JUMPSTART – Proposal for UK-wide exhibition, September 2022

May 25, 2021

JUMPSTART – Proposal for UK-wide exhibition, September 2022

“Jumpstart” grows out of the pandemic period of 2020/21 where, for the first time in living memory, Gray’s School of Art has been unable to hold a physical degree show for our graduating students.

The loss of physical degree show capability has led to unhappiness amongst the student body, particularly in the graduating year of 2020. Since last December the idea of a graduate “salon” has been floated to offer a physical opportunity for those years who have missed out on a physical show. This has solidified into the idea of “Jumpstart”. The idea will benefit not only those graduates who missed out- and in some way provide redress for the loss of the opportunity of a physical degree show- but it will also enable Gray’s to have a visible footprint in the post-pandemic regeneration for the city’s cultural life.

The aim will be that a “Jumpstart” show will be timed to open with the Look Again weekender in Aberdeen in September 2022, which gives us longer time for development. It is envisaged that the exhibition will be organised thematically, in a cross-disciplinary way, and occupy several empty sites around the city centre. Once we have the scale and the number of participants finalised, we can begin to plan intensively.

“Jumpstart” will comprise of:

  • Cross-disciplinary shows of work grouped around specific themes, across the city;
  • Potential for a number of established artists to work with / exhibit with the students on chosen themes;
  • Potential for both paid and voluntary work experience in : curation; exhibition install /un-install; arts marketing & PR; arts management; exhibiting experience.
  • A publication based around either i. local ii. UK-wide shows.

From Gray’s School of Art, Jon Blackwood & Sally Reaper will devise a series of designed “templates” and branding and make these available to interested partners. The template for the show is just that- a series of actions and formulas to be used as appropriate in participants local areas. This is to help colleagues get the process running in their institutions / areas and to provide a common “branding” whilst allowing sufficient room for manoeuvre to take into account local circumstances and the experiences of local cultural actors.

The next steps are as follows:

  • The establishment of a UK-wide steering committee to ensure sharing of experience and communication across participants; also, critically, to involve students and recent graduates negatively affected by lockdowns;
  • The beginning of funding applications / bids and in-kind support in order to support the development of “Jumpstart”. For information, we at Gray’s will be approaching the local authorities and Creative Scotland as well as requesting funds internally. Our connections also ensure that buy in from local business and the city authorities can be requested.
  • The funding requirements have been identified as follows: (at National Level, under the steering group’s oversight:) Marketing and promotion (design agency hire), Independent PR,  Professsional development roles (x 2 to support project team) Cultural Ambassadors Exchange Programme between participating institutions x 4, Publication – hard copy and digital, Online presence – website development & social media strategy / outline, Admin & Documentation. Internal / Institutional funding would be required to cover: Commissioning programme if applicable, Shipping and storage, Installation & de-rig of exhibition, Events programme / stakeholder engagement, Invigilation, Volunteering, Licenses & Security, Hospitality, Documentation, Venue hire, Admin
  • With the steering committee established and fundraising and space procurement underway, one of the tasks of the first steering committee meetings will be to devise a timeline and workflow for delivery, with associated costs.

Thanks so much for your generous feedback on this idea and I hope that this short document helps you all in discussions in your institutions. If either of us can help you further or you’d like to arrange a zoom chat, please just e-mail j.blackwood@rgu.ac.uk or s.reaper@rgu.ac.uk

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