As part of the 201 module we all had to organise and run an exhibition, this could be with old work, new work or work from other people. Essentially we are not getting marked on the content of the exhibition or the night itself but our reflection of the experience. This part of the course really excited me, from the beginning I knew it would be a lot of work, what with a lot of other modules also running at the same time, however this is something that I am interested in doing in the future, so what a perfect time to gain experience! When choosing the groups that we were in it was important that we picked these on our interests not by just forming a group with our friends. I feel like my group successfully did this, and in some way or another we were all interested in fashion.
Somewhere along the line I feel like this initially got lost. The original plan for our exhibition was to concentrate on senses and in particular sound. We planned to create new work for our exhibition and support a deaf community charity, aiming to raise awareness and money if possible. Although this is something that many of us were passionate about, making a statement through fashion, we really made things to complicated for ourselves and decided to make this simpler. By changing our idea to just fashion we were able to use previous work, which decreased our workload a lot. We didn’t want our exhibition to be the run of the mill white walled exhibition but something a bit different. In the end we decided to make this more of an event, we did this by collaborating with the fashion students. On the opening night of our exhibition we had a catwalk which lasted about half an hour, this exhibited the fashion students designs and really brought the whole idea of fashion to the event. Our images were on the walls of the exhibition; both of these parts complimented each other well.
At the start of the module we started a sketchbook, which we later referred to as the ‘MODA bible’. This was kept and authored by Lily, our project manager, however everyone had an input into this. Our weekly jobs/tasks were recorded in this and it really was a great way to keep track of everything. See images of this below.
My particular role was mainly financing and venue. I found that quite early on I had a lot of jobs to do as most of the stuff under my job title needed to be sorted early, such as the venue. If this wasn’t done in time then the whole exhibition could have been a disaster, if the venue wasn’t right then the whole feel of the event would of been off. I think this was one of the hardest things, especially as there were three other groups looking for a venue for the same week. When we saw the box at Fargo Village we knew that this was what we were looking for. The space had wooden walls, which avoided the general white wall look, and the space was really big. This wouldn’t have been suitable for a general exhibition, however was perfect with the addition of a catwalk. I was the point of contact between the venue and our group; this saved any confusion or duplicated questions and worked really well. I feel like I was organised and sorted out everything in plenty of time. Below is a picture of the venue with the lighting set up for the catwalk.
The financing side of my job lasted the whole time, as a group we were lucky to get funding from a company called Play Place. From this we got £500 which covered everything for our exhibition. For this I planned how much money could be spent where so we didn’t overspend. This was a rough guide and I allowed extra for a few things. See this below.
Drinks: £110 (about 45 bottles of wine)
Zine- could print a few each at uni to save money?
I also planned a few different ways we could raise some more money if we needed it. Luckily we didn’t however it was my job to make sure that we didn’t need to go into our own pockets. Here are a few of the ideas that I came up with:
201 Fund raising ideas:
- Bake sale/ jewellery sale- if lily has made anything?
- Offer photo shoots for money
- Offer editing of images for money
- Pub quiz- £1/£2 per entry
- Play Place- £500
- John E Wrights- Emailed, they don’t sponsor these sort of events
- Bubble Tea- Emailed, not established enough to sponsor events
- Lidls- Only sponsor things with a deeper meaning- for a charity maybe
I feel like I covered a lot of things and even things that I didn’t necessarily need to, this covered our backs as I had planned for everything. As I previously said, I felt like most of my work was finished quite early on. I saw it important that I went to the weekly meetings that we had, by doing so I was able to have an input on everything and pick up jobs if people were struggling. Not only this but as a group we need support and if one person stops turning up this really would effect the group and cause other issues. By attending these weekly meetings it was an efficient way to make sure that everything that needed to be done was, without these it would have been hard to see what we had done and what still needed to be done. One of the extra jobs that I picked up was designing the leaflet that would be available at our event, below is a copy of this.
As well as meeting weekly we also had a whatsapp group which included everyone, this allowed us to easily talk in between meetings and keep people up to date if they were unable to attend.
From the beginning we knew we wanted a good turn out to our event, who wouldn’t? We decided by collaborating with people the word would be spread quicker. Obviously we promoted our event, through Twitter, Facebook and posters however the more people involved the more people would be invited. We had photographers, designers, journalists, models and media coverage all involved. From this we managed to pull off an event that really was a risk, the main worry being that the catwalk would overpower the event and take away from the photography, however this wasn’t the case. Guests turned up early and also stayed after the catwalk to admire the work on the walls. By having photographers, media coverage and journalists there we were able to get a documentation and coverage of the event without having to do this ourselves. See some of the images, a video and article below.
Although planning this exhibition was a lot of work and stress it was definitely successful and worth it! I think my group got caught up in all the negatives whilst we were planning which caused a few issues. In the future I know that although there are bound to be negatives to also look at the positives. As a group we achieved a lot and pulled off a big event, this is something to be proud of!
See a few pictures from the event, dress rehearsal and set up below.
What have I learnt?
Time management: My time management has always been fairly good, however setting deadlines definitely helps. These may not be official deadlines but having something to work towards definitely helps. Working in a group I also have learnt that other peoples time management will effect me, if I can it is good to help them as much as possible if they are struggling, this will prevent any further issues in the future.
Experience: Although I have had my work in exhibitions before this is the first time that I have been part of the organisation of an exhibition. This as really helped, as I now know what works and what doesn’t, in the future I think that I will be able to plan an exhibition more efficiently than MODA.
Other people: Whilst organising an event like this everything isn’t going to run smoothly and you will feel like other people aren’t pulling their weight, instead of stressing about this encourage them.
Networking: From this event I have gained several contacts and have gained other pieces of work from it, this is a great way to get my name out as a photographer!