If you have ever wanted to organise an exhibition, competition, fair or collaborative event you will know what an administrative pain it can be to keep everything together. As more and more calls for participation are taking place online, artists expect a simple and fast application process, which is often difficult to achieve on a limited (or no) budget.
CuratorSpace is a new site which aims to help smooth that organisation process by providing artists and curators with a set of online project management tools and a platform on which to use them.
ORGANISE AND SUBMIT
As an organiser you can quickly, and simply, set up calls for participation and those wanting to take part can submit their details directly through CuratorSpace’s online submission system.
Interestingly, once registered with the site (free of charge) you can use it as an online portfolio for all future submissions. As an artist you can upload your details and images of work and then, if you see an event or call for participation which interests you, you can submit your details without having to go through the process of uploading everything again.
This is a really efficient aspect of the site and will appeal to anyone who has been through the torture of constantly having to submit the same information to multiple sites.
There is a list of opportunities which gives visitors a single location from which to select events they may want to be involved with. Each has a descriptive outline of the event, clear submission deadline, frequently asked questions which the organisers set up themselves (so they are relevant to that particular submission), ways to contact the organisers and pre-defined forms to input details and upload images.
When we looked, there were opportunities to submit to exhibitions dealing with sound, painting, books and festive networking.
Functionality for curators and organisers goes even further allowing them to make their listings private, so they do not appear on the main listings page. This has the advantage that they can still use all the site tools but then send out email links, to selected artists, they are interested in inviting.
One clear advantage advantage for organisers is that they can manage all their submissions in one place, view work online and accept or reject submissions. If you have organised an event in the past you will know how time consuming it can be just to copy and paste all those participant emails into a list for sending acceptance and rejection messages. CuratorSpace offers an integrated messaging system to speed up contact between artists and curators.
The site is packed full of very useful information and also includes items on featured curators, so a chance there to gather information and opinion about how they work and their rage of view.
We tested out the platform and have to say - a lot of thought and care has gone into its functionality. Setting up an event, or call for participation, is simple and intuitive. Including frequently asked questions is fast and quick to change. Organisers can select from a set of predefined submission forms, with relevant fields for people to fill in, already set up. The site is also very happy to help you make the most of their tools and will adapt current templates, or create new ones, for you. For our test we needed some adjustments and they responded to us quickly and professionally - even to the point that they were able to anticipate what we wanted and get it all ready for us!
It is early days yet for this fledgling site, but it does look promising. The basic service is free of charge, which gives organisers access to the tool kits and management of one event at a time, with unlimited submissions. Other packages cost £5, £20 and £50 per month and allow you to manage multiple events simultaneously with greater flexibility and personal branding. These are clearly aimed at the professional curator who regularly organises exhibitions or calls for submission.
Put together by artist-curator Louise Atkinson, and web developer Philip Bennison, CuratorSpace is being developed from a user’s perspective with functionality which makes sense for the end users. Often, when projects like these are borne out of a real ‘need’, by people who have experience in the field, they fill a space no-one knew needed filling.
Have a look round the site - particularly the current opportunities and see if the tools might smooth your future event organisation.
ABOUT THE CREATORS OF CURATORSPACE
Louise Atkinson is an artist/curator who has been developing projects for about 14 years. She is a big fan of social media particularly ways of disseminating knowledge and making connections through blogs and online communities. She has worked on education projects with galleries including Tate Britain, has examples of her own work in collections including the V&A, and is also currently studying for a PhD in Fine Art at Leeds University.
Philip Bennison has worked at some of the top digital agencies in the UK, building ecommerce websites, web applications, and myriad other systems. He has a real passion for his craft, and enjoys nothing more than building systems that help people achieve what they need to achieve simply, elegantly, and efficiently.