• Natalie


Updated: Nov 13, 2019


I recently took part in an exhibition that was exhibited at and organised by Spectrum Cultural Hub based on the theme of ' Movement'. I took part in this exhibition in order to gain insight on how an exhibition is set up in order to influence how i would set up my own exhibition that is coming up. Unfortunately this is not the experience i had. After submitting my work before the deadline neither me nor my peers who also submitted heard from the organiser of this event for a considerable amount of time. We finally heard back a couple of weeks before the exhibition preview was due to take place saying the person who was in charge of setting up the exhibition implying that it had to be taken over and organised quickly with little context to what was originally planned. I entered 2 pieces to this exhibition, one was a large oil pastel piece on canvas and the other was my recent film entitled 'The Memory Weavers' when it came down to the day of the exhibition i had contacted the new organiser in advance about setting up my film which we had previously discussed however i received no response as to when i should come and set up my film. When i arrived i found out they didn't set up somewhere to project my film as planned and i received no particular reason why. Although it was fine because i had another piece in the exhibition. However when i walked up to the piece which had an obvious way in which it would be hung, was hung upside down. i had high hopes for my first experience with Spectrum Cultural Hub and was let down by a lack of professionalism which seemed ironic after being lectured on the topic by the event organiser himself. However i have learned for future exhibitions that I'm not going to let my work be put up without me being there to see how it is placed, nor am i going to trust that things will be organised well and smoothly just because the people in question have experience in the field.


In late March I had a solo exhibition an event called Vinyl Stockton which is a music and arts event in Stockton monthly. It was a very different type of exhibition space to spectrum as it was a pop-up space. When I arrived, I met the organiser who showed me the space in which I was to exhibit my work. There was another artist who was given a separate space so I had free rain of how to exhibit my work. Luckily, I had prepared my work for the space and had bought a variety of prints which I could prop up on the bench space and the others on the small easels provided. I was really happy with the space I was provided because it was quite cosy and felt like my own separate little exhibition whereas the photographer Darren Moore’s work looked like it had been positioned last minute where as mine looked more curated. There was a good turn out to the event which was good as it was quite a distance from Sunderland it would have been harder to promote myself at home. I took a selection prints in a variety of different styles and processes from A3 to A5 as I aimed to show the diversity of my recent work and i chose to exhibit the pieces in sets of there to keep it cohesive and not jumbled. There was no need for me to provide refreshments as the bar was the way that the event organisers were earning money as the event was free entry. This was a great opportunity to have my first exhibition as it was part of an event there wasn't really any pressure on me but i also gained experience to take forward into exhibitions in the future. It was also a great opportunity to see how this type of event could be help in a non traditional gallery space.


Exhibiting at spectrum the second time was completely different to my first experience with them and also my other exhibition in Stockton. I think its because spectrum was still in a rather transitional period that the last exhibition was so disorganised. However, this time Phil was extremely accommodating and helpful especially with the changes that were made last minute. At the beginning there was going to be six of us taking part in the exhibition however Doug dropped out a few weeks before the set up which was frankly a relief. The majority of the people involved wanted to have a diplomatic discussion about who was to go where within the exhibition space when were discussing it Doug told us where he and Linda were going then we said yeah we can discus it he told us he told us where to shove it and essentially threw his proverbial toys out of the pram. There were also lots of disagreements about how long the exhibition should be open and the conflict all stemmed from Doug. The majority wanted it open for a few days so that it didn’t interrupt our busy deadline season as we would have to invigilate it. However, Doug wanted to keep it open over three weeks. After the rest of the group decided that a few days is what we were going to do as Doug didn’t turn up to the group meeting he decided to drop out of spectrum.

As there’s such a range of work in our exhibition that it was hard to choose a name for our exhibition but we decided on the name Broad Spectrum. When it came to actually setting up the exhibition only four of us actually made it as Albert was bed ridden with a bacterial infection in his stomach so we had to pick up his pieces take them over and work out how to exhibit them without him. We also had to name and label them as he hadn’t done it before he became ill. Phil who runs spectrum was extremely helpful in helping us curate and hang work which he was surprised that none of as had prior knowledge in. Beth, Bea and I were set up the day before however two hours before Linda was still not set up so we pulled together to get her sorted in time. We had a decent turn out considering spectrum is in the middle of know where over the weekend not just on opening night and over all I’m really happy without the exhibition turned out however if Albert had prepared his work in advance for us to set up but he didn’t know he would be ill so it wasn’t his fault.

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