Manchester Art Gallery

Can art change the world (even just a little bit)?

Let's Go and Manchester Art Gallery present a panel debate with Q & A asking: Can art change the world (even just a little bit)?

Manchester Art Gallery
Thursday 12 November 2015, 5.30pm–7pm

Free, please book through Eventbrite

It really bugs me that the artist has become this regenerator, educator, redeemer – like a social worker or service provider. Why should we?

Manchester Art Gallery exhibiting artist Matthew Darbyshire, Indpendent, 11 September 2015.


Chaired by Sarah Perks, Artistic Director: Visual Art, HOME, panel members including curators, artists, activists, community groups and facilitators will each introduce themselves and then engage in discussion around the delivery and purpose of participatory art. Please see below for full list of panel members and biographies.

We encourage your participation during and leading up to the event by using the hashtag #artandchange

Tickets are free but with limited places available to maintain the intimacy of the event. Please book through Eventbrite.

Feel free to purchase a drink from the cafe bar in advance of the event.

This event takes place in our lecture room. If you require any additional support to access the event including BSL interpretation, audio description, etc. please also contact Kate Day in advance:

Tel: 0161 2358855


Chris Burgess

Dr Chris Burgess is Curator at the People’s History Museum, Manchester. He has worked on a number of exhibitions exploring British politics including Picturing Politics: The British Election Poster (2011-2012) and Election: Britain Votes (2015). Chris has published on British election posters, the history of social history in museums and the role of design in political communication. He is an honorary research fellow at the University of Nottingham.

Naomi Kendrick

Naomi Kendrick is an artist currently carrying out an ACE funded research and development project called ‘Drawing as Experience’. This includes looking at drawing in relation to hypnosis, mindfulness, participation, performance and sound. Workshops and participatory events form a crucial part of her practice. Naomi has been developing and running workshops in museums, galleries and communities since 2001 and at Manchester Gallery for the past nine years (for their adult, family learning and most recently health and well being programs). Naomi’s most recent large scale participatory work was ‘Drawn to the Beat’ (2014) held at Victoria Baths as part of ‘Un- Rest.’

Meg Parnell

Meg Parnell has worked in the Learning team at Manchester Art Gallery for the past 10 years. Over that time she has met lots and lots of people in front of art works for discussion, ideas and making. She has managed several projects which have been collaborations between the gallery, people and artists. In 2013 Meg worked with international artist, Suzanne Lacy, on a piece called ‘Cleaning Conditions’. More information can be found on Suzanne’s website. Meg believes that the experience of exploring or making art works, either collectively or individually, creates small shifts in thinking though questioning and understanding of the world. And the more we question and understand the world, the more we see the world through different eyes with new thoughts.

Sarah Riley

Sarah Riley is Community Development Coordinator for Great Places Housing Group working with communities across Manchester and Trafford to create sustainable neighbourhoods and to improve the lives of community members. Sarah has worked in this role for 6 years and with Great Places in various roles for 11 years.

Karen Shannon

Karen Shannon MA Creative Technology University of Salford, founded Let’s Go in 2002 and has over 15 years experience of developing and delivering digital media and arts projects with people, artists and communities. Karen believes that engagement with arts and digital technology is an incredible tool for people to use to create positive change in society. Karen has worked on a number of large scale socially engaged arts projects, in 2012 she launched the London 2012 Games Times in the North West and won the North West Be Inspired Award for her contribution to the Cultural Olympiad. Most recently Karen has been working on the Creative People and Places Arts Council England’s project for West Yorkshire, which sets out to develop sustainable approaches to engage new audiences and participants in the arts, in parts of the country where people’s involvement is significantly below the national average.

Jessica Symons

Jessica Symons is a Research Fellow at Salford University with interests in creativity, cultural meaning and urban sustainability. Jessica joined SURF in May 2014 and contributes as an anthropologist to the Cultural Intermediation Project which aims to explore cultural intermediation in the creative urban economy through fieldwork and analysis, part of the AHRC Connected Communities Programme. Jessica is focused on creativity as an adaptive process and how organisations act as enablers and barriers to it. Key areas of enquiry include: political influences on city making processes; the dynamics of collaborative creativity and co-production; the role of artists and other ‘creatives’ in working around organizational barriers; alignment of anthropology and art; and the potential for anthropology as a storytelling medium to engage in futures thinking.

Louise Thompson

Louise Thompson delivers the health and wellbeing programme at Manchester Art Gallery. With a particular emphasis on mental health and mindfulness-based learning, through engaging with and making art, the health and wellbeing programme has captured the interest of health and wellbeing professionals, groups and individuals interested in taking care of their own mental health. Louise works with artists and health professionals to deliver this programme of targeted community projects and a universal offer of events including Therapeutic Thursday, Mindful marks and Take notice.