Front cover of In Site of Conversation, a Tate Learning publication

Front cover of In Site of Conversation: On Learning with Art, Audiences and Artists (2017), edited by Leanne Turvey, Alice Walton and Eileen Daly

The culmination of a two-year research project, this Tate Learning publication focuses on what is afforded students and teachers through being in conversation with artists and alongside art in a gallery context. Four artist-led projects are situated in a wider discourse through a series of commissioned texts that introduce the broader questions, theories and ideas currently being explored through in-gallery learning programmes.

It examines the specificity of a discursive practice that seeks to position everyone involved as a learner in relation to other learners. The content considers how affect, artist agency and collaboration impact on learning beyond the gallery, inviting readers to consider and test their own thinking in this context.

Of interest to teachers, artists, gallery and educational professionals, it invites consideration of the nature of the learning made possible and the processes by which this might be recognised.

In Site of Conversation is currently available to purchase from the Tate Modern bookshops.


Leanne Turvey and Alice Walton are Convenor for Schools and Teachers Programme, Tate Britain and Tate Modern. They each bring more than 20 years’ experience of working within learning in gallery settings
Eileen Daly is an editor and co-founder of the publishing project Akerman Daly

Anna Cutler is Director of Learning, Tate
Eve Sprague is an artist with a PhD in Fine Art practice from the Royal College of Art
Nicholas Addison is an educator and writer currently Visiting Fellow: Art, Design & Museology
Pat Thomson is Professor of Education, Nottingham University
Jo Addison is an artist and Course Director, BA Fine Art, Kingston University
Natasha Kidd is an artist and senior lecturer in Fine Art Painting at Bath School of Art and Design and currently undertaking a Fine Art practice based PhD at Ruskin School of Art
Anna Lucas is an artist and Senior lecturer at De Montfort University
Alex Schady is an artist and Fine Art Programme Leader at Central St Martins
Harold Offeh is an artist and senior lecturer in Fine Art and PhD candidate at Leeds Beckett University
Rebecca Solnit is author of, among other books, Wanderlust, A Field Guide to Getting Lost, the NBCC award-winning River of Shadows and A Paradise Built in Hell. A contributing editor to Harper’s, she writes regularly for the London Review of Books and the Los Angeles Times.

Spreads from In Site of Conversation: On Learning with Art, Audiences and Artists (2017)

Spreads from In Site of Conversation: On Learning with Art, Audiences and Artists (2017)

In Site of Conversation research project

January 2010 – December 2012

This two-year project was initially established as a period of reflective research with a group of artists* asked to consider an intersection between their practice and the content and structure of the learning programme on offer for schools at Tate Modern. Designed to explore how to work with artists in a way that would more closely inform programme, the project evolved into a series of interventions, events and pilot projects.

The Tanks Live Art Salon, Photo © Tate

The Tanks Live Art Salon
Photo © Tate

Each artist’s developing research was shared at regular meetings with the Schools and Teachers team and the other artists in the group. Structured to last for up to four hours and without an agenda, these sessions became a place to test out ideas within the context of discussions on current issues impacting on education and artists’ practice in Learning settings in the museum. At intervals throughout the two-year period the material of the process of supporting the artists’ work (emails, documentation, plans and transcripts) were gathered together in a journal. An unedited document that evolved alongside the project and reveals the workings, reworkings and shifts in position and plan as things developed.

New approaches and perspectives on programming for schools in an art museum were tested through the projects, events and shared discussions, culminating in the publication of In Site of Conversation.

*Artists involved: Jo Addison, Eitan Buchalter, Emma Hart, Dean Kenning, Natasha Kidd, Anna Lucas, Harold Offeh, Alex Schady, Eve Sprague (Peasnall) and Richard Whitby.