Venue Planning


The venue is to be provided by the college authorities for all graduating art courses so involvement in this element of the exhibition management is limited for students and was more focused on our individual space and presentation requirements. However I did give some consideration as to what would be required in order to plan such an event.

Before finding a venue it would be necessary to define what is required, particularity in terms of space as if the venue is simply far too small its a non-starter. In order to establish the space required, allocate a space per student exhibiting; say 4 sq metres to allow for stand space and passage around / past the stand. This times the number of students would give a base line of the space required so say 100 students at 4 sq metres = 400 sq metres of space required. Then it would be necessary to look at any particular needs – e..g any exceptional large installations and any additional space requirements e.g. bar / drinks areas, presentation space, expected number of visitors to establish an overall space requirement.

Lastly need to create a check list of other requirements which might include :

  • kitchen / drinks area
  • toilet facilities (based on expected visitor numbers)
  • storage space
  • power and lighting requirements
  • additional equipment to be installed, computers, projection equipment and so forth.

Having established space requirement it would then be a question of establishing other requirements such as location – e.g. a town centre is likely to attract more (casual) visitors than an an out of town one and checking additional considerations such as disabled access, car parking and security.

To then identify a suitable location this should be circulated as a documented set of requirements to local property agents in order to start to identify suitable locations and obtain an estimate of likely cost in order to either establish a budget or whether available budget is sufficient.

In addition to commercial premises due to the nature of the particular event being staged by an educational institution it would be worth contacting major local enterprises either to seek sponsorship in the form of direct contribution to the budget or whether they may have suitable space they are willing to provide. This as many organisations are willing to support their local communities by various corporate programs / local initiatives in following their desire to be seen as “good citizens”.

There are many more detailed issues which would be need to be considered and evaluated before making a final decision this is a just a brief overview. One final point I would stress is that finding a venue is likely to have a fairly long lead time so the process needs to be started in good time.

Personal Exhibition Space

The information provided to students was to plan on having a space consisting of 2 boards of 8 ft high by 4 ft wide and a table. The final venue – at the former Mission nightclub in Hoopers Place, Swindon – was fairly late in being finalised and this caused some issues in not having a final layout to work to  e.g. were the boards to be flat i.e. side by side or at an angle as this makes a significant difference as to how you might present the work.

An angled area eliminates any possibility of any work overlapping from one board to the other and effectively means you have 2 separate display areas to consider rather than one large one, this is not necessarily a negative and in my case I concluded was a distinct positive factor but it is a consideration.

Until the final layout was established and individual space was known it was difficult to finalise the layout required, some people felt it was impossible to do anything until final spaces were known and whilst I was not in this camp there is no doubt that the lack of certain information hampered the final planning of the space. Accordingly I decided that a flexible attitude was going to the most useful attribute to have in planning the event.


I had originally planned to spend up to £500 on the final show – money I had put aside from my student grant – with a view to having all prints professionally framed and mounted as I wanted to make an impact on visitors to the show particularly potential clients / employers. However the ongoing uncertainty over the venue made me revise this to half this amount as I was starting to feel I could spend a large amount of money for little return if the venue did not work out as expected.

I felt comfortable with the revised amount being spent as at the very least I would be obtaining quality wall art  for use at home / display purposes and still felt I could make an impactful display. Actually I found it more challenging and satisfying to create what I consider a quality show without just “throwing money at it”.

The bulk of the budget was to be used for professionally created aluminium mounted prints which I estimated at around £150 with £50 for the remaining printing of show prints and portfolio and a £50 contingency for sundry and unexpected costs. A detailed final budget spend will be included in the task 2 output.


There were a number of key organisations / individuals that it will be necessary to co-ordinate activity with. Although firstly will need to make some decisions about what items I would or could do myself and what  either needed or could be sub-contracted to others.

Clearly some items were always going to be outsourced such as the production of the aluminium prints and discussions about the venue were always going to be with or via a third party.

1. Venue Organiser, in our case this was our course leader, Martyn. There was a whole host of issues that had to be discussed and negotiated. such as the layout for the group area, individual space allocation, access to venue for set up and so forth.

We had several group discussions over areas of common interest such as the group area and space allocation. In group discussion Martyn developed a space plan for the group with 2 options which would depend on the actual stand build on site as there were some challenging aspects of the site such as supporting columns in the space which are obviously fixed and needed to be worked around.

The group accepted my suggestion to allocate the spaces randomly to eliminate any discussion over what was the “best” or “worst” spots, I generated the numbers using a random number generator and the spaces were sequentially allocated on the plan in rows starting top left and the list published to the groups facebook page.



2 .Print / material suppliers.  It is essential to ensure that materials are chosen and ordered in a timely fashion. With sufficient time to recover in case there are issues with the production process. I had visited the Photography Show in March with a specific idea to look at framing options as there was a number of suppliers present.

I had a discussion with Loxley colour over their “Alumini” products which I thought were particularly appealing and the salesperson was knowledgeable and demonstrated the hanging system that is integral to the print. They are not inexpensive at around £60 each for the sizes I wanted but thought the quality justified this.

The remaining prints for my portfolio I decided to print at college on the large ink jet printer as I had been previously disappointed with the results of mail order prints as at least with locally produced prints there is immediate feedback.

3. Fellow Exhibitors. It helps to have some co-ordination and co-operation between fellow exhibitors for example everyone needs to understand and abide by the exhibition rules e.g. not encroaching on others space or hogging available resources such as power. Additionally there was discussion about having a group AV presentation made up of images provided by all group members but this will depend on final space availability at the venue. Lastly, particularly for neighbouring stands, some co-operation is required during set up in order not to disturb the work of others.

4. Images subjects. It would t least be polite to inform identifiable subject featured in images that you are going to use the material, even though it is the photographers copyright, and check details such as make up artist / model if you are going to credit them in captions.

5. Others as required. There may be unforeseen issues or problems and it will be necessary to deal with these on ad-hoc basis.

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