Call for proposals
14th – 16th September 2018
New Extended Deadline: Friday 20th July

Tracing the Pathway are currently accepting proposals for papers to be presented at the Situating the Groundwork : Initiatives, Infrastructures and Interventions symposium as part of the Groundwork Weekender to be held across various sites in Milton Keynes. This event is organised as part of a cross-sector initiative between artistic, academic, commercial, and civic partners and therefore may be of interest to artists, cultural organisers, policy makers, urban geographers, town planners and members of local authority who are interested in engaging in cities as sites of fertile artistic and conceptual ground. The aim of this symposium is to encourage a space for researchers from a range of backgrounds and interests to connect and share their work, examples of best practice, and debate the future of socially-engaged, site-responsive arts practice.

We welcome all modes of presentations on practice, policy and research and encourage individuals to share their experience, knowledge, anecdotes on one of the following areas (although you should not be limited to):


  • Cultural Infrastructures: What are the necessary components for developing a city with a strong artistic identity. 
  • Artistic Networks: Establishing, supporting and developing the growth of creative communities within urban areas.
  • Grassroots/artist-led/artist-centred approaches to working with residents and community groups.
  • Impact and Participation: Assessing cultural demographics, market analysis and evaluating the impact of arts on urban societies and alternative strategies for creating programmes and facilities that attend to these people’s needs and interests.
  • Cultural Migration: Why do artists leave their hometowns to seek communities in major cities, does this cause a cultural drain and how can we plug this drain?
  • Identity Crises: How do maligned towns overcome a sense of negativity and build an identity as an artistically vibrant place?
  • Art and Culture in New Towns: Plans for art provision in the development of new towns, artistic provision in new towns today, and the future of new towns in the artistic landscape.
  • Art or Heritage: The relationship between art, culture, heritage and urban or suburban landscapes. 
  • Social Explorations and Interventions: Examples of political, architectural and performance interventions that activate sites or invite residents to engage with sites.
  • Other keywords may include: place, performance, interdisciplinary arts, site, suburbia, new towns, city, networks, walking, architecture (and many others you may consider apt)


Submissions and Deadline

We are inviting submissions for 15 minute papers and 30 minute debate panels. Other creative and innovative approaches are welcomed. If you are interested in participating, please send a proposal of no more than 350 words and short bio of no more than 150 words.

Deadline: 5pm Friday 20th July

Please send all proposals to Ashleigh Bowmott and Cara Davies at

Successful proposals will be notified by Friday 27th July. If you have already applied to the initial deadline of 6th July, we will still be in touch by 13th July as initially promised.

The symposium will be free to attend, and will include all access to the Groundwork Weekender events.


Groundwork Weekender

This symposium will form part of the Groundwork Weekender, a three-day celebration and exploration of Milton Keynes: Its heritage, landscape, mobility, architecture, people, sites and sounds. 

The Groundwork Weekender presents an ambitious and diverse programme of performances, talks, walks, exhibitions, film screenings and social meeting points, each entirely created for and in response to MK. Unique commissions for Milton Keynes by: Aaron James, Anna Berry, Beatrice Jarvis, Camilla Nelson, Hayley Newman, Hunt and Darton, Katie Fields, Laura Cooper, Phil Smith, Priya Chohan, Sapphire Goss and Thomas Cuthbertson, will premiere at the Weekender, softly animating the city, gesturing towards the inspiring creative and cultural sites that can be found by every grassy verge; in its grid formations, underpasses, trees, and people too.

All events are free and the programme encourages both arts and non-arts audiences to engage with the work and meet the artists behind their creation. Audiences will be free to navigate their way around the programme and city, or, alternatively we invite you to join us for a three-day guided tour as we collectively journey by foot, by bike and by bus around these artworks, around this city. 

The symposium and Weekender is part of Groundwork, developed by artist collective Tracing the Pathway. Groundwork is a performance and research project about Milton Keynes, which curates unique artworks for the town, supports the development of artists, and provides a platform artists to make deep, long-lasting connection the city. This programme, in parallel to the Weekender, has been generously supported with funding from Arts Council England, Milton Keynes Community Foundation, Pedalling Culture (a Cultural Destinations project by Arts Council England), Milton Keynes Arts Centre and Sharing Culture: MK.