ARTICLE: New spaces for Teaching Artistry in KOREA


Since the movement began, Teaching Artists have had to work in classrooms and communities with the resources and spaces they were given. The business of the Teaching Artist has been to apply those skills in a range of spaces. As a musician or visual artist, writer or dancer, they have had to work with a space that is rarely ideal. Classrooms often contain a range of expectations for the participants, the artists and the teachers, as well as being cluttered with other learning resources, while halls and community spaces can sometimes feel too temporary or makeshift.

Many galleries, community hubs and libraries now contain allocated areas for making activities, often specifically for children. In Australia, for example, many new libraries contain ‘Maker Spaces’ and every major gallery has a family creative activity area – usually associated with the current exhibition.

However, in the last twenty years there has begun a new international movement of spaces specifically designed to house teaching artistry. The Ark in Dublin, ArtPlay in Melbourne and Playeum in Singapore each represent purpose designed spaces for intergenerational creative activity lead by Teaching Artists. Each of these examples offer flexible and dynamic designed spaces for a range of creative activities. The nature of these spaces help to support the practice of the Teaching Artists and, to be successful, need to reflect and complement that practice.

The Ark was Europe’s first purpose built cultural centre for children, developed as part of an urban regeneration project following Dublin as European City of Culture in 1990. The Ark has a purpose-built theatre for children, top-floor workshop for artists-in-residence and exhibition space for work by, with, for and about children. Playeum formed as a response to a very controlled curriculum of activities for young children in Singapore and engages artists to design interactive exhibitions and workshops for children and families in a space based in the gallery precinct of the city. ArtPlay is a City Council driven program of activities for children and families in the heart of Melbourne, Australia, sited in an old train repair warehouse and has become a national example of best practice.

On my recent invitation to Korea by KACES I was pleased to visit some new exciting initiatives that are part of this international movement to refurbish existing buildings and creating exciting new opportunities for community creativity and connectivity.

Our key forum was at B39 in Seoul. This old incinerator building houses galleries and activity spaces for a broad community and oozes creativity. It has, like many of these buildings, found the balance between an efficient industrial design style while retaining the soul of the building. A common factor of many of these refurbishments is to embrace and share the many previous lives and stories of the structure yet appear fresh and dynamic to new users. B39 is a fabulous space with so much potential – revitalizing an area of the city and offering new opportunities for creative exchange. In the forum itself many ideas and projects were shared, showing a real desire to exploit similar structures across the country to offer new creative spaces for intergenerational groups to gather, make and share.

IMG_8727My second day in Korea took us out of the city to visit Jeonju City in the Northern Jeolia Province. Travelling with Fran Edgerley from ‘assemble’ in the UK, I had the opportunity to see two new initiatives in action. Both the Art-Police centre in Deokjin and the Factory in Palbok demonstrated a commitment to re-utilising spaces for community gathering and creativity. The small police house, included multiple spaces with intriguing and thoughtful names (“sometimes together”, “often by myself” and “always a room with noise”) provides an unusual mix of arts activity, art therapy and domesticity on a human scale. The Factory in Palbok couldn’t be more different in many ways: a large scale building with enormous spaces but with plans for redevelopment imminent. Both spaces, although very different, actually offer the same set of common factors that enable creative intergenerational participation.

IMG_8732In a forum at the Factory in Palbok three other projects were shared with a group of representatives from local cultural and arts organisations, local government staff and individual artists. It was clear that there were common factors linking all these initiatives, both in the forum and in the examples we had visited. So what are these factors?

Essentially these newly developed spaces will support creative activity by providing dedicated spaces that display some of the following:

  • A space that reflects the activity that is going to go on inside: If you intend to ‘preach and teach’ to a passive audience then you need a space where the seats are in rows and the teacher is at the head of the class, however if you want to create open learning spaces where all participants become teachers and learners together, then a different form is needed. Open and flexible areas that allow for democratic control of space is vital to break the mould of teacher/learner. Teaching artists thrive in spaces where they are able to move between being primarily a teacher or a learner. Creating spaces where participants become researchers through practice is critical in empowering individuals and groups through creativity.
  • Spaces that enable interdisciplinary approaches: Open spaces encouraging users to use a variety of materials in a range of ways are important in supporting imaginative playfulness. Providing space that doesn’t feel too precious is critical is supporting creative risk.
  • A place that gives status to teaching artistry: for too long Teaching Artists have had to ‘make-do’ with secondary places to deliver programs. A Teaching Artist, or Socially Engaged Artist, will benefit from purpose designed spaces that enable them to do their job the best they can. This will reflect on their work and give higher status to their outcomes for participants, as well as modelling good practice for others.
  • Places for people to gather and be together: Creative activities give people the opportunities to build new and solid relationships through shared making. Collaborative creativity builds trust and empathy, allowing people to share their viewpoints of the world. In addition these spaces offer the opportunity for Teaching Artists and their colleagues to gather and share practice – building their capacity to improve their own work and build the capacity of their sector.
  • Embedding storytelling through the arts within spaces of history: Refurbishing old buildings that contain a sea of stories from the past encourages a new cycle of storytelling and sharing of new personal and cultural experiences.
  • Flexibility in design that supports inclusive engagements by the public: People need a variety of learning resources and materials – offering spaces where that flexibility is inherent supports diversity and personalised learning and sharing. With ongoing projects, participants of all ages are able to become co-designers of the spaces in which they are working – encouraging higher engagement and a greater sense of ownership.
  • Spaces that evidence sustainability describe how the practice of making and doing can also embrace sustainable approache: Authentic and well-worn materials provide highly suitable environments encouraging the use of similarly authentic and recycled materials by teaching artists and participants alike.
  • Creative Dreaming: Simply the idea of spaces that support creative dreaming and innovative cross-overs of cultural and social expectations can free participants in creative programs to ‘think outside the box’ and be more exploratory themselves.
  • Playfulness and fun: A playfulness with materials, place names and resources will encourage the interactions between artists and participants to be fun and enjoyable. These will become places for people to laugh and create together.
  • Enlightened leadership: Places where the leadership and curation of the spaces is open to multimodal creativity and learning, and where creative risk is encouraged supports the long-term creation of cohesive and productive engaged citizens. The leadership of these spaces is so frequently overlooked and is critical to building a team of like-minded staff at all levels within the building.

These spaces embody a set of values that embrace inclusion, sustainability and democracy. They acknowledge that creating together in intergenerational groups fosters a sense of ownership, engagement and citizenship. Sharing recipes becomes symbolic of sharing culture, and creating large drawings together reflects a trust and celebration of difference.

Do we need these spaces for teaching artistry to flourish? Good teaching artistry has survived without, but what a difference to have new purpose built spaces bringing more people into the world of making and offering Teaching Artists an opportunity to develop new approaches and ideas in inspiring and open environments. These spaces represent the future – a new way of working and creating together.

I wish these new spaces in Korea all the best and intend to be back at ITAC 2020 when I might get the opportunity to visit them again to see how they are doing!

We hope to facilitate a visit by Hyejin Yang, Program Co-ordinator International Affairs Team, to Australia in 2019 to meet the ArTELIER team and present at a meeting in Sydney for potential delegates to ITAC 2020 in Seoul.

See this article in Korean at


ArTELIER 2018 – Valuing Youth Arts: as a stepping stone and place of experimentation

artelieryoutharts1This session of ArTELIER had a focus around Youth Arts. Bella Young, a core member of the ArTELIER team and as a young artist, presented her practice as a dancer, from recent overseas residencies, and the key provocation was from 10 year old Jack who is a member of North Tasmanian Youth dance group Stompin’.

jack Jack took some time off school to speak about what drew him to be interested in dance and how Stompin’ has allowed him to develop skills and personal confidence.  It was powerful to have a young person presenting their views  and answering questions from the group.

During the day the ArTELIER group was split between Hobart and Launceston (with the main activity taking place in the Tamar Valley).

The group spoke about strategies to address barriers to youth arts engagement and shared latest news and issues around individual practice and projects.

ArTELIER 2018 – on Country


Decolonising our practice was led by Ruth Langford and Sinsa Mansell. Ruth said “In the spirit of decolonisation we are changing the framework for our day. Starting at ‘the Springs’ on Kunanyi and embracing whatever comes, particularly weather wise. We will take a walk and learn directly from the most powerfu provocateurs – ‘Country’. After a shared making session in the afternoon we will then journey down the mountain to attend an event at UTAS where Uncle Jimmy Everett will share his knowledge around identity and belonging.” After we said:

oncountry1“I still cannot distill and explain all of the effects, but after asking country to help me find my country, I met a woman at the university who was from the country where my maternal grandfather was born.  Within hours of asking, we connected and I am leaving for two weeks on that country in Victoria tomorrow with her fascinating stories and places to travel with.  I am looking forward to deepening the work with Ruth and I may quite possibly craft an answer to Jim’s question of identity.  What a thought provoking talk he gave.” T


“(Gratitude) to Ruth, for tearing down our barriers and giving us the space to connect, being present with us on a day when you were also dealing with life and death. To Sinsa for holding the space for us with your honesty and breath. To everyone for sharing their experience and vulnerability.” S

oncountry2.jpg“I think we all felt deeply ‘moved’ by our individual and group experiences and that this emotional impact is a reflection of the trust we share and how much we have bonded as a team.” K




ArTELIER 2018 – Building the value of the arts in education


A day of building the value of the creative arts in education, led by Tullia Chung-Tilley and Andy Vagg. Provocation from Eric Booth Exploring how to develop a creative culture within a school environment, that has a focus on creativity, social cohesion, exploring ideas and problem solving. Pictured is ‘Plastic Fantastic’ open ended art play, inviting conversations on sustainability and other curly questions. We said:

artelierbooth“I have often felt that reflection is undervalued with in the arts community, with a focus on the present and future projects, so am incredibly grateful for the space that Artelier has set up for reflection and listening to/with colleagues.” B

“To Tullia and Andy, a day of embodied play, adaptive and generous brass tacks know-how! Watching you both move in the Education space was a real inspiration.” S

arteliertulia“I was overwhelmed with a such a sense of belonging and a feeling of common ground and language with so many amazing people.” Sh

“It’s been a challenging path trying to work out the semantics for myself, I am working on it and how my pedagogy and arts practice meld, cross weave, separate, and contribute to young people. I appreciate the opportunity for growth and self-questioning.  Gratitude.” T


In this session there was a provocation from Eric Booth, zooming in from New York. In many ways Eric is the founder of the teaching artist movement, particularly in the USA. We were very lucky to have Eric to present to us a short history of the teaching artist movement in the USA together with some key factors around working in school environments. Make a coffee and enjoy his presentation here: there is a small blip in the middle but just run through that)

Artelier presenting at ITAC4 in New York – Simon and Victoria and Leigh and Kirsty

ITAC4aSimon and Victoria presented at the Fourth International Teaching Artist Conference at the Lincoln Centre in New York. They delivered a joint hands-on session  with Simon running the ‘self assembly’ public participatory workshop while  Victoria showed how to document such programs through simple book making techniques.

Kirsty Grierson and Leigh Tesch presented their work in the Small Stories Project at an International Teaching Artists Conference (ITAC4).  Small Stories promotes oral storytelling and creative play through performance and workshops for babies and children under 5yrs and their parents/carers. In the workshop, delegates created their own stories that reflected their own practice and engagement with communities.   It was inspiring and valuable to meet with other artists from around the world committed to creating quality early learning theatre and story experiences to encourage growth, development and relationship building in the early years of

ArTELIER 2018 – The voice of the child

img_7533.jpgSession two of ArTELIER, centred around the Voice of the Child. Following a powerful provocation by Lenine Burke, around the notion of public pedagogy and what have we to learn from children about public space, this session’s group worked together throughout the day on activities and discussion, ending with a team solution building exercises for a real world artist-in-school issue.


We said: “For me the key strengths of Artelier are listening, reflecting, sharing, inquiring and developing a space of trust to support each others’ learnings.” B

The group worked in groups and identified and drew their communities of practice as archipelagos.



ArTELIER 2 Jul 2018-4

Lenine Bourke gave the provocation for this session – you can see that provocation here:

ArTELIER 2018 – Engagement and participation

Thirteen Tasmanian artists gathered for the first day of the ArTELIER program. This first group of artists gathered at all that we are for the morning to get a provocation from Tim Humphrey and Madelaine Flynn, “Engagement and Participation”, worked on the key themes for the next sessions of the program and then in the afternoon took part in Simon’s self assembly public participatory work at The Peter Underwood Centre.



ArTELIER 2018 – planning session

ArTELIERweek1A core group of six artists came together to prepare for the first day of the ArTELIER project today. Sharing practice, co-planning the program and meeting up with our key partner, The Peter Underwood Centre in Hobart. The Peter Underwood Centre and the Department of Education in Tasmania will support the connection of the project to teachers across the state and are providing venue and tech connectivity and hardware to enrich the program.

Expressions of interest for new project in Tasmania


ArTELIER: Artists in Tasmania: Ecology of Learning, Intergenerational Exchange and Reflection

ArTELIER is a new project that invests in Tasmanian young people by empowering the artists who work with them.  ArTELIER will build the capacity of the Tasmanian arts ecology of artists, creative activists and educators who currently work, or wish to work, with children and families.

ArTELIER has been developed by experienced practitioner artists in partnership with the Peter Underwood Centre, supported by Nayri Niara and Salamanca Arts Centre. This project is a Learning Exchange, so that artists share resources and learning to strengthen the sector’s practice and have a powerful impact on Tasmanian children’s creativity, learning and cultural citizenship.12 core participating artists from across Tasmania will meet, face to face or via video-link, to co-design and deliver a series of eight Learning Exchange sessions.  Each session may involve an artist/provocateur, and an ‘Open Pedagogy’ session where additional arts educators are invited to broaden the discussion. The technology of the Peter Underwood Centre provides multiple online video links to interstate expert provocateurs and statewide participants, and production facilities to create online video resources for artists and teachers.

Applications to be a core artist on this project in 2018 have now closed.

This project was assisted through Arts Tasmania by the Minister for the Arts.