• Critical Mass: National Outdoor Arts Conference 2015
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CRITICAL MASS 2015: The National Outdoor Arts Conferenceback to all events

24 November, 2015 - 25 November, 2015

| £50 - £180

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This year, we are excited to bring you the 2015 edition of The National Outdoor Arts Conference: Critical Mass, a chance to gather together and generate plans, ideas, schemes and strategies to take our work forward with renewed energy. Critical Mass is a meeting point for everyone involved with Outdoor Arts, from artists, directors, technicians and producers, through to representatives from local authorities, agencies, venues, strategic initiatives and national funding bodies.

Critical Mass is the first ISAN conference led by our new Executive Director, Angus MacKechnie, fresh from a decade of producing Watch This Space Festival at the National Theatre. Over two packed days, we’ll look at why we do what we do, how we can do it better and exchange practical knowledge, experience and news. We’ll take stock of where we’ve come from and make plans for the future, particularly with Hull 2017 around the corner. There will be exhilarating presentations from inspiring speakers, the much-valued Ideas Summit – a key opportunity to share plans between artists and programmers – and probably the only time this year you’ll eat dinner in an aquarium!


Speakers and facilitators include Bev Adams (Faceless), Orit Azaz (Something Good 300), Daniel Bernstein & Deb Mullins (Emergency Exit Arts), Neil Butler (UZ Arts), Simon Chatterton (101 Creation Space),  Ajay Chhabra (Nutkhut), Alison Clark (Arts Council England), Maggie Clarke (Xtrax), Jenny Coombes (Freedom Festival), Paul Cowell (Southwark Presents), Nathan Curry & Kat Joyce (Tangled Feet), Henrietta Duckworth, Martin Green & Sam Hunt (Hull City of Culture 2017), Stella Hall (Festival of Thrift), Jo Hunter (64 Million Artists), Liz Pugh (Walk the Plank), Emma Rice (Kneehigh/Globe), Julian Rudd (Gi20), Paschale Straiton & Kim Tilbrook (NASA), Anne Torreggiani (The Audience Agency),  Isabelle Tracy (Art for Hull) & Frank Wilson (Event International) + twenty five artist presentations in the Ideas Summit and the chance to visit the Arts Council England’s One Stop Advice Shop.

We’ll be building on the incredibly useful findings of the Audience Finder report. With over 17,000 respondents, it provides the most comprehensive information about the makeup of the Outdoor Arts audience to date. Crucially, we can now prove that, compared to other art forms, our audiences are more representative of the population as a whole; we need to work out exactly how to shout about that and use the evidence to best advocate for our work.


ISAN is delighted to be partnering with the Hull UK City of Culture Team and Hull & East Yorkshire Conferences on the 2015 biennial conference. Announced as UK City of Culture 2017, Hull is preparing to host a spectacular programme on a scale never before seen in the city. The conference will feature the latest plans and opportunities and explore how the Outdoor Arts sector will be directly involved.

Critical Mass will be based at the celebrated Hull Truck Theatre, an innovative space with an appropriately pioneering history of outstanding cultural engagement. Away from the formalities, we’ll have dinner at The Deep, an important marine research and conservation centre and one of the most spectacular aquariums in the world, where we will be seated alongside the sharks for the evening meal!


Delegate registration will be open 10am-11am on Tuesday 24th November. The conference will finish at 5.30pm on Wednesday 25th of November. From London, trains depart at 7.22  and 7.30 on Tuesday and return 17.57, 18.25 and 19.10 on Wednesday. From Manchester, trains depart 7.40 and 8.41 Tuesday and return 18.49, 18.57, 19.59 and 20.03 Wednesday.  If you’re staying an additional night either side of the conference, do join us for a casual pub dinner and drinks, location TBC.


ISAN are committed to making this conference accessible for all; to this end, we have aimed to make ticket prices as reasonably priced as possible – with a big reduction from our last conference; and they’re even more affordable if you’re an ISAN member. CLICK HERE TO JOIN NOW.

There are also a limited number of affordable places for students and recent graduates.

Included in the fee, delegates will receive:

  • 2 days of presentations, workshops, debate, discussion, idea sharing and networking
  • 2 buffet lunches and refreshments served throughout the day
  • A three course meal with a glass of wine and exclusive access to The Deep
  • Reduced accommodation offers

Be quick: places are capped at 230 delegates only!

ISAN have been working with Hull & East Yorkshire Conferences to provide an accommodation booking website for delegates with rooms to suit every budget. Allocations of bedrooms have been specially negotiated with local hotels to ensure a fixed price right up until the start of the conference. All prices include breakfast and rooms can be cancelled for free until 2pm on the day of arrival.

On behalf of the Angus, Kendall and the Board of Directors, we look forward to seeing you there.


ISAN Member £130

Non-Member  £180

Student (full conference) £75

Student (without dinner) £50

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Book accommodation


24 November, 2015
25 November, 2015
£50 - £180


020 7388 9767


Hull Truck Theatre
50 Ferensway
Hull, HU28LB United Kingdom
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