Tag Archives: Connect10

Museums at Night to become a biannual festival; Connect! competition announced

Culture24 is pleased to announce that Museums at Night, the UK’s annual after-hours festival of arts, culture and heritage, will now be taking place twice a year – in May and October.

The May festival will now run over four days, from Wednesday May 13 until Saturday May 16, while a second festival, lasting two days, will take place on Friday and Saturday, October 30 and 31.

Now in its seventh year, Museums at Night offers the chance to experience culture and heritage in a totally unexpected way. The festival sees hundreds of museums, galleries and historic spaces all over the UK opening their doors  late  for an array of special events. The festival has experienced phenomenal growth during the past few years,  attracting 180,000 visits to 700 events in more than 500 venues across the country in 2014.

Visitors looking into small coloured plastic scopes

Visitors discovering Connect10 artist Spencer Tunick’s scopes installation at George’s House Gallery, Folkestone during Museums at Night 2014

The annual Connect10 competition – which gives people the chance to ‘win’ a leading contemporary artist to create a unique event at their local cultural venue during Museums at Night – is to be rebranded Connect! for 2015. This year it will feature six artists, with each event taking place during the  October festival.

Voting for Connect! 2015 will open on May 1 and winning venues will be announced during Museums at Night in May. The public can vote at www.museumsatnight.org.uk.  The artists  taking part in Connect! 2015 will be announced shortly.

Previous participating artists have included Bob & Roberta Smith, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Gavin Turk, Jessica Voorsanger and photographer Rankin. Previous events have included a Grayson Perry teddy bear hunt around York Museum, New York artist Spencer Tunick photographing 100 individual nudes on Folkestone beach and Bompas & Parr floating the Bristol’s ss Great Britain on a sea of lime green jelly. In 2014, the Connect! competition attracted more than 62,000 public votes.

Connect! is funded by Arts Council England to support venues  trying something different to attract new audiences to their Museums at Night event.

Nick Stockman, Campaigns Manager, Museums at Night said:

“After record numbers of visitors in 2014, the Museums at Night festival will take another giant leap forward in 2015, doubling the number of event nights to six and extending to October as well as an extra day in May. We are really excited about the opportunity this gives venues to offer visitors something new and exciting, particularly for those people who don’t usually visit museums and galleries.“

John Orna-Ornstein, Director of Museums at Arts Council England said:

“I sometimes think museums are at their best out of hours. Museums at Night brings the opportunity for people everywhere to engage with brilliant objects and museums close to their home in fun, quirky and stimulating ways. If you thought museums are boring, think again! I’m looking forward to seeing what the artists involved in Connect! 2015 have in store for us: we had incredible feedback following last year’s unique artist-led events.”

Tying in with the European initiative La Nuit des Musées, Museums at Night is run by Culture24 and designed to attract new audiences into museums and galleries via a  range of exciting events.

For further information and images please contact Pandora George, Bullet PR, pandora@bulletpr.co.uk or tel: 07729 469220

Notes to Editors:

1. Museums at Night is the annual after-hours festival of arts, culture and heritage when hundreds of museums, galleries, libraries, archives and heritage sites open their doors for special evening ev It takes place from Wednesday May 13th – Saturday May 16th. www.museumsatnight.org.uk

2. Culture24 is an independent non-profit company which exists to support the cultural sector to reach and connect with audiences. It is best known for publishing great websites about culture; producing the successful Museums at Night festival of after-hours openings and leading Let’s Get Real, the collaborative action research project involving cultural organisations across the UK and Europe. www.WeAreCulture24.org.uk

 3. Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2011 and 2015, we will invest £1.4 billion of public money from government and an estimated £1 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. www.artscouncil.org.uk

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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.

It's all gone a bit Bowie! #jvtv2021

A photo posted by 20-21 Visual Arts Centre (@2021visualarts) on

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.

@cutlimited and @jvoorsanger with Frank Pug after our Men In Black parade down Scunthorpe High Street this evening. #jvtv2021

A photo posted by 20-21 Visual Arts Centre (@2021visualarts) on

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 …

Jessica Voorsanger with two sassy space cadets on the cosmic karaoke, at last Saturday's Museums At Night event. #MaN2014 @jvtv2021

A photo posted by 20-21 Visual Arts Centre (@2021visualarts) on

Two Doctors. One Karaoke machine. LOTS OF FUN! #MaN2014 #JVTV2021

A photo posted by 20-21 Visual Arts Centre (@2021visualarts) on

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.