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You're On Mute


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You’re On Mute is a series of online workshops and webinars specially designed for arts educators and practitioners with an interest in participatory and engagement projects that work with older people, or individuals that are isolated or vulnerable. The sessions are split over three afternoons and will be led by Chris Rolls (Senior Project Manager at 64 Million Artists), Lara Ratnaraja (Cultural Consultant specialising in diversity, innovation, leadership) and Sarah Bailey (Arts Educator and Facilitator).

Each workshop will offer the opportunity to exchange and learn best practice in digital arts and participation. We will share different projects and experiences of engaging ageing and intergenerational audiences with digital arts and creative technologies to create artistic work. The knowledge generated during these workshops will culminate in a set of resources for arts organisations and artists to reflect on in their own approaches and practices.

You’re On Mute is a free, online event and will take place on Zoom. To join us, please register by using the booking link above.

Live captioning will be available for these sessions. All speakers will audio describe themselves and state their pronouns. If you have any questions about access arrangements please contact us by emailing us at

Session 1: How do you design digital spaces for older participants?

This workshop, facilitated by Chris Rolls of 64 Million Artists and joined by panellists John Whall and Dawn Carroll, will focus on how digital spaces can be designed with, and for, older people. There will be a panel presentation of best practice example projects followed by a Q&A and the chance to join smaller breakout groups for a more in-depth and open conversation between attendees and the panellists.

This workshop will host a sharing of ideas, experiences and knowledge for people who are interested in working with older people, and think about who the stakeholders are and who has agency. This session aims to share best practice about digital tools, inclusive and dynamic approaches and to inspire you with what can be achieved by designing digital spaces to engage older participants.

Facilitator: Chris Rolls

Chris is a Senior Project Manager at 64MA leading on creative wellbeing and mental health projects. He has collaborated on various place-based projects with older communities. In partnership with Leicester Ageing Together, he developed, a simple platform providing creative resources for groups. Chris regularly works with third sector organisations and local authorities, as well as cities and boroughs of culture. He is currently working with Coventry City of Culture Trust 2021 on their community engagement strategy and runs the Coventry Community Connectors programme. Chris leads 64MA training and development courses in online facilitation, citizen-led culture and co-creation and leading creative communities. He has a background in community theatre and opera projects, working internationally. He is also a psychotherapist working with individuals and groups in private practice.

Panellists: John Whall

John has over 15 years’ experience working in arts engagement and project management and is the Digital Participation Curator at QUAD in Derby, developing the delivery of QUAD’s participatory and creative wellbeing programmes, engaging participants in arts and contemporary culture through digital media. John is also a Creative Digital Producer and Consultant, providing specialist sector support through digital skills, knowledge and experience, to help participatory, learning and socially engaged organisations to realise their digital ambitions.

GoldsQUAD is a relaxed, friendly group for anyone 50+ who is interested in creativity, learning new skills, trying new challenges in a supportive environment and working with other people. Sessions are led by visiting artists and creative practitioners.

QUAD’s Minecraft programme explores our gallery themes, create games and take on challenges on laptops and even in VR. Activities include our regular MinecraftCLUB, MinecraftLAB workshops, SEND provisions, family sessions, bespoke programme for specialist groups and even being a MINECON Earth Party venue!

Twitter: @john_whall and @derbyquad /

Panelist: Dawn Carroll

Dawn Carroll is the Relationship Programme Manager for the award-winning House of Memories, a dementia awareness programme at National Museums Liverpool. Dawn leads on the development of partnerships, nationally and internationally, and works collaboratively with colleagues in museums, health and social care. She played a key role in the creation of the ‘My House of Memories’ app, a museum resource that was co-created with people living with dementia, and is leading on a new immersive museum experience for older people. Dawn also has a strategic role in the Happy Older People network, which brings together arts, health and older people in the Liverpool City Region.

House of Memories On The Road is a brand new initiative, due to be launched in June 2021. It is a mobile museum experience which uses a walk-in cinema, with sensory prompts such as music and sounds to immerse people in scenes from the past that they can interact with. Transported using a custom-built vehicle, the House of Memories On The Road will be visiting care, health and community settings to reach those people that may not be able to reach the museum.

House of Memories / Twitter: @house_memories / Facebook: @thehouseofmemories

Happy Older People / Twitter: @HOPLiverpool

Session 2: How can we reframe collaboration and exchange in digital spaces to enable inclusivity when working with older people?

In this webinar, facilitated by Lara Ratnaraja and joined by panelists Justin Wiggan, Sara Jo Harrison and Dinos Aristidou, we will consider what we have learned by working digitally during the Covid-19 pandemic and what we should continue when restrictions have been lifted. There will be a panel presentation of best practice example projects, followed by a facilitated discussion and a Q&A.

Together, we will address how people have taken over digital spaces and made them their own during the pandemic and consider how we can use digital spaces for collaboration and exchange, particularly when working with older people.

Facilitator: Lara Ratnaraja

Lara is a cultural consultant specialising in diversity, innovation, leadership, collaboration and cultural policy implementation within the HE, cultural and digital sector. She develops projects and policy on how cultural and digital technology intersect for a number of national partners as well as programmes around diversity, leadership, resilience and business development for the arts and creative industries. Lara sits across myriad equality and arts council boards including Equality Monitoring Group for Arts Council Wales, Vivid Projects and the Derby Theatres board.

Lara is a co-producer of RE:Present and ASTONish; supporting the development of cultural leaders from diverse backgrounds so that the cultural ecology of the city better reflects its changing demographic. They are currently delivering AD:Vantage a leadership programme that places the vantage point of d/Deaf, neurodivergent and disabled creative practitioners at the heart of leadership.

Panellist: Justin Wiggan

Justin Wiggan is an artist working at the frontier of arts and public intervention. His practice includes a range of media from sound, phonics, film, drawing, installation, interventions and performance, and has also attracted collaboration across the medical research and creative industries sectors.

His works have been exhibited nationally and internationally: B.O.M Birmingham, Protein Gallery London, Baltic Gallery, Citric Gallery Italy, Gigantic Art Space New York. His aim is to educate, share and engage people with sound as a creative field and reconnect with their lives using sound art.

He also extends his artistic practice into collaborative research in galleries, youth homes, and public access spaces with community groups and leading workshops within areas of vulnerable elements of society, palliative care, mental health and education, including Glass Twin LTD, a company who uses sound as a tool to promote mental wellbeing through technology, reflection, nostalgia and memory.

Justin will be discussing: This Ark is too Small: The creation of digital empathy bridges and balancing of obligation, are we farming a "need" to comfort our own guilt?

Links: Listening Passport / Internal Garden / Book Sniffers Club / Life Echo / I Wish I Could Sing Like A Bird / BBC Sounds: Names In The Sky

Panellist: Sara Jo Harrison

Sara manages Arts Council England’s strategic funding programme Celebrating Age and Creative People and Places, she also supports the Director and Engagement and Audiences team in delivering Arts Council England’s strategic objectives around increasing engagement opportunities for communities in the context of Arts Council England’s 10 year strategy Let’s Create. Sara has previously worked in a number of audience development and marketing roles within the arts and culture sector, in the North East of England and Scotland, including for National Glass Centre, Cryptic, National Youth Orchestras of Scotland and Forma Arts and Media.

Twitter: @sarajoarts

Panellist: Dinos Aristidou

Dinos is artistic director of Hear Us Out, a digital verbatim production and series of events working with older people and the collected stories of older LGBTQ+ people in the South East. He is also currently artistic director of the global digital verbatim production, Memoir of an Extraordinary Year working with 60 young people around the world performing each other’s stories of their experience of 2020. He is Creative Learning Director for UCAN Productions, working with blind and partially sighted performers.

Dinos has worked on a number of verbatim theatre projects working with different communities in the UK and overseas. He has also recently developed and run a project with Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama exploring creating collaborative theatre digitally as a form of inclusive theatre.

Session 3: What can we learn about digital engagement when creating art with people of different ages?

This workshop, facilitated by Sarah Bailey and joined by panellists Jack Tan, Emma Case and Learning Manager Lucía Arias, will focus on digital engagement processes when working with both older and younger participants. There will be a panel presentation of best practice example projects followed by a Q&A, and the opportunity to join smaller breakout groups for a more in-depth and open conversation between attendees and the panellists.

This workshop is for artists, producers and creative practitioners to share their ideas and experience in the use of digital engagement to create art with participants of different ages. Together, we will explore what we are learning about creating art with people of different ages in digital spaces.

Facilitator Biography: Sarah Bailey

Sarah is interested in listening. As a facilitator and arts educator, her aim is to create new narratives & learning through conversation and collaboration with people, places and organisations. Much of Sarah's work focuses on children and young people, and the adults who work with them.

Panellist: Jack Tan

Jack makes work that explores the connection between the social, the legal and art. Using social relations and cultural norms as material, he creates performances, performatives, sculpture, video and participatory projects that highlight the rules - customs, rituals, habits and theories - that guide human behaviour.

Prior to becoming an artist, Jack trained as a lawyer and worked in civil litigation as well as in NGOs undertaking human rights case, policy and anti-racist campaigning work. He then studied ceramics, obtaining a BA from the University of Westminster and an MA from the Royal College of Art. In 2020, Jack completed his Ph.D in legal aesthetics and performance at the University of Roehampton, Dept of Drama, Theatre and Performance. Jack is a co-editor of the Art/Law Journal.


Emma Case is a photographer specialising in projects that explore home, memory and place. Focusing particularly on nostalgia and the ‘everyday’, Emma is interested in working with individuals and communities, working collectively, and building real relationships over time. Collecting photographs, stories and documenting change.

She is currently an Artist in Residence with Open Eye Gallery working with Clickmoor, a local community group in Liverpool on a process-led photography project. The initial residency between Open Eye Gallery and MyClubmoor (an initiative based in North Liverpool) culminated in EXPOSED, a work in progress exhibition shown at MyClubmoor in 2020.

The project is continuing and has been running via zoom through lockdown. Clickmoor have just launched their LOCKDOWN Zine and are currently working towards their final exhibition at Open Eye Gallery in September 2021.

You’re on Mute is a series of online workshops hosted by FACT as part of Young At Art, a partnership between FACT, Open Eye Gallery and National Museums Liverpool and funded by Arts Council England and The Baring Foundation.

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