in Brazil).

Accessibility at AUTOGRAPH

Everyone is welcome at Autograph. Our building Rivington Place is an accessible space with a step-free entrance at street level, and a lift to all floors. Unisex, accessible toilets are located on all floors.

Download our Accessibility Guide for detailed access information about our venue and transport.

We are happy to help. If you would like to discuss your visit, or have any questions, please contact us at or 020 7749 9200

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This network event is organised by Autograph and Will Essilfie.


Autograph's events are popular, and often sell out. We cannot guarantee that tickets will be available on the door, and recommend booking a ticket in advance. If you need to cancel your ticket for any reason, you can receive a refund up to 24 hours before the start of the event. Concessions tickets are available for students, those on low income, and 65+.


Tickets to this event can only be booked from: this webpage, on Eventbrite, via the Eventbrite ticketing plugin on Autograph's Facebook event, by phoning Autograph at 020 7729 9200, or by emailing Tickets obtained unofficially or resold on Facebook and other social media may not be genuine.


Supported using public funding by Arts Council England
Sample Logo

Banner image: Canva(s) project, 2016 - 2017. Page images, frop top left: 1) 2019 Rights in Focus Conference at Autograph, London. 2-3) 2018 Rights in Focus Conference at Autograph, London. Photographs by Jalaikon. 4) Bethany Mitchell 5) Mai Omer 6) Marilene Ribeiro 7) Rivington Place, home of Autograph. Photograph by Zoë Maxwell.