Emergence - how to create a pop-up exhibition in three weeks!

By Christine Howell, Diploma in Art and Contemporary Craft - 2nd Year

As part of our second assignment in our final year, we were required to put on a group exhibition with just three weeks notice! The only parameters set were the date, time and that it was to be a collaborative event.

We had a couple of hours left in college to work together before we all left for our homes which are scattered across England and Scandinavia. We are a resourceful bunch and quickly decided on the teams that we would need to get the show on the road.  Everyone opted for teams that played to their strengths; curation, communications, health and safety; the list goes on and jobs were allocated. We brainstormed themes to centre the exhibition around and came up with ‘Emergence’. And so the show was born!

During the three weeks, we were more glued to our computers than our paint brushes. Emails flew between us with draft project plans, artists submissions, refreshment budgets, draft communications, plans of the building, curation plans, photographs of works, health and safety plans, artists labels details, technical support plans and more. We were fortunate that there was  one afternoon when the curation team could meet and Skype to go through the submissions, evaluate their relevance to the theme of Emergence, to consider the overall balance of entries and possible placement in the gallery space.

Late morning on the set-up day, we started transformimg the Auditorium into a gallery. Once the room dividers were in the right places and the unwanted tables were hidden away, we were in a position to see whether the initial layout plans were going to work or not. It was great that about 75% of the planned locations worked. It then took a while to think through the re-placement for a few pieces, shifting room dividers to think about the flow of visitors, sight lines and balance of the art works.

As late afternoon came around we were all flagging and went out for quiet moments, a cup of tea and for some, a quick change of clothes.

Just as our indomitable health and safety queen was delivering her final dire reminders to us, the first visitors arrived. Who knew that ‘arty’ people were ever on time!

We exhibited a wide range of media; prints, paintings, textile work, film and sculptures.

The next two hours flew by. Over 70 people came and said positive things to us which made all the hard work (just about) worthwhile. We had some written comments, and here is just a selection;

  • ‘Diverse and fascinating works’
  • ‘A highly professional presentation of a confident body of work. Very enjoyable, stylish and some wit!’
  • ‘Congratulations to all the exhibitors for such an inspiring exhibition. This has enthused me to do the course after completing the FDAD. Definitely food for thought’.

Study on the DACC

The DACC is a two year part-time programme focused on developing skills essential to the successful development of a sustainable studio practice, both practical and contextual.

Find out more about studying on the Diploma in Art and Contemporary Craft (DACC) on the course page.