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ArtWorks Navigator - understanding professional development for community artists

The Navigator partnership is made of the following oganisations:

  • A+, a partnership strategy that pools the best of a-n The Artists Information Company and Artquest’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD) remit
  • engage
  • Foundation for Community Dance (FCD)
  • National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE)
  • Sound Sense

...who as national strategic organisations reach 24,600 music, dance, writing and visual artists working in participatory settings.

What is it?

A strategic alliance to network knowledge about national occupational standards, codes of conduct, research, professional development and routes to professional practice across art forms. Working with artist employers, government, Higher Education and training providers across the UK, the programme will add value to what the partners already achieve in delivering support for artists and aims to support more of a collective voice for participatory artists across art form.

How will Navigator achieve this?
The programme is in three phases:

  • Phase 1 - 2011: Mapping research on already existing standards, codes of conduct, and quality assurance frameworks across art form. Consultation to develop relevant research and output for phases 2 and 3 to support artists working in participatory settings where they need it most.
  • Phase 2 - 2012: Comparisons of methodologies and pedagogies in different settings, and UK wide research on what is needed for improvement on progression routes for artists
  • Phase 3 - 2013/14: Conference and sharing of research findings, putting in place systems for shared CPD resource across partner organisations and continued legacy of shared professional framework for participatory artist.


“We will use our national networks to help navigate more people to inspiring examples of practice and research, which will include the work of our fellow Paul Hamlyn Foundation (PHF) pathfinders as well as the findings that arise from our own public research and professional development programmes. The significance of this project is the space it gives us to clarify the new and shifting landscapes of workforce and professional development for participatory arts practice. The Navigator Pathfinder aims to be an effective advocate that works across art form in support of professional development for participatory artists across the UK.”

Who funds it?
Navigator is part of ArtWorks, a Paul Hamlyn Special Initiative, which seeks to improve the training infrastructure in higher education and arts organisations, benefiting artists at all stages in their careers and enhancing the experience of all those working with them. The initiative is supported and cofunded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Creativity Culture & Education (supported by Arts Council England) and the Cultural Leadership Programme.

Who leads Navigator?
Lead contact: Jên Angharad, Foundation for Community Dance jen@communitydance.org.uk

Navigator news

What better practice looks like
Associate member ArtWorks has published a series of papers describing quality practice in participatory arts

How to hire community musicians
Sound Sense has published its research into how community music organisations hire the musicians they work with

Participatory arts in HE and FE, Lancaster *15-16 April 2013
Changing the conversation is a conference exploring the initial education and professional development of artists working in participatory settings

Do you hire community musicians? We want to hear your views
Sound Sense is finding out what makes a great community musician. If you hire or employ musicians working in participatory settings it wants your views on how you select the best for your work

Have your say on standards for community musicians
There’s a new set of draft standards describing the qualities community musicians should possess, and we want your views on them

Learning about community music
Where can community musicians (and other artists working in participatory settings) read about their craft and context? From the resources in this extensive bibliography!

The Paul Hamlyn Foundation has launched a £1.47million special initiative to support the continuing professional development of artists working in participatory settings, and Sound Sense is to be part of it

Navigator is a fantastic new initiative designed to support artists in their professional development and has been awarded a grant of £181,500 across the next three years from Paul Hamlyn Foundation ArtWorks programme