Matthew Chesney from BACKLIT Nottingham on winning Connect10 artist Mat Collishaw for Museums at Night


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Matthew Chesney, founder and director of BACKLIT in Nottingham, explains how his team successfully campaigned for public votes in the Connect10 competition to "bring back" local artist Mat Collishaw. With only minimal resources, they reached out to their local audiences online using social media. He also shares the success of their Museums at Night event with Mat, and what the legacy has meant for the organisation as a whole.

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Matthew Chesney from BACKLIT Nottingham on winning Connect10 artist Mat Collishaw for Museums at Night

  1. 1. Backlit Connect 10 / MAN13
  2. 2. Backlit • Backlit was established in 2008 with an aim of supporting emerging artists with affordable studio space as well as developmental opportunities through participatory and collaborative exhibitions and events with arts and creative professionals. • The venue supports programmed exhibitions and events with open workshops, screenings, talks, and open studios. Backlit also delivers unique critical sessions on works in progress facilitated by regional and national universities with both artists and the public. • Housing 21 studio artists the venue continues to build a strong reputation for artistic innovation . The organisation is was awarded Arts Council Funding for a 2 year Visual Arts Programme increasing cultural participation in a regenerative area (Eastside) of the City.
  3. 3. Connect 10 Submitting an Idea
  4. 4. Connect 10 • In February 2013 Backlit submitted a proposal to Culture 24 for the Connect 10 competition. • As an established artist, originally from Nottingham, Backlit proposed that Mat Collishaw would return back to the city to reconnect with local audiences, and its burgeoning art scene. Backlit has strong affiliation from Nottingham Trent University (formerly Trent Polytechnic) where Collishaw graduated from in 1986 and would like to encourage Nottingham undergraduates/ graduates to be ambitious.
  5. 5. Mat Collishaw's Connect10 offer: • Mat Collishaw offered visitors to help prepare and make some of his work. These technical practices included the flattening of the butterflies for his insecticide works or helping him create some of his spinning zoetropes.
  6. 6. Backlit Proposal • Backlit invited students from affiliated partner organisations to work alongside Mat and to create a legacy for the emerging artists of Nottingham. By displaying works by an artist such as Collishaw, and presenting the experimental side of his practice, the project would attempt to unveil the mystery behind artistic success and has immense value as a learning tool for not only the organisation but also the wider arts communities. • The event was also to be accessed online through a Live Stream in partnership with White Collar Zoo Tv and feature a rare interview with Carol Jones (formerly of the Midland Group).
  7. 7. Shortlist and Competitors • Artist Offers – a opportunity to present an ambitious project with a high profile artist. • Backlit intended to use every means available to galvanise as many people as possible to vote as a venue. • Competing venues in the running were- Anglican Cathedral (Liverpool), Landhydrock House (Bodmin) and Northern Print (Newcastle).
  8. 8. Bring Back Mat Campaign • Backlit worked with Cartwright communications to deliver a highly innovative social media campaign #BRINGBACKMAT which spanned out into coverage in the local, national and international press.
  9. 9. #bring back mat
  10. 10. Objectives of a PR plan • Create awareness among the public about the competition • Encourage people to vote for Mat to visit the Backlit gallery • Raise awareness of the Backlit gallery • Educate the Nottingham public about who Mat is and his connection to Nottingham .
  11. 11. Audiences • Artists – (Flyers across the city and Mail-outs) • Students – (University Radio Nottingham, Announcements) • People interested in the arts locally – (blogs, social media) • The general public – (local press)
  12. 12. Social media • Backlit’s and Cartwright Communications used Twitter and Facebook to drum up support for the campaign by posting regular content about the competition and about Mat Collishaw. • Key social media influencers will be approached to talk about the campaign on social media, using the #‘bringbackmat’. • Each day posted ‘Mat fact’ and images of his work with information where ‘drip fed’ about the competition and who is supporting it. • Email marketing - Nottingham Trent University art school’s database sent on to students and local organisations that would be interested in supporting the campaign. For example the Nottingham Contemporary, Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham City Council, New Art Exchange and Spirit Nottingham.
  13. 13. Final Votes • • In attempt to secure the winning vote Backlit pushed for final votes through facebook and twitter with a bringbackmat trailer
  14. 14. Winning Connect 10 • Backlit secured nearly 50% of the vote through its innovative social media campaign! • The city joined forces to welcome Mat Back to Nottingham for the site visit. • #askmat invited people to submit questions for Mat’s Live interview through the on twitter in partnership with Northern Print.
  15. 15. Working with Mat • Mat Collishaw directed a workshop with local artists and members of the public to build a series of unique 3D zoetropes – with staionary and record players - a modern twist on the old Victorian technique. He also took part in a question and answer session.
  16. 16. Radio BBC Nottingham • “Backlit gallery is a fantastic artist-run studio and exhibition space. Last week I met the artists that have studios there and the people that run the gallery, and they are all fantastic. I’m looking forward to coming down to the gallery again to run the workshop and meet more creative people in Nottingham.” Mat Collishaw
  17. 17. 3D Zoetrope Workshop • The workshop was free and open to the public, although places were limited. An additional opening after the workshop expanded footfall for the event making it more inclusive. For those who couldn’t make it, there was a live TV stream of the event on White Collar Zoo – Nottingham’s online video channel for the creative sector.
  18. 18. Mat Collishaw Zoetrope Workshop
  19. 19. Legacy • International Press – Vogue Ukraine • Regional Press – Leftlion, BBC • Inspiration to audiences – Live streaming and online access to the event. • Arts council Funding – The next level for the organisation. • Cartwright Communictaions have been entered for awards for innovative #bringbackmat campaign