Posted in Professional Practice Year 2

Diary of Organizing the Exhibition and Symposium

As groups we worked together to brain storm some potential ideas for the symposium and exhibition, with things that need to be thought about when organizing it. Here are some of the things that were mentioned:

  • Delegating different areas to specific groups of people
  • An overall theme? Common ground – eg. Culture, water
  • Should we have several themes for people with different interests and diversity?
  • Is there any point in outside speakers?
  • Do we want mixed media? Eg. Sound, video
  • How much should each person submit?
  • Should we include props? Eg. Post cards, sculptures
  • Could we send postcards back and forth to India? Look at the idea of tourism vs reality
  • We could look into using the big screen in Royal Parade to show the work from India and how society reacts to it
  • We should have volunteer speakers so that it is organised
  • Need to consider different ethical beliefs when photographing
  • Should we do a test run a couple of weeks before to ensure that technically everything works and runs well?

This, along with Jen’s lecture, has given us a strong starting point of things to think about to move further into the organisation of the symposium. It has been decided that we should all be put into groups where we feel we will best perform such as curatorial, the symposium itself and technical, to make sure everything runs smoothly on the day.

As a group we made some decisions about the symposium. We wanted to keep it internal but then we had the question of where? We had three options –

  • 2.24 – perhaps too small a space?
  • 4th Floor gallery space
  • Lecture Theatre – no space to exhibit but good for the symposium

As a collective we decided to go with the 4th floor gallery space. With large windows surrounding, it gave good lighting which meant we wouldn’t need to worry about trying to light the space. The area was large enough for us to exhibit our work and the Indian work whilst still delivering a symposium.

We also discussed potential themes as it would make the work more structured and enhance a flow to the space. The themes included

  • Water
  • Fashion / Culture
  • Postcards

Eventually it was decided that there was no need for a theme – the theme of ‘the city’ encased all of work into one. Although everyone’s work was very different the work connected together to build an overall feel of the city. It also meant that we didn’t over complicate the symposium and could use our time more effectively to plan.

We then decided to part into groups – curatorial for the overall look of the event, symposium to organise the event itself and technical for the connection to India. I decided to join the symposium group to further my skills in organisation and the pragmatics of an event. The group was of a good size meaning that there were enough people to delegate tasks to make sure everything was covered.

As a group we discussed over some points that were areas that needed to be answered and sorted before the day itself and help to progress further in the organisation

  • Introduction of Mohini and India
  • How will we receive the work from India? Online?
  • Allow people to volunteer to talk – call for proposals
  • Decided to only invite people within the college as limited space

We then created deadlines for people to follow in order to make sure that the organisation moves forward quickly and efficiently.

  • 26th April – proposals to be submitted ready for decisions on flow of the day
  • 28th April – print deadline
  • 3rd May – Run through of the day

kay dates updated.jpg

We gave each member of the group roles to ensure everyone had something to be responsible for:

  • Tiah – Runner of the Day / General Organisation of everyone
  • Dannielle – Google Drive documents / Call for proposals
  • Niamh – Time Plan / Running Order of the day
  • Mollie  – Runner of the Day
  • Sophie Brett – Branding
  • Ellie – Unknown
  • Anna – Branding
  • Rebecca – Communications between Curation and Design

During the Easter break, I got on with my responsibility of creating the call for proposals, giving everyone a clear structure of what we desired and when by.

Branding took a long time to get underway which left us a little bit lost with our overall look for the symposium. This also delayed invitations to other students and the overall promotion of the event.

There was a running of the day created to get a general overview of how the day might run. This included time for the exhibition to be explored, speakers and breaks. We decided it would run from 9am – 1pm to ensure that the students in India were within a good timescale with us due to the time difference.

After receiving the proposals we met as a group to select the relevant ones and order them into the time schedule. We wanted to have a flow to the speakers so that the run of the day didn’t seem dysfunctional. We had a lack of proposals entered leaving us with a problem of empty time in the day. We managed to rope in a few more speakers, eventually filling the day with speakers, in an order that showed the history of Plymouth through to the potential future of Plymouth. We also worked out that the speakers would have 10 minutes of speaking time, 5 minutes of speech and 5 minutes of questions from the audience.

The same day we established all the tasks that were left for us to do before the day itself so that we were organised.


  • Branding
  • Make Posters
  • Video of creation of the day to show the Indian students
  • Trial Day – Presentations / Talks – 3rd May
  • Catalogue of the work – propose this to the Curation group?

On May 3rd we had our first trial run day for the speakers and general running of the day. The day wasn’t very successful or organised and seemed like we had a lot of work to do to make the process of the day smoother. We did however clear up some loose ends such as the making of the catalogue. To contribute to this and tick a box in the deliverables we decided that everyone should contribute their artist statement to the catalogue.

Branding had still not been done and was starting to really delay our movement in promotion and invitation. This was becoming irritating as we had all been delegated roles which were agreed and these were not being stuck to.

The speakers decided to meet again on the 15th may to run through the speeches in time for the day.

During the time in between I used Eventbrite to create a page for people to sign up for tickets for the day. As there was limited space in the gallery, we limited the numbers to 40. The tickets were free as this was an internal event and was not necessary for payment.  I also used my time to extensively promote the event on the PCA Collaboration page on Facebook to get interest from other students.

event 2eventevent 3

The branding was also done during this time which made the promotion of the event begin which was essential.


On May 15th, the speakers met together. Not many people, myself included, had prepared a speech which made this another unsuccessful meeting. However it was then demanded to us that we change the whole running of the day and shorten it by an hour. This seemed really unnecessary when branding and promotion had already been started and advertised the original time schedule of the day, making me feel hugely agitated by the decision.

After another difficult meeting, we decided to have a speech meeting within the exhibition space on the 18th May to show how it would work within the space.

On the 18th we met in the space and had a brief run through of the speeches. None of the speakers spoke for long enough which made the timing of the day a concern, a concern that could have been avoided had we stuck to plan in the previous meetings.

The symposium day it arrived. My responsibility for the day was my role in speaking during the programme of the day. The start of the day made me feel miserable – none of our audience had shown up! This was highly demotivating but didn’t stop us trying our best. We were also still lacking running of the day leaflets, something that someone was delegated as a task but had neglected. This had to be quickly sorted and printed ready for any late coming guests.

We managed to gain a connection with India through video allowing us to collaborate together. We had a few issues with the connection at first but it was eventually sorted. The speeches began and everything was flowing smoothly.

After the third speaker, we were introduced to the presentation by the Indian students – something we didn’t realise was happening but was liaised without our agreement. However, this was an excellent experience and really inspiring, giving us not only an insight into the students’ photography but their culture and way of life which made this a really engaging experience for us all. I myself really enjoyed this experience.


After the presentation had finished, I was expecting our symposium timetable to continue however I was wrong. The connection was ended and that was the end of the day. This was highly disappointing as I wanted to engage with the students with my speech which was practically taken away from me. However I feel that this would have looked worse had our audience actually showed, so this turned out to be a happy accident.

I did still get the chance to present but the circumstance in which it happened was not what I had expected so I probably didn’t take as much care over it as I would have had it been the correct schedule.


Overall I think the overall day was a really essential experience. It was a great way to expand our knowledge and potentially our contacts – the contact between the two universities is something I would be interested in keeping up with. It was inspiring to engage with a group of people with a completely different way of life to us. It was highly informative and an engaging time for us all.

The symposium event was a real confidence-building exercise – the building of relationships and the broadcasting of work on the walls for an audience.


I feel the event faced us with many situations where we had to think quickly to ensure that the day continued which is a good skill to develop as the real world is unpredictable. It definitely strengthened the team relationships within the cohort but I feel it may also have destroyed a few – this is life and I feel that it shouldn’t be disheartening as people are not always going to agree.


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