Way back in January some colleagues from CSM and myself decided to apply to show at Tom’s Etching Studio in Hackney which was advertising free show space.
They had some connection with the Whitechapel too so this looked good!
There had been some interesting – looking shows, one from MA printmaking students at Camberwell, one synaesthesia -based using medicinal plants, The Secret Garden, so I thought I’d join in their application.
We’ve been looking around for somewhere cheep/ free to show together at a time that suits all of us, but isn’t easy with work and family commitments – some have young children – and a space that is feasible. Two of us live in Oxfordshire, so that presents some difficulties too.Hopefully we could apply and either have exhibited before I got busy with the MA Show or maybe show in the Summer.
Everyone met in London for a chat at the end of January and then at the beginning of Feb I set up a group Skype to discuss further. There were 6 of us all together and we managed its a video call. To be honest I was amazed that we were all there at the same time, so amazed in fact that I forgot how to screenshot and took this rubbish photo which doesn’t even show all of us!
We each had to submit short artist statement and an image each for there initial application Catherine Lette handled the group admin at this stage and sent of our Statements etc.We heard back straight away. They’d had 63 applications for the space and would get back to us.
We had to appoint a Project lead – Jonathan Shapley – as he had the best website at the time of application! and they invited him to give a Powerpoint presentation of our full proposal and asked for details of all our Social media and Follower numbers. Plus images of private views of our exhibitions as well as more images of our work, a small portfolio of inclusion in the presentation.As a group of relatively ‘mature’ artists we managed to achieve a spread of contacts, I think but this seemed to be a lot of information/evidence for one submission.
The show had to be non- selling and the space could be used experimentally. This suited us as we had not shown together. Our Proposal was rather vague, but explained that as we had not worked together as a collective before, this would be an opportunity to explore and respond to the Studio site , as a group.We would produce a collective experimental piece in addition to producing individual work.
I was in London of the Low Res at the time we had to get everything together for Jonathan to take to the interview. I was staying with Catherine so it was great to be able to fine tune the wording in each of our individual submissions before we sent them to Jonathan to put together.
A useful process though. Much more complex than we’d first though, working as a group on a proposal and submission. Finding photos of private views was interesting as mostly we had documented work not people! Note To Self: Make sure I have photos of crowds at future events!
At the end of Feb. Jonathan went to give our presentation and fed back – Space was for Friday night, Saturday, Sunday. Put up Thursday, Take Down Monday.Little passing footfall. Most viewers on the Friday PV. Some discussion about refreshments etc.
We’d decided to ask for the space in October/ November because of members of the group with small children/ holidays etc and me wanting to concentrate on the MA show form April.They seemed pleased with that.We wait to hear…..with excited anticipation.
Tom and the other organiser were ex- CSM for the same year Tutor group as Jonathan… Small world…
EDIT: Just after this post we received an email from the Administrator, Jenny at Tom’s to say that the admin would be in touch with successful applicants as she wasn’t working there any more. She sent a list of other exhibition spaces. So we have been unsuccessful… but a useful, learning collaborative experience and it made me re-hash my statement ( specific to this show but still useful) and get a small portfolio together.
Since then we’ve looked at the exhibitions held there and it seems to be more talks and professional development as well as Print Studio rather than exhibition space.
NO exhibitions since we made our submission….
Maybe next time we’ll ask more questions before we go though quite such a laboriupos process… and I wasn’t the Group Lead…. more work for Jon, and Catherine,so thanks, pals!