Last month, two members of our YDance team headed over to ITAC6 hosted by Seanse Art Center and the International Teaching Artist Collaborative (ITAC) in Oslo, Norway. 

ITAC6’s theme was ART AS A CATALYST FOR CHANGE, exploring the intersections of arts with education, health, environment, and society in the 2020s. The conference offered both in-person and online programming for delegates. 

Kelly Shearer, our Head of Participation, was invited to present a session from her working experience within our Cashback for Change project here at YDance. Kelly’s practical session titled, “Dance for change in a juvenile prison/secure context,” looked at the practice developed by YDance artists to engage and cultivate young offenders’ confidence, resilience, well-being, and creativity. Each activity was underpinned by the learning and new questions garnered from YDance’s work within the project. The session focussed on how dance can help young people to change their self-perception and how we give “freedom” to incarcerated young people through dance—delivered alongside our Head of Education, Linzi McLagan. 

 “It was an honour to be invited to present our CashBack for Change-focused work at ITAC6, and to share our learning with teaching artists from around the world. Equally, it was energising and inspiring to attend the conference as a delegate, learn from like-minded artists, and learn more about their projects for positive social change.”- Kelly 

ITAC conferences are a dedicated gathering space for artists who work in communities, schools, and beyond, using their practice to create positive social change. The conferences take place in a different part of the world every 2 years, and provide Teaching Artists (known by different titles such as community artist, participatory artist, socially engaged artist etc.) with space for international networking, professional development, accessing next, best, and radical practices, partnership building, knowledge exchanges and more. 

As well as attending ITAC6 to share our learning on our Cashback for Change project, it was a privilege to experience workshops and gain insight into socially engaged practice from a range of professionals that have impacted social change worldwide. Following attending ITAC5, it was great to finally meet and interact with teaching artists I connected with and learned from virtually in 2020. The best thing about ITAC is the exchange of knowledge, experience and the sharing of effective practice. ITAC helps to develop your perceptions of each art form and consider different pedagogical approaches that can be implemented in your projects.- Linzi