The art of organising the Art Of Protest

Guest blogger Sarah Robson tells us what it takes to get a National exhibition on show

NOISE Art of Protest has toured across the country and has brought the best of amateur Protest art amongst the Masters. With artists from around the world, the exhibition has now got a global reach, allowing people from all walks of life to showcase their personal protests.

The opportunity to help organise NOISE Art of Protest: The Final has certainly been a swift learning curve. With little knowledge of organising exhibitions, let alone those with this amount of artists, I have definitely learned a lot from this experience.

Initially I had one, rather crucial problem, that this was the finale to a series of exhibitions that I had neither seen nor worked on. This gave the problem that I did not know previous work or artists which had then been selected again but also I was unaware to how it had been done previously. Even through reading previous materials on the exhibitions, it is difficult to get your head around them especially when a further  40 artists had been selected.

What I have learnt over the past few weeks is the most vital part of organising an exhibition with multiple artists in certainly the management of the artists and the artwork. Although I took part in exhibitions throughout University, showcasing my own work, it is difficult to appreciate the stressful nature of organising art work with over 50 different artists until you have to do it yourself. My own personal problem that I created was the expectation that each artist would be able to reply to my, many, emails as a when I needed them to, this was an early presumption that I had to swiftly remove and should have  known better considering my own experience with exhibitions. Always note that those involved will have other, most probably more essential things to do. 

Initially, all that was needed was to inform the artists that they had been selected, however once the responses began to come in thick and fast, the need to be organised became more apparent. With the specifications, personal details and legal contracts, it did all get a little overwhelming, simply going through the emails was difficult enough without the increase in what we needed from them. In hindsight, that wonderful little thing, it may have been easier to email all the artists earlier and with all the information that we would require rather than as an when I remembered. A tip for the future, to do lists not only give you a rewarding tick but are also essential in these circumstances.

Despite all the hair pulling moments, nearly missed deadlines and confusing, almost bury my head in the sand, issues. The art work managed to come in, the organic pieces sent to the Peoples’ History Museum and we are finally ready to install. Simply, receiving all of the art work and physically seeing it, puts all that hard work into reality, that we are giving amateur artists the opportunity to show their fantastic work and give them a platform for their own protests. My thanks have to go out to everyone who helped me during my period as a 'deer in the headlights', I feel I have become a great deal more knowledgeable and experienced now.

Now to the final step, the installation of ALL the artwork, which took two days of sweat, tears and with the clumsy nature of myself, more than likely a few drops of blood, which I will shed away from any of the artwork, don't panic. Fingers crossed the exhibition will look brilliant, no-one will have any serious injuries and there will be three months of impressed visitors spreading the word of the Art of Protest.

by guest blogger Sarah Robson,

NOISE Charity Volunteer

Photo courtesy of Jonathan McGee,