Tag Archives: Connect10

Guest Post: Laura Crossley reviews Jessica Voorsanger at 20-21 Visual Arts Centre in Scunthorpe

Our latest event review guest post comes from Laura Crossley, a Heritage and Audience Development Consultant and friend of Museums at Night who discovered other worlds at 20-21 Visual Arts in Scunthorpe!

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Saturday night TV is rubbish. What, therefore, is one to do to avoid National Lottery In It To Win It and endless repeats of Come Dine With Me? (Yes, being a mere mortal, of course I like Come Dine With Me but, no, I do not feel the need to watch ten episodes a day). On Saturday 17 May, the answer to that question came in the glorious form of 20-21 Visual Art Gallery’s Sci-Fi evening.

The event, for which we have to thank the brilliant minds of the 20-21 staff and multimedia artist Jessica Voorsanger, was a frenzied explosion of everyone’s favourite Sci-Fi programmes – Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who and more, with a sprinkling of Men in Black, mixed with several hundred rolls of tinfoil and flashing disco lights, all topped off with raucous space-themed karaoke – think Venus, Walking on the Moon, Spaceman, Girl From Mars, Space Oddity; you get the picture.

The silhouette of a figure in a suit standing in a doorway in a cloud of dry ice

Jessica Voorsanger silhouetted at the entrance to 20-21 Visual Arts (c) Know Media

The evening started with a life-affirming Men in Black parade with sharp suits, shades and serious dance moves rocking the streets of Scunthorpe.

The party then moved indoors to the kitschly (I’m claiming that as a word) decorated 20-21 Gallery where staff in fabulous space attire led an array of interactive activities.

a boy in front of a tardis with a colourful paper arm

A young visitor stepping out of the Tardis with a new bionic arm

As an avid fan of silliness, my favourite activities were dressing up in a Star Trek costume and being photographed in a neon space landscape, and sitting in a chair whilst lots of small furry balls, made by the local community, cascaded onto me from on high. The latter activity was a homage to much-loved Star Trek episode, The Trouble with Tribbles, in which the Enterprise is overrun by tribbles, purring balls of fluff which multiply at rapid speed.

A girl surrounded by small fluffy objects

A young visitor experiences a Tribble trouble avalanche (c) 20-21 Visual Arts

There was life drawing with Jedi light sabers…

handmade pink light sabers

Light sabers at 20-21 Visual Arts

There was sci-fi karaoke …

Visitors could even stage a Dalek attack!

a small boy menaces his parents with a dalek

Family dalek drama (c) 20-21 Visual Arts

It seems that the answer to Saturday night TV boredom might lie somewhere in a galaxy far, far away…..or more probably at a stupendous gallery in Scunthorpe.

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a woman smilingLaura Crossley is a Heritage and Audience Development Consultant and PhD Researcher. Her website is www.lauracrossley.com and you can follow her on Twitter at @lfcrossley.

 

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Thanks, Laura!

If you’d like to write a guest post or share a case study about any aspect of audience development, event planning or marketing in the arts and heritage sector, please email rosie@culture24.org.uk.

Guest post: Third time lucky for Felicia Smith of Arnos Vale Cemetery

Our latest guest post comes from Felicia Smith of Arnos Vale Cemetery in Bristol!

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Last year Arnos Vale Cemetery entered the Connect10 competition for museum venues to win an artist. We had no idea then that it would lead us on an adventure which will come to fruition in an art installation later this summer…

A tree and silhouetted historic buildings

Arnos Vale Cemetery trees at dusk

We had already had a taste of the possibilities of bringing contemporary art to the cemetery in 2012’s competition, so when Museums at Night rolled around in 2013, we couldn’t resist entering Connect10 again.

We were looking for an artist who could help us engage our visitors in a discussion around attitudes to death, remembrance and how cemeteries should look in the future. Julia Vogl is an artist who specialises in community artworks which pose thought-provoking questions to visitors. It seemed a perfect match and Arnos Vale was lucky enough to be shortlisted – a huge honour for such a small charitable trust as ours.

There were helpful benefits too: establishing our popular “Night at the Cemetery” after-dark tours which now run through the year (and again this May for Museums at Night); and the shortlisted prize money bought us new lanterns and torches for safe after-dark exploration.

Alas, we were pipped at the post in the public vote by the Discovery Museum, Newcastle, who hosted “Collect. Select. String & Hoist,” in May 2013. It was a major disappointment, as we had been looking forward to working with Julia.

a chandelier made of plastic bottles filled with coloured paper

“Collect. Select. String & Hoist.” Julia Vogl’s 2013 Museums at Night chandelier installation at Newcastle’s Discovery Museum

Imagine our surprise then, when Rosie from the Museums at Night team got in touch a few weeks after the 2013 festival to tell us that the feeling was mutual, that Julia had already worked out a detailed project she would have loved to create at Arnos Vale if we had won her, and had asked to be put in touch with us!

Since our first excited phonecalls and meeting last August, we have been collaborating to bring Julia’s work to Arnos Vale.

A key part of the challenge has been securing funding to support our shared vision for the piece. Here is where I take my hat off to Julia, who has led the way as an experienced professional artist used to applying for grant funding. She was brilliant at drawing together all the puzzle-pieces to realise our project idea: from meeting grant advisors and crunching budget numbers, to producing glorious illustrations for the compelling project application to the Arts Council England, awarded in April 2014.

A Victorian grave ornament

The grave ornament inspiring Julia Vogl’s installation at Arnos Vale Cemetery

We are now at the exciting development stage of the Future Memorial project, which will install a year-long participatory sculpture in the cemetery landscape from June 2014.

When we were looking for a way to publicly test the prototype for Julia’s sculpture, it seemed natural to return to where it all started – Museums at Night.

Reworked version of grave ornament containing colourful gumballs.

Artist’s impression of the Future Memorial by Julia Vogl, a veteran of participatory artworks.

The Future Memorial Artist Workshop on Thursday 15th May 2014 promises to bring Art, Death & Candy to the cemetery in a unique event using discussion and gumballs. Julia explains: “your input and voice is essential for this sculpture, come take part!” We’d love it if you could join us:

http://www.arnosvale.org.uk/search-events/eventdetail/439/-/future-memorial-artist-workshop

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Felicia profile picFelicia Smith, Public Engagement Manager, Arnos Vale Cemetery Trust
Felicia has worked in the heritage sector since 2004, working on three separate Heritage Lottery Funded projects (ss Great Britain; M Shed; Arnos Vale Cemetery) which involved development and delivery of capital build and interpretive brief elements in parallel and to tight timescales and budgets.

Since 2010 she has led development of the Public Engagement programme at Arnos Vale Cemetery, including public events, collaborative partnerships and advising other historic cemetery projects.

She has a postgraduate certificate in Museum & Gallery studies (University of St Andrews, 2009), is involved in a number of professional museum bodies and is currently working towards an Associateship of the Museums Association (AMA).

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Thanks, Felicia!

If you’d like to write a guest post or share a case study about any aspect of audience development, event planning or marketing in the arts and heritage sector, please email rosie@culture24.org.uk.

 

First marketing and PR deadline is 31 January

It’s an exciting time here at C24 Towers now that the Connect10 voting period has opened – the amazing outreach that participating venues are doing to reach new audiences is really paying off.

  • In 2012, over 20,000 votes were cast during 3 weeks.
  • In 2013, over 30,000 public votes were cast during 2 weeks.
  • So far this year, over 40,000 public votes have been cast – and the polls have only been open for 10 days!

If you want your voice to be heard in deciding where our ten artists will go to lead Museums at Night events, voting is open here until 5pm on Tuesday 28 January.

A crowd of women gather together

PR makes a massive difference in attracting audiences: a large crowd gathers for a Janette Parris performance (c) Janette Parris

Publicity for your venue

If you’re looking at the publicity and media coverage that the Connect10 venues are receiving, you may be wondering how you can maximise the amount of PR that you’ll get if you run a Museums at Night event.

Our first PR deadline to register your events by is Friday 31 January.

Not sure how to register? Here’s a step-by-step guide explaining how to check whether your venue is listed on Culture24’s database, and how to upload your Museums at Night event listing.

We’re planning our event, but we’re not ready to register final details yet!

Pandora George and the team at Bullet PR are keen to hear from museums and galleries about their plans for Museums at Night 2014. They’re sending out a press release to monthly media in early February, so are very keen to hear what you’re planning – even it it is just an outline – by 31st January for inclusion in the first general release.

Pandora says:

We are particularly interested in events that are quirky, fun and unexpected – the kind of things that don’t normally go on at your venue.

We also compile press releases according to themes, for example –  “the best Museums at Night events for music/garden/art lovers” – so again, if you have any suggestions, let us know.

Finally, are also always looking for really strong press images to accompany your event. The best images will be included in our image library.  Please email any suggestions or images to pandora@bulletpr.co.uk.

We look forward to working with you all and making Museums at Night 2014 the best festival yet!

1 week extension: Apply for Connect10 artist Spencer Tunick by Friday 29 November

We’re nothing if not flexible at Museums at Night HQ, and in the run-up to the Connect10 competition we’ve had some really interesting conversations with organisations who are interested in applying for photographer Spencer Tunick but need more time to do location scouting and plan their bid.

So, we’ve extended the deadline to apply for Spencer Tunick to be your Connect10 artist until 11am on Friday 29 November.

To apply to host Spencer Tunick, simply fill in this form.

Spencer Tunick

Spencer Tunick stages scenes in which the battle of nature against culture is played out against various backdrops, from civic center to desert sandstorm, man and woman are returned to a preindustrial, pre-everything state of existence.  Tunick has traveled the globe to create these still and video images of multiple nude figures in public settings. Organizing groups from a handful of participants to tens of thousands, all volunteers, is often logistically daunting; the subsequent images transcend ordinary categories and meld sculpture and performance in a new genre.

A group of nude bodies lying in an urban landscape

Installation (c) Spencer Tunick

Given the constant threat of arrest (which has happened several times in his career) Spencer has not undertaken a group installation on the streets of New York in over ten years. In order to make his work without the threat of incarceration, the artist decide to take his work abroad – his most notable installations have been commissioned by Art Basel, Switzerland (1999), Institut Cultura, Barcelona (2003), XXV Biennial de Sao Paulo, Brazil (2002), The Saatchi Gallery in London (2003), MOCA Cleveland (2004) and Vienna Kunsthalle (2008).

Spencer Tunick’s Connect10 event idea:

Given the fact that Spencer’s large scale nude installations generally require big budgets and an enormous time investment, this Museums at Night event will involve a more intimate look at his practice. Spencer’s work with ‘scopes’ (individual miniature viewfinders, like the ones he’s is holding in his self-portrait photograph) allows him a more private way of portraying his nude subjects.

A man dressed in yellow holding flourescent plastic objects on key chains

The artist holding plastic scopes (c) Spencer Tunick

Just as Andy Warhol used to Polaroid cameras to capture his subjects in intimate small spontaneous portraits, Spencer intends to achieve the same thing. The act of carrying around a private portrait that can only be viewed through a small lens is reminiscent of the way we all use our iPhones to take 21st century Polaroids.

The essence of Spencer’s event will be about the nature of people’s interactions with intimate images and how that has evolved and changed (but stayed intrinsically the same) since the Victorian era ‘What The Butler Saw’ peepshows, through to the heyday of the key-chain viewer in the 50s and 60s to the present day iPhone and Instagram generation.

‘Tunick is a fourth-generation photographer. His great-grandfather owned the first Kodak photo finishing plant in downtown New York. His grandfather was a photographer for the United Nations Council on Foreign Relations, photographing heads of state, like President John F. Kennedy and Fidel Castro. And his father photographed guests at hotels in the Catskills in the 1960s and ’70s, selling them back their photos in key-chain viewers.’ (From USA Today)

The key-chain viewer or scope will be the hardware in which the photos taken during this unique event will be delivered. Using real film and the E-6 process to develop the images Spencer wants to explore photographic heritage, the nature of collaboration and the contrast between a fast-moving shoot and the more time-consuming production process.

Using this technique, Spencer is proposing a mass performative portrait shoot, either somewhere in Greater London, or at a coastal venue with access to a beach, within 2 hours drive of London. The exact location will only be made available to participants.

This is not a group work, but a series of quickly taken individual portraits. Spencer is looking for 100-250 volunteers to participate in this unique piece of performance art (an even split of men and women) – the application process will be explored with the winning venue. Once all subjects have been photographed, each image will be inserted into its own individual keychain scope and given to each participant as a gift during a special artist-led event at the venue later that evening.

Location scouting

Because Spencer is based in the US and therefore unable to scout locations himself, this process itself will form the basis of the venues’ proposals. We invite London venues and coastal venues in Suffolk, Essex, Kent, Hampshire and East or West Sussex to suggest a location for this work.

Locations need to be: within 200 metres of the venue, visually interesting, preferably off the beaten track, preferably outside, probably quirky, possibly not and perhaps where there’s little or no regular traffic.

Each venue may submit a maximum of 4 proposed locations – one good quality JPG photograph of the location and a brief description (25 words each max.) required.

This shoot will take place during the day before the evening event. Later that evening Spencer would like to host a special event at the winning venue for all the participants although other non-participants could also attend. It’s during this event that the finished artworks will be presented to each participant. The aim of the evening is for each person to walk away with a genuine Spencer Tunick artwork in their hands. But will they want their own image in the viewfinder or that of a nude stranger? Just one question this event can explore. It would also be interesting to find a way of displaying the complete collection of images taken earlier that day so participants get a sense of the project as a whole. The detail of this finale event is also open to proposals.

Spencer is available to venues situated in the Greater London area or on the coast (with access to the beach) within a two-hour drive from London. The shoot would take place on the day of Thursday or Friday and the evening event on Friday or Saturday.

Up to £1,000 of the venue’s £2,000 prize money is earmarked to pay for the scope viewfinders that Spencer will use for the event.

To apply to host Spencer Tunick, simply fill in this form.

FAQs about the Connect10 competition entry form

Several people who couldn’t make it to our recent Museums at Night / Connect10 briefing sessions have asked to see the slides that Nick and I used to introduce Culture24’s work, the Museums at Night festival and the Connect10 competition.

 

When you fill in the Connect10 competition entry form, you’ll be asked to select your chosen artist, and then answer the following questions.

1) Spencer Tunick’s event idea, which is limited to organisations in the Greater London area, involves outdoor photo shoots.
If you have chosen Spencer Tunick, please tell us about a maximum of four locations you are suggesting for this site specific work in a maximum of 25 words for each site. Then send one image per location to rosie@culture24.org.uk and nick@culture24.org.uk marked ST image.

A group of nude bodies lying in an urban landscape

Installation (c) Spencer Tunick

2) Please tell us why you have chosen this particular artist, and what connections you see between their work and your venue, collections or location. (Maximum 100 words) 

3) Please tell us about the event you’d like to run with your selected artist. Make sure you have read the artist’s statement and thought about what you can achieve that relates to the artist’s practice and stays within budget.

The brief outline should address questions such as: What will happen? What format will it take? How will it involve audience participation? Whereabouts in your venue will it take place? Let us know any relevant information. (Maximum 200 words)

4) What sort of audience are you aiming to attract with this event? For example, are you aiming to reach lapsed attenders, families who want a hands-on element to the event, or mature explorers who want an event with an educational element? (Maximum 100 words)

For more information about audience development strategies, read Targeting specific audiences.

5) Each winning venue will have £2,000 to spend on their event and any artists’ materials. This doesn’t include the artist’s fee and travel and accommodation costs, which Culture24 will cover.

Please use this space to provide a basic budget outline: what would you spend your prize money on? Remember to include the proceeds from any ticket sales if you intend to charge an admission fee. (Maximum 100 words)

Ready to enter? Fill in the entry form here to tell us which artist you’d like to win and what you’d do with them, by 5pm on Friday 22 November.

Can a small venue take part in the Connect10 competition?

A man clinging on to the column of a building, with a streak of glowing neon

Connect10 artist Alex Hartley shinning up the columns at the Bank of England – how might he engage with your venue’s architecture? (c) Alex Hartley

A very small museum recently got in touch to ask whether they had any hope of taking part in the Connect10 competition to win an artist for their Museums at Night event. My response was a resounding “Yes!”

Take a look at the list of Connect10 artists available for Museums at Night 2014: we encourage venues of all sizes to think whether there might be a connection between one of the artists and your venue, collections or location. The artists’ ideas are very approximate and are intended to give you some background about the sort of things that inspire them and the way they like to work.

Going outside

Events don’t have to take place inside your building! Susan Forsyth’s Zusammen choir procession around the streets of Rochdale was a great example of community outreach, touring around significant places from the town’s history, pausing by sites of interest and ending up outside the Rochdale Pioneers Museum, before inviting everyone into the historic church across the street for tea and biscuits.

Size is no object when it comes to attracting votes

A man holding a sign with his name on in a library, with a t shirt hanging up behind him

One of the campaigners Connect10 artist Simon Roberts recorded at the Working Class Movement Library’s Museums at Night event in 2012 (c) Simon Roberts

Connect10 artists have been won by small venues in the past, for example, the Working Class Movement Library in Salford, which incidentally attracted the largest number of votes ever counted in the whole competition!

Internal marketing

However, it’s important that you’re aware that being part of Connect10 takes up a considerable amount of staff time, in reaching out to new audiences for votes during the competition stage, planning the event in collaboration with your artist if you win, maximising the amount of publicity you get and ensuring everything is in place for a successful event on the night. Talk with your team of staff and volunteers to see if they’re enthusiastic about the possibilities, or not.

Getting stakeholders on board

It could also be helpful to talk with other local arts or heritage venues, your Museum Development Officer, or your local communications team if you’re a council-run venue, to get any key stakeholders on board.

Joint bids

If you think your organisation would be taking on too much by applying for a Connect10 artist on your own, you might like to consider working together with another local organisation on a joint bid.

Connect10 artists and winning venues shared their experiences here – these presentations may be helpful to have a look at as they share the challenges and successes encountered by people involved in the competition in previous years.

We’ve put together this page with all the Connect10 links and helpful resources in one place.

Nick and I are always happy to have a chat on the phone with you, if that would be useful – we’re here to help! The direct line is 01273 623336.

Finally, if you’re keen to go ahead and apply to win a top Connect10 artist and a £2000 bursary for your Museums at Night event, here’s the 2 page entry form you’ll need to fill in by 5pm on Friday 22 November.

Meet the 2014 Connect10 artists – what could they do at your museum?

The artists taking part in the 2014 Connect10 competition have given us short statements about their approach to this project, intended as springboards that your organisation can use to devise event ideas.

Ready to submit your event idea? Fill in this simple form by 5pm on Friday 22 November.

This information is also available as a 7 page downloadable PDF here.

A man DJing

Fred Deakin DJing in Tokyo (c) Youki Mikami

Fred Deakin

As half of the band Lemon Jelly, Fred Deakin has been Mercury and Brit nominated, sold over half a million albums and headlined stages at almost every major UK music festival. In 1998 he co-founded the ground-breaking London design agency Airside, whose clients included Virgin Atlantic, the Beatles, the BBC and Greenpeace. It won and was nominated for two BAFTAs, a Webby and many other awards: after achieving all their ambitions the founders closed Airside on a high last year. Fred has been a tutor on Central Saint Martins’ MA Communication Design course since 1997. In the last year he has created interactive art for France’s national digital museum La Gaite Lyrique and released a solo album under the pseudonym Frank Eddie. 

Fred Deakin’s Connect10 idea:

I’d like to put on a day-glo game show party in the museum. I’ll divide the audience into teams (probably in advance – there will be a homework assignment) and then test their skills with a series of devious challenges based on the museum’s collection and all set to music. There can only be one winning team so competition will be fierce, with limited edition prizes for the victors and humiliation for the losers (not really.) And then we can all have a party to celebrate!

Two boys eagerly writing on a whiteboard by a caravan

Citizens contributing ideas for NowhereIsland (c) Max McClure

Alex Hartley

Alex Hartley is inspired by the built and natural environments, and works primarily with photography, often incorporating it into sculpture and installation. His work includes room-sized architectural installations and interventions, and large-scale colour photographs of remote wildernesses with invented low-relief architectural elements inserted into their surface. He is probably best known for his cultural Olympiad project Nowhereisland, which saw him float a newly-discovered island from the High Arctic region of Svalbard 2,500 miles to the south-west coast of England, where it became a visiting nation with its own embassy, amassing over 23,000 citizens and 2,700 propositions for its online constitution.

Alex Hartley’s Connect10 idea:

Nowhere Islandwhich to date has around 23,000 citizens and has toured most of the ports along the South Coast, relies entirely on the participation of the public. Alex is willing to get The Nowhere Island Embassy MOT’d and back on the road for a special Museums at Night experience if a museums came up with an interesting event proposal. With this as a base, Alex could explore the different threads (factual and fictional) that bind a community together.

Visitors could perhaps bring along items/objects to form the contents of a cabinet of curiosities with a local narrative that knits together these seemingly random objects. The form of this cabinet could echo the embassy truck – be built on a trailer, or be formed in a gallery setting with a structure built of random boxes, shelving units containing the objects and telling the story. Alex has been involved in many such collaborative projects/installations that have involved public voting, political/environmental activism, construction and planning applications.

Perhaps for one night only your museum could become a swimming pool, a skate park, an adult soft play space, a supermarket, a prison, a block of flats. Alex is very open to proposals and willing to travel anywhere in the British Isles. “I think that it could work well with a story teller. So whatever we make/do – for instance to make a cabinet of curiosities with objects people bring in – could then be structured into a narrative by a storyteller and performed with the object at the end of the visitor journey.”

A woman in white dancing in front of a painting

“Gotta Dance” (2010) – the public learnt a Gene Kelly tap dance routine led by Janette Parris. Image (c) Ed McCool

Janette Parris

With a focus on contemporary urban experience, Janette Parris’ work encompasses  narrative, humour and a range of popular formats from  soap opera, stand up and musical theatre, to live music, cartoons and drawing. Through this wide ranging framework of approaches she explores an assortment of themes including learning, perceptions of success and failure, aspiration and ambition. All of her work is suffused with narrative and humour, while the popular formats allow an immediate route into the fictional worlds she creates.

Re-contextualising familiar scenarios, Parris questions both what constitutes visual art practice and the role of the artist. With a focus on the ‘everyday’ and the common experience, her work often gives a humorous (or poignant) insight into the mundane nature of life.

Janette Parris’ Connect10 idea:

I would love to assemble a combination of actors, comedians, ventriloquists and puppets to replace or mix with the museum’s official tour guides a special evening of interactive story-telling. The tour guides would weave outrageously entertaining and largely fictional stories about the history of the objects on display, whatever they may be. These fascinating, anecdotal yarns will reflect the co-existence of the many versions of the ‘truth’ present in nearly every situation in life.  The aim is to encourage the wilful abandonment of objectivity and blow wide open the doors of imagination, creativity and fantasy.

As part of the visitor experience we could create and distribute a pamphlet presenting both the museum’s description of an object/artwork/artefact along with our own alternative version. And/or perhaps, for one night only, some artworks/artefacts in the collection could be replaced with extremely dodgy-looking copies. I am open to collaboration so proposals from museums are very welcome.

Detail from a colourful contemporary tapestry

Detail from The Annunciation of the Virgin Deal (2012) (c) Grayson Perry. Image courtesy the Artist and Victoria Miro, London

Grayson Perry

Grayson Perry, winner of the 2003 Turner Prize, uses the seductive qualities of ceramics and other art forms to make stealthy comments about societal injustices and hypocrisies, and to explore a variety of historical and contemporary themes. The beauty of his work is what draws us close. Covered with sgraffito drawings, handwritten and stencilled texts, photographic transfers and rich glazes, Perry’s detailed pots are deeply alluring. Only when we are up close do we start to absorb narratives that might allude to dark subjects such as environmental disaster or child abuse, and even then the narrative flow can be hard to discern.

Perry is a great chronicler of contemporary life, drawing us in with wit, affecting sentiment and nostalgia as well as fear and anger, and incorporating autobiographical references to his childhood, his family and his transvestite alter ego Claire.

Grayson Perry’s Connect10 idea:

For Museums at Night, Grayson Perry will lend himself to the winning organisation for them to do with him as they see fit. Whether that be dissecting a museum’s collection and discussing its merits, delving into its dusty stores and digging out a selection of rarely seen treasures for display (as he did at the British Museum’s ‘Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman’ exhibition which he curated in 2011/12) or generally larking about with the public under the direction of the institution, this is a rare opportunity to work with one of the UK’s best-loved artists. Grayson is very open to suggestions, ideas & proposals from venues, but if you want to be in with a shot of winning, think fun with a capital F.

Thursday 15 May 2014 ONLY. The winning museum with have Grayson at their disposal from approximately 12 noon – 9pm: do with him what you will!

Grayson Perry lives and works in London, so the time it takes him to get home from a venue will be one of the considerations he weighs up when deciding which ideas to go through to the competition stage.

A woman standing inside a digital artwork glowing in a dark room

1000 Hands (c) Universal Everything

Matt Pyke

Matt Pyke (b.1975) is a UK based media artist working in the Peak District National Park and London. He is the founder of the digital art / design studio, Universal Everything. With a background in botanical and technical illustration, then design and typography, he often works with collaborators including programmers, musicians and choreographers.

His work ranges from mobile software art to site-specific video installations, and explores the tension between abstract and figurative form and the synesthesia of sound and image, leading to expressive, vibrant digital artworks, embodied with emergent life and anthropomorphism. His approach is led by materials, painting and sculpting with new technologies and formats including 3D printing, touch screens, motion capture and large format video, and uses sound in his work to stimulate visual reactions and amplify emotions.

Matt Pyke’s Connect10 idea:

Universal Everything interactive digital installation.

A video of a giant sculptural form is projected onto a gallery wall.
A microphone hangs in front of the projection.
Visitors speak/shout/sing/whisper into the microphone.
Their voices affect the video sculpture, causing it to transform, recolour and react.
Each visitor interaction gives a new appearance to the sculpture, ready for the next manipulation.

The stronger your input, the greater your reward.

For this installation, Matt will need to hire an HD projector and a microphone.

a black and white photo of a man winking

Self-portrait (c) Rankin Photography Ltd

Rankin

Although Rankin’s lens has scrutinised a cast ranging from Tony Blair and Kate Moss to David Bowie, the Queen and singer Robyn (he is also a talented videographer, most recently with Cheryl Cole), the Glasgow-born photographer’s portraits all reveal a striking realism, whether or not his sitters are well-known. In 2009 he produced a striking series of shots of 1,000 gallery visitors which became an evolving part of the exhibition. Rankin has been involved in a number of charitable projects, confronting preconceptions: his photos for Nike were part of a global campaign raising awareness about HIV/AIDS, and his most recent major exhibition portrayed people with terminal illnesses.

Rankin is a truly versatile photographer with an innate ability to make visitors feel relaxed. His Connect10 appearance is certain to be as fun as the results will be revealing.

Rankin’s Connect10 idea:

In 2009 Rankin undertook the biggest project of his career. Rankin Live was a mammoth, interactive spectacle in which Rankin photographed ordinary people off the street, one every 15 minutes – retouching, printing and hanging the image within half an hour of the shutter being fired. In seven weeks Rankin managed to shoot over 1,600 Londoners.

Museums at Night is a golden opportunity for Rankin to further explore his unique interactive approach to photography and he is open to proposals.

A girl falling backwards onto crashmats

Invitation to Fall (c) Amy Sharrocks

Amy Sharrocks

Amy Sharrocks is a live artist, sculptor and film-maker, and winner of the inaugural Sculpture Shock award from the Royal British Society of Sculptors. She invites people to come on journeys with a sense of humour, joy and risk, which create a bond and an outcome that is rich and unpredictable.

For many years Amy has been investigating our connection to water. On 12 July 2007 she made SWIM, where 50 people swam across London via 15 lakes, lidos and pools, from Tooting Bec Lido to Hampstead Heath Ponds. She has floated her boat on swimming pools up and down the country and is currently gathering donations for Museum of Water: a large public collection of water that people want to preserve, in the container of their choice. Amy continues to make many walking, stumbling works across Europe, for many people or for one. She is currently encouraging people to sign up for Swim the Thames, a mass swim across The River Thames underneath Tower Bridge. She also spends a lot of time thinking about falling, looking at how we try to stay upright; how the world falls and how we fall with it.

Amy Sharrocks’ Connect10 idea:

I loved making a lot of ‘falling’ work this year, and I’m continuing to investigate the act of falling: stumbling, tripping, crashing, toppling over like lemmings. People are so determined to stay upright, so keen to be surefooted. I am very interested in why people link falling to failing, why we are so embarrassed to be down, when others are up. Where is the shame? I wonder at the complicity of an act of witness. I would like to un-shame our falls, to admit a lure of falling, inviting the risk in, approaching a moment of crisis, together.

A gallery or a museum could be a wonderful place to stage a large scale falling work – perhaps lit up in some way or in full view of the public – the aim is to create an environment in which to explore the exhilarating act of falling without any shame.

I wonder at gravity, which both anchors us, and presses us down. I wonder at the delicacy of each moment.  The shifting, fluid possibilities of each minute. I like looking at the world. I work with a lot of things from the natural world: seeds, trees, air, water, birds’ nests…  I think I know a thing, and then I know it differently every time. I enjoy (a little bit of) risk.

A group of people putting type together for a letterpress printer

Using the letterpress (c) Mr Smith’s Letter Press Workshop

Mr Smith’s Letterpress Workshop

Mr Smith’s Letterpress Workshop is the brainchild of Kelvyn Laurence Smith. Chiefly concerned with all things typographic and with quality workmanship, his focus is on creating beautifully crafted contemporary printed matter using traditional wood and metal type. From limited edition artworks to a range of commercial commissions for British Airways, Marks & Spencer and Pret a Manger, Mr Smith’s Letterpress Workshop was set up following a career teaching graphic design & typography at art schools across the land including Middlesex, Brighton, Westminster and Northumbria.

Mr Smith’s Connect10 idea:

For this interactive Museums at Night extravaganza Mr Smith will be taking his extraordinary Letterpress Workshop on the road. Under his direction and with the support of his team of assistants the public would be invited to create a typographic archive, the content of which is defined by the venue, its visitors and its collection.  The process of creating the content, thinking of the word(s), setting the type, choosing the colour & paper, inking up the type & printing the final work by hand defines what will be an extraordinary visitor experience.

In preparation for the workshop and to ensure that the finished archive is correctly stored and kept, Mr Smith would propose collaborating with a worker in wood to create a physical archive for the project to be left with the winning museum.  This could be a cabinet, a series of shelves or a display case, and would be discussed with the museum and other makers as part of the collaborative phase of the project.  This could be assembled on site over the course of the evening, allowing people to witness and participate in the construction of the archive as part of the evenings’ experience.

To make this interactive workshop all the more atmospheric Mr Smith could execute this by candlelight and without the aid of modern technology – perhaps even with no power – just (wo)man, machine, conversation, printmaking & language.

A group of nude bodies lying in an urban landscape

Installation (c) Spencer Tunick

Spencer Tunick

Spencer Tunick stages scenes in which the battle of nature against culture is played out against various backdrops, from civic center to desert sandstorm, man and woman are returned to a preindustrial, pre-everything state of existence.  Tunick has traveled the globe to create these still and video images of multiple nude figures in public settings. Organizing groups from a handful of participants to tens of thousands, all volunteers, is often logistically daunting; the subsequent images transcend ordinary categories and meld sculpture and performance in a new genre.

Given the constant threat of arrest (which has happened several times in his career) Spencer has not undertaken a group installation on the streets of New York in over ten years. In order to make his work without the threat of incarceration, the artist decide to take his work abroad – his most notable installations have been commissioned by Art Basel, Switzerland (1999), Institut Cultura, Barcelona (2003), XXV Biennial de Sao Paulo, Brazil (2002), The Saatchi Gallery in London (2003), MOCA Cleveland (2004) and Vienna Kunsthalle (2008).

Spencer Tunick’s Connect10 idea:

Given the fact that Spencer’s large scale nude installations generally require big budgets and an enormous time investment, this Museums at Night event will involve a more intimate look at his practice. Spencer’s work with ‘scopes’ (individual miniature viewfinders, like the ones he’s is holding in his self-portrait photograph) allows him a more private way of portraying his nude subjects. Just as Andy Warhol used to Polaroid cameras to capture his subjects in intimate small spontaneous portraits, Spencer intends to achieve the same thing. The act of carrying around a private portrait that can only be viewed through a small lens is reminiscent of the way we all use our iPhones to take 21st century Polaroids.

Using this technique, Spencer is proposing a mass performative portrait shoot, either somewhere in Greater London, or at a coastal venue with access to a beach, within 2 hours drive of London. The exact location will only be made available to participants.

This is not a group work, but a series of quickly taken individual portraits. Spencer is looking for 100-250 volunteers to participate in this unique piece of performance art (an even split of men and women) – the application process will be explained once the winning venue is announced. Once all subjects have been photographed, each image will be inserted into its own individual keychain scope and given to each participant as a gift during a special artist-led event at the venue later that evening.

Because Spencer is based in the US and therefore unable to scout locations himself, this process itself will form the basis of the venues’ proposals. We invite London venues and coastal venues in Suffolk, Essex, Kent, Hampshire and East or West Sussex to suggest a location for this work.

Locations need to be: within 200 metres of the venue, visually interesting, preferably off the beaten track, preferably outside, probably quirky, possibly not and perhaps where there’s little or no regular traffic. Each venue may submit a maximum of 4 proposed locations – one good quality JPG photograph of the location and a brief description (25 words each max.) required.

This performance will take place during the day on Saturday 17 May. Later that evening Spencer would like to host a special event at the winning venue for all the participants. It’s during this event that the finished artworks will be presented to each participant. The only aim of the evening is for each person to walk away with a genuine Spencer Tunick artwork in their hands. But will they want their own image in the viewfinder or that of a nude stranger? Just one question this event can explore. It would also be interesting to find a way of displaying the complete collection of images taken earlier that day so participants get a sense of the project as a whole. The detail of this finale event is also open to proposals.

Saturday 17 May ONLY, within Greater London or South East coastal venues only.

Up to £1,000 of the venue’s £2,000 prize money is earmarked to pay for the scope viewfinders that Spencer will use for the event.

A group of people on a staircase dressed up as modern artists

Modern Art Stars (c) Lindi Tristram

Jessica Voorsanger

An American artist living in London, Jessica Voorsanger was recently an Artist-in-Residence at The Hayward Gallery where she created a dance performance based on the films West Side Story and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Her work explores popular culture through the concept and ideology of ‘celebrity’ – through obsession, fans and media representation. In Voorsanger’s interactive installations, the audience are invited to dress up and perform as celebrities, television characters or artists, with costumes, wigs, accessories, environments and props available for people to wear and something for them to do such as karaoke. She is inspired by books, film, music, television, fantasy and time travel and sweets – both their contents and packaging.

Jessica Voorsanger’s Connect10 idea:

For her Museums at Night event, Jessica Voorsanger could potentially reprise the Modern Art Stars (several people making portraits of the audience in the style of well-known artists) or Fan-a-Gram performances. Alternatively, she could create an interactive installation which could include some form of audience participation, possibly with karaoke and costumes.

Download all of this information as a 7 page PDF.

Ready to submit your event idea? Fill in this simple form by 5pm on Friday 22 November.