How I curated my own exhibition, ‘U2Opia’.
In spring 2018 BA (Hons) Fine Art second year student Bethany Freer, curated U2Opia. The exhibition was in response to the visualisation of the Utopia or Dystopia. Read all about how she curated the exhibition and her tips on how to perfect your own exhibition.
Curating U2Opia has been a very exciting challenge and a project that I am very proud to be working on with such a diversity of talented creatives from Norwich University of the Arts and Pop My Mind (PMM). Being able to turn my interests into a concept that I have then pitched and gained support behind has been incredible and I am really excited to share my journey.
Planning the exhibition
As the sole curator, I have been managing this project from the original concept to selecting participants and even the marketing strategy. The project has been largely informed by my own concentrated research as a Fine Artist and has allowed me to create a concept that is quite unique and utilises my studies in an interactive way.
From the original idea I shortlisted 20 exhibitors who I felt would produce exciting responses to the visualisation of the Utopia or Dystopia, and it has been very interesting to see such a range of ideas and diversity of mediums tackling these themes.
Variety is something that is very important to me when curating a show, so being able to approach different disciplines from my connections at both NUA and PMM has been very exciting and really demonstrates the diversity of talent we have in our community.
From BA Games Art and Design students Brandon Toop and Ben Watton creating 3D visuals and interactive worlds to Fine Artists such as John Mallet producing eerie sculptures that watch the viewer, the exhibition hosts many exciting dialogues between works.
Collaborating with Pop My Mind
The exhibition also welcomes the very talented PMM community who I have had the pleasure of working with on many projects. PMM for the first time will be showcasing work alongside NUA with works that have been created by talents from across the globe to truly bring together a hub of creative ideas, and I am excited to see how they interact with both the viewer and each other. Talents such as creative Katie Borkins will give the viewer a glimpse into her beautiful illustration of paradise while International community member Sander Steins appropriates the same image to evoke new ideas.
Bringing together and curating a space to host quite a complex network of ideas and responses has been very challenging and something I have approached with much care and consideration of how pieces might interact and be in dialogue with one another.
Marketing the exhibition
I feel the exhibition is quite innovative in its concept and as such I wanted to put a lot of effort into how it is presented and marketed to spike the public’s interest in such an important part of the human condition: imagining better worlds. Postcards designed by illustration student Tatiana Susvaliuc have been a big part of the marketing campaign to get the public to respond directly to the exhibition, by drawing their own utopias and visions of the future and interacting with the various social media accounts for U2Opia.
The final product
This project has been a great experience and I have learnt great amounts from different disciplines about how they work in different fields and how they tackle themes creatively to produce great work.
Networking and being able to study in such a creative hub at NUA has allowed me to find new talents and work with them collaboratively to broaden my own skills and ideas, and platforms such as Pop My Mind have been a fantastic resource to work with to gain new skills in marketing and also building relationships with a creative community (if you haven’t already, go check them out!). I hope to be able to become part of more great projects like this and continue to work with the high level of talent in these communities!
"Networking and being able to study in such a creative hub at NUA has allowed me to find new talents and work collaboratively to broaden my own skills and ideas."