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Preparing Proposals: Communicating Your Arts Practice Verbally

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The value of words and articulating what you do and how you do it cannot be
underestimated and is something many artists struggle with. A good statement in
defining the public understanding of your work is invaluable to your practice as is
the ability to clearly identify what you want to say about your work, and how you
want to say it. The presentation of this visually is also key.

The main focus of this practical workshop is to help the artist communicate the core essence of what
they do to a variety of publics - peers, galleries, interested individuals and
potential clients.

This workshop will be a step by step 'how-to' guide in the use of
language and the presentation of the core concepts of your work in a written,
spoken and visual format. It is intended that participants will come away with the
tools to be able to speak and write, clearly and professionally about their work, in
a variety of formats - proposals, artist s statement and C.V.

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Preparing Proposals: Communicating Your Arts Practice Verbally

  1. 1. Preparing Proposals- communicating your practice verbally Kerry McCall Professional Practice Series VAI/Artlinks
  2. 2. Road Map <ul><li>Timetable: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>10.00 - 4.00 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Introduction+ Qs 10.00 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Individual Presentations 10.20 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Communicating your Practice Verbally 11.00 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>LUNCH 12.30-1.30 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Written presentation discussion 1.30 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Idea Re- presentation 3.00 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Questions+ Queries 4.00 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Finish 4.30 </li></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Introduction <ul><ul><li>Me </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Question:…. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What do you hope to get out of today? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Intended Outcome <ul><li> ‘ The outcome of the day’s course is to upskill the participant in visual and verbal presentation of their artistic concepts.’ </li></ul><ul><li>… ..emphasis placed on the clarity of language…. </li></ul><ul><li>… .articulation of concept visually… </li></ul><ul><li>...and verbally.. </li></ul><ul><li> well as body language… </li></ul>
  5. 5. Participation <ul><li>Required </li></ul><ul><li>Known as Experiential </li></ul><ul><li>Deeper + made more real </li></ul><ul><li>Willing to participate? </li></ul><ul><li>Individual presentations of work </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Who do you want to present to? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Various publics you are currently engaged with: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lecturers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Exhibition organisers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Galleries </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Clients </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Arts Council </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>County Council </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Community Arts groups? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What’s not working for you? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>How do you think you should do that? </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Is how you look important? </li></ul><ul><li>Is how you talk important? </li></ul><ul><li>Is what you say important? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What you don’t say? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Do you know what your professional </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Strengths </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Weaknesses……… are? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Approaching Galleries and Proposal Writing for Artists <ul><ul><li>“ It would be terrific if a gallery owner saw your work….you get written about in Time magazine and you were invited to a show at the Whitney…” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do you sit at home and wait for this to happen? </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. How do you begin? <ul><li>You: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Research </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Network </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop a public profile </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Who you are </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider what you want to achieve </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Make it realistic </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Timely </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Specific </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Achievable </li></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Who’s out there? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Galleries </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Commissions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Opportunities </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Exhibitions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Residencies </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Get informed </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Make choices </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Environment Scanning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Explore for the ‘right fit’ </li></ul></ul></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><ul><li>Identify </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Select who you want to approach </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The organisation </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The person </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Consider what they need </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Consider what you want </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What do they say about themselves </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Can you use this language? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Talk in their terms </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><ul><li>Plan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What do you need to put in place to make your decisions happen? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>More research </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Materials, budgets </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Stakeholders/ Decision makers </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Resources </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Time </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Finance </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Knowledge </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><ul><li>Network </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How do you do this? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>It leads to this…… </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop a public profile </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Resources available <ul><li>ArtLinks: Approaching Galleries and Proposal Writing for Artists </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Facilitators: Pippa Little (Curator/Researcher)  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Course covered: how to approach commercial galleries and non-profit galleries </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Visual Artists Ireland </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fred Mann: Artists, Commercial Galleries and the International Art Market </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hugh Mulholland: Exhibiting with Galleries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Annette Clancy: Preparing Proposals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cliodhna Shaffrey and Ruairi O’Cuiv: Public Art Practice for Artists and Commissioners </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Talking about your work <ul><li>Can you say easily, clearly quickly and confidently: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>what you do </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>how you do it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why you do it </li></ul></ul><ul><li>See your work as separate to you </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Position your work </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Talking about your work <ul><li>Speak clearly and confidently - this only happens with practice </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How do you practice? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>You take all the trouble </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Is an exercise in persuasion </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Objective is limited but subject should be comprehensive </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How much time do you have? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Talking about your work <ul><li>Achieve Clarity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid abstraction + verboseness: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>‘ We’ll make sure you can hear properly..’ rather than </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>‘ We will give special attention to the provision of adequate sound reception facilities..’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Best talkers are most natural </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Write spoken english </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Can use vernacular </li></ul></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Talking about your work <ul><li>Achieve Clarity </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid technical terms </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Unless required/appropriate </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use your own words and phrases </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cut out jargon </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If you can’t be understood, that’s all you will be remembered for </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Do use adjectives liberally </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop an interesting narrative </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Talking about your work <ul><li>Be clear about the purpose (of whom you are meeting/communicating with) </li></ul><ul><li>Work out </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the key message- what are your trying to convey </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Write it out and rehearse </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Make the answer as clear as possible </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Make this your touchstone </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>for how long - always check how much time you have </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>have some sort of preface- establishes important facts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>& develops relationship </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>in what order - group similar ideas </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The impression you want to make + leave </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Talking about your work <ul><li>Consider </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Who are the key opinion formers/decisions makers? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What do they already know? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What technical expertise do they have? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are they thinking about the subject? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who else are they considering? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Circulate anything beforehand, to whom? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What format? Did they get it? Was it sufficient? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Talking about your work: some basic tips <ul><li>Leave them wanting more </li></ul><ul><li>How will you follow up? </li></ul><ul><li>Consider the next step </li></ul><ul><li>Keep the engagement professional </li></ul><ul><li>Keep communicating </li></ul><ul><li>Keep providing information, on time and in formats required </li></ul>
  24. 24. Talking about your work <ul><li>How far into listening to someone talking, do you get before you form an opinion? </li></ul><ul><li>Which speakers stick in your mind? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>emulate </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Do you find spoken presentations more interesting than written ones? </li></ul><ul><li>What do you think are indicators that your audience’s attention is starting to wander? </li></ul>
  25. 25. Talking about your work: some basic tips <ul><li>Eye contact and a relaxed manner are crucial </li></ul><ul><li>Endeavour to engage and be engaging </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Be welcoming- Use a Joke/Expression of Feeling </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Be sure you can wing it if you have to </li></ul><ul><li>Pause briefly after an important point </li></ul><ul><li>Be aware of physical & verbal mannerisms - problem if frequent </li></ul>
  26. 26. Talking about your work: some basic tips <ul><li>Can be good to hide behind something - have hard copies </li></ul><ul><li>Be careful to eliminate contradictions & overlapping points </li></ul><ul><li>Be aware of gaps </li></ul><ul><li>Beware technology, the simpler the better </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>K.I.S.S. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  27. 27. Visuals <ul><li>How do others do it? </li></ul><ul><li>Hard copy-portfolio, printed digital images, Cds/Dvds, slides </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Which is most effective for your work? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What works best for you? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>for your work? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is required? </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. Visuals <ul><li>CDs/DVDs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Only use if you are very comfortable with material and medium you are playing them on </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Crucial to check and rehearse on equipment in room </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have hard copy backups…always </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ensure your entire presentation does not depend on them </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can you leave a copy? </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. <ul><li>Kerry McCall </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E: [email_address] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mob.086.2324288 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Thankyou </li></ul>