Behind The Scenes: Fun A Day Dundee
– Exhibition Blog Post
We wanted to share the fun a bit further for our online exhibition, so we are giving you all an insight into the workings on Fun A Day Dundee behind the scenes…
A Wee History
Sam Sherriff (sambaxterart), the coordinator of FADD, was a participant to the project before taking over the running of things. In 2016 Sam took part in January by painting large, colourful and silly pieces of work – and thoroughly enjoyed herself! There was a lot of communication between participants on Twitter at the time (before we were on Instagram) and Sam felt supported and encouraged through talking to fellow participants and the FADD Team (Hazel Saunderson & Becca Greig). The following year Becca was to be running the project by herself and asked Sam to assist her as they studied together at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design. The pair had a lot of fun, and Sam was able to get an understanding of how the project reached out to people and it’s fruition as an exhibition at WASPS. The following year, Sam was running FADD by herself, and took advantage of participant feedback, finding new ways to connect with participants, and creating additional changes to the exhibition as it’s popularity grew over the following years. FADD went from strength to strength and by 2019 it was too big for one person to handle! For social meets and at the exhibition, FADD had participants helping out, but it wasn’t quite enough, so Sam assembled a team for 2020!
FADD Participants; Leah Gurr & Hannah Wingfield wanted to get more involved with the project after taking part themselves. They now work on FADD social media as well as FADDCreatives – a new project we started over lockdown which provides support and networking all year round, rather than just over the January project. Linda Barclay Isles, Kristina Aburrow, and Kirsty Baxter also joined up to the team and with the combined skills of the team, blog writing, exhibition prep, strategic planning, technical prep and social media was all go! Without the team there’s no room for creative discussion on how to move the project forward, or how to best connect with our community, or to bring new ideas to the table. It’s been a real joy working with everyone.
If you’d like to know more about FADD’s history check out our page on previous leaders of FADD and FAQ’s.
What’s Involved in Running FADD?
Fun A Day Dundee is no stranger to online networking – something many of us have experienced this year with lockdown. Our project begins online. We advertise, connect and encourage people to ‘sign up’ and get thinking about what their project in January will look like. This means lots of admin and social media!
In order to ensure we’re reaching everyone, we use spreadsheets to collate the information of our participants so that we can match emails, names and social media accounts to the same person. You’d be amazed by how easily you can mix up names and accounts without having a spreadsheet to refer to. A few years ago with around 30 participants it was easy to remember everyone’s handles, but now with over 100 it’s a bit tricky! (This is all secure info given to us that we would never share.)
We also document team meetings, participant feedback, exhibitions and any social workshops/meetings we have with the public. We also find that by submitting a survey for participants to fill out each year creates a wealth of information and a variety of insights for us to shape the following year’s project. Another part of admin is a lot of emailing! A lot. We share information and updates to our participants via email as we don’t want to cloud our social media with updates that aren’t relevant to the public (of course!) With our exhibition going online this year, we’ve had to rely on communication via email a lot more.
One big piece of admin is our funding applications. For the past two years we’ve been supported by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland. The application process means lots of evaluating, collating information, planning, graphs, charts, typing, and creating a budget spreadsheet. This can take a while, but it’s also good practice for holding onto testimonials and general documentation of our project.
Before funding, the whole project was voluntarily run which at the time had its limitations, but due to the smaller volume of participants back then, we never felt that we couldn’t run the exhibition, thanks to support we received locally.
Above Images: Social get togethers with participants to make decorations
for the exhibitions
Putting all the boring admin aside, we also have our social media! Thanks to Hannah & Leah, we have been able to connect with our community more often this year.
The team discuss social media plans and Hannah, Leah and Sam roll them out! Plans change based on the time of the year. It could be about how and when do we advertise the project before January? How do we create hype about the exhibition, and how can we reach our target audiences? More recently we’ve been focused on how we connect with and support our community on FADDCreatives. We’ve found it particularity fun working on weekly prompts on this account. Check out the amazing art and photos by our community based on recent prompts by searching: #faddcreatives on Instagram.
One app we’re grateful for is Canva, as we use this for sharing information in a fun a visually appealing way.
– We’ve found that Instagram is now the most active platform for us.
In order to connect with participants and our community offline, we have social meets in cafes and bars in Dundee. This requires emails, polls and social media work to gauge how many people will be coming, and then to advertise. We also talk with venues and discuss bookings based on the size of the social meet. We love meeting participants, and really miss this at the moment!
We believe that teaming an online presence with social events/meets is important to create a fun and welcoming presence as FADD. Each year, we have more success with our in person meets and are continuing to develop these for 2021.
Another big piece of work behind the scenes (which is often clear to participants at this stage!) is running the exhibition. Usually this begins in the funding process for securing a space and including it in the budget. There’s plenty of admin which includes tasks such as; artist statements, layout plan, exhibition publication (a magazine), exhibition handout sheet, poster design, advertising across social media and press, speaking with participants on how they want their work hung, what surfaces they may need, social meets, entertainment and refreshments for opening night, decorations and more…
With a large no. of participants, it truly is a fun and challenging experience curating an exhibition with that many people, in a variety of art in mediums, and in a variety of sizes. Some participants have 31 individual pieces from painting to film to sculpture to photography to interactive art.
During the install we encourage participants to join in the fun as volunteers for setting up, hanging and invigilating, with the bonus of new experiences and getting fed and watered! 🙂 There’s loads of little moments where we cherish the teamwork, the up and go attitudes, the laughs, and the problem solving that is involved during these crucial stages before the exhibition opening.
Over the years, we’ve been including our participants more and more into the running of the project as a whole. This means that our performances on opening nights are by participants as are our helpers, invigilators, photographers, and poster designers. It’s a great way for us to be able to support our community in experiences, in financial terms and in the form of opportunities.
We get to meet pretty much all of the participants, and that’s fun for us. From a work viewpoint, it means lots of talking and communicating with people all throughout the exhibition install. This is why it’s now vital for a team during install week, as this crucial part of FADD can slow hanging and the general install schedule. More bodies means all the parts can move at the same time!
As our exhibition is of course online this year, it means we’ve had to adapt and have spent our time working on new platforms. We gathered images and text for our online portfolio, and for our scheduled Instagram posts over the weekend. (Mini posts of the portfolio.) We also worked with participants to gather additional information, and have provided blog posts, videos and images from their projects and recent practices. It’s been nice to have this new additional body of work to share with the public, giving an insight into some of our participants and FADD. It’s something we touched on this year in anticipation of 2020 thanks to out lovely new skilled team!
(See our blog posts titled ‘Stories’.)
It’s meant a lot more screen time than usual at this time of the year, but we are so pleased that we have this option for showcasing all the amazing people and their work. We couldn’t leave 2020 without celebrating these projects in some way!
A lot of planning has gone into delivering the exhibition over the weekend with all posts preemptively written, laid out and filed, to be posted on certain days at certain times. It ensures that we make the most out of the 3 days, sharing a variety of content over Facebook, Instagram & Twitter so that our showcase can be accessed from a preferred platform, rather than people jumping around the web.
A big thank you to anyone who has supported FADD over the years – if that looks like a ‘like’, a ‘share’, a visit to the exhibition, taking part, ‘retweeting’, volunteering, supporting us in any way shape and form. Encouragement, involvement and feedback is what really drives us. We love hearing that we’ve inspired people to reconnect with themselves, or a hobby, or to finally finish something they had started. The project is for our community, and to be honest, it was a little strange shining the light so heavily on our side of it in this blog post. We hope it’s been an interesting read and insight into the effort that the Team makes to deliver a virtual and in person ‘body’ that is Fun A Day Dundee.
Check out our other blog posts for the 2020 Exhibition Weekend by searching for ‘Exhibition Blog Post’ in the title!