‘Dystopia’ multi-arts event, BA (Hons) Arts & Festivals Management
As the applause from the crowd at the Notting Hill Arts Club eventually faded away, the crew of Dystopia were as delighted as they were exhausted.
A one night multi-arts extravaganza, Dystopia was more than just an event for the group of thirteen BA (Hons) Arts and Festival Management students – it was a significant part of their degree.
“We’d been encouraged to consider different motivations for producing arts events,” explains Grace, one of the General Managers. “Whether they should be for fun, or to comment on societal issues."
As a group we wanted to highlight the current political climate, negativity surrounding it, and show that art can shine a light on this and be used for potential escapism.
“We wanted to use art to shine a light during a time of political turbulence in order to demonstrate that inspiration can be found even in ‘Dystopia’. Our aim was to produce an event where our artists, visual and musical, could express their own feelings about Dystopia, giving the audience a new insight into the power of art.
Huge learning curve
To make the event a reality required the group to divide into teams, focusing on the many diverse elements involved in staging such a performance. These included general management, marketing, finance, fundraising, venue management, artists, evaluation and risk assessment.
“The event was a huge success for us,” says Grace, “But the process that we all went through to learn how such events are staged was even more important. It was a huge learning curve – but we did it!”
The group all took on more than one role to bring their vision to life, and everyone found themselves involved with lots of different aspects of the event.
"I chose to be on the artist team to help artists reach their goals, helping them get their work noticed," explains Becky. "I enjoyed scoping out both old and new talents within the creative industry."
Louise, part of the Evaluation team, explains her role: "We started by getting weekly updates, we planned different ways of collecting different types of data on the night and got an in-depth response from our audience and performers."
Grace was also part of the finance team; creating budgets and managing income and expenditure along the way. "We worked closely with the Marketing and fundraising team and it was important we all functioned well as a team," she said.
We set up a gofundme page and hosted fundraising events to raise money to help stage the event, and we were supported all the way through the process by the Enterprise Centre
With a successful event under their belts, the team feels that the learning experience has been invaluable, and prepared them for the reality of staging events once they graduate.
Chris, another General Manager, reflects on his experience: "Hindsight is a beautiful thing, try and plan everything well in advance, plan things before you’ve even thought about putting on an event, it all helps in the long run."
The experience has given everyone transferable skills that they hope will come in useful for future employment.
“One thing that really came out of it was the importance of filling out your vision as much as you can,” Grace says. “It will help you to visualise how you want everyone involved to feel on the night, and you can then tailor operational decisions to help make it happen.”
Growing in confidence
With a successful event under her belt, everyone is looking to the future. Grace hopes to continue working in the creative industries. “LSBU is great for helping people into careers,” she says.
By providing placements and a solid understanding of a variety of elements that are crucial within the creative industries, my confidence has grown significantly while studying at LSBU, and I’m looking forward to what the future holds