ᵃᵈ My International Women’s Day 2020 was next level! I was invited to a curator’s talk to launch a brand new exhibition about strong women called ‘Man Up: Women who stepped into a man’s world’ at Chawton House!
Not only was the historic house, in the heart of Hampshire, a fantastic travel discovery but, the insight into the exhibition from its creator added another dimension.
Learning about all those strong women who stepped up and thrived in a predominantly male environment was so interesting and gave me a real education to what life was like during the eighteenth century.
I felt very lucky I could take my Mum and experience this unique exhibition with her on International Women’s Day – what a fantastic memory to have!
Take a look at Chawton House and the new Man Up! exhibition…
Southampton’s old archaeology museum has been transformed into a new arts space by A Space Arts with the support of a whole host of funders.
FINALLY! The city has been crying out for more art spaces, culture and a step away from the huge chains that fill our high street. While they have their place in Southampton, the city lacks balance – now is the time for more independents, retail and places for live music.
Take a look at this fantastic new addition to the city centre…
Drink, paint, chill- what’s not to like? Paint Chill Co. is a new art class experience available in Southampton, Portsmouth and Chichester.
It’s for every ability as the sessions are guided with plenty of tips, tricks and help if you need it. At the end of the evening the canvas is yours so you can take your masterpiece home and make plans to become the next Picasso.
Thank god we made it through all that ‘New Year, New Me’ bollocks that was rammed down our throats across January. Sorry, but dry January, along with the temporary wave of new gym goers and people making resolutions that are not kept can do one.
It’s time for a quick January 2016 catch up!
January was so much fun, it has gone by in a flash, probably through the haze of Birthday celebrations. One notable Birthday highlight was a rather decadent and frivolous afternoon tea at The Savoy. This then got extended to gin and tonic’s at the Beaufort Bar in all it’s 1920’s black and gold glamour. We then went around Kings Cross Station to the Alan Rickman tributes that have been left at Platform nine and three quarters. He was one of my favourite actors.
I hope you had a cracking January too, I mean it wasn’t that bad, was it?
It has been a great month apart from a couple of major exceptions, the wonderfully talented icons we have lost.
Bowie. Rickman. Wogan. Cultural icons who will be sorely missed. The world will be a slightly darker place without them all.
I was lucky enough to meet Sir Terry Wogan once (I know what a name drop!) on the strangest college trip ever to the Terry and Gaby Show. He sat down on the step next to me, before he was introduced on stage, and engaged me in a brief chat which ended with him elbowing my arm, throwing me a wink and saying ‘There are worse jobs to have!’. He was warm, engaging and a true professional.
Each in their own way helped to shape modern media, music and film. Influencers in their field.
PR is always talking about influencers. In fact it’s such a hot topic that the CIPR has sent a new magazine out at the end of January to its members called Influence.
The tag line is ‘For switched-on Public Relations Professionals’. It’s a great tag line, if not a little obvious. I mean everyone wants to be considered as ‘switched-on’ in the PR industry?!
Emblazened on the cover is the word ‘LISTEN’ followed by ’19 essentials to engage a message-swamped world’. Why 19?! Odd!
It’s targeting three key issues that are some of the biggest PR insecurities. Being able to influence, to listen and to effectively communicated.
I haven’t read it yet but I can’t wait to settle down with a coffee, welcome in February properly and get my PR geek on! Let’s hope it lives up to the hype!
Technology has brought us humans so many good things. We can communicate. We are entertained. We are safer. We are progressing, developing and continually learning. But, it also gives us a greater power to help others.
Project 256, co-ordinated by Chris Courtney, has been created to give a voice back to the homeless through art and technology. It wants to change the perception of giving to the homeless and prevent homeless people from becoming shunned or invisible.
First of all a street artist paints a huge image of the homeless person in a prominent public position with a unique QR code and a web-link. The web-link shows you a video about the homeless person featured and the QR code is linked to a Bitcoin wallet that belongs to the homeless person in the portrait.
A donation can be made that is both direct and instantly received. The homeless person is supplied with a phone for them to be able to utilise the donations. This means you know the donated money is going directly to help that person to buy food or shelter for the night, or to save for larger purchases.
The homeless person isn’t dependent on being there to receive the donation and I can imagine that this could make donations more consistent and reliable? I guess we will see as the project unfolds!
The project is starting in London and Paris where there is a lot of free wi-fi available on the street. However the project hasn’t been without its teething problems. Initially the phones were quickly sold to make instant cash. However, now the phone is looked after by the street artist or a volunteer for up to a month with the hope that the homeless person will understand that it will provide an income with potential long term benefits.
The artist’s image makes it a positive talking point and individual stories can be followed. Columbo was the first man in Britain to be featured. He has been painted in Shoreditch, in East London by Bom.K. and can be seen at the top of this page as the main article image and below.
Art is being used to PR the cause, to tell a story and change people’s perceptions. There is a story, a person, a life behind the homeless person you donate to, a story told through beautiful street art imagery and amazing advances in technology. But most importantly this facilitates the ability to be able to help.
The more I learn about PR, the more I see it as a glue that holds projects together, it has the ability to create a platform where it can help to inform, educate and facilitate. PR is powerful. It comes in various forms and functions.
So my next thing to tickle your creative tastebuds has to be the trailer that Banksy released today for Dismaland! I know – I’m obsessed. Dismaland is my cup of tea, so why not celebrate the things you like?
The video follows a family, who start at the breakfast table and is questioned by a narrative that asks ‘is there something missing in your life?’.
They then head to the park to experience a classic rip-off of Disney’s infamous tag line ‘the happiest place on Earth’ but then experience all sorts of ‘dismal’ happenings once there.
It’s a creative rip off of the Disney TV adverts and is the perfect homage to his bemusement park and the extremely on point art works which pick up topical provocative political and cultural themes.
My five am start, two and half hour drive and four and a half hour queue time to ensure my feet were one of the first across the threshold at Dismaland paid off…
I was in!
The pre-opening ticket PR hype did nothing to quell my excitement, and I was not disappointed. Not one little bit!
The staff are purposefully rude, abrupt and non-responsive, but in such a humourous way that I got an exceptional fit of the giggles as we passed through the fake security entrance. Of course they had been told to do that, but the innocent childish laughter kept coming. Cardboard scanners and CCTV and other props were incredible, polished off by the outstanding performance by the staff who ‘interrogated’ you. After a hilariously impressive start I went through the door half-expecting it to end there but there were more staff to hand out leaflets, only they made it intentionally difficult for you to take a map from their hand, or just stood there looking at you blankly full of disdain. None of them broke character, not once and it totally made the experience.
I found it a visual over load, with so much detail that I took a lot of time taking it all in. It was a magnificent triumph, Banksy had successfully curated a wide array of art and put the artists together to create one fluid and coherent installation. He created this from scratch in under six months, it was seriously impressive.
Having the PR ‘stunt’ fit in line with the event/attraction/installation (well, it is all three!) was the perfect way to promote the event and keep it in line with the mission behind the installation.
The art itself, predominantly installations, were deliberately thought provoking and challenged perceptions. Here’s a peek at some of the works…
It’s a great place for creative thought, perhaps it suggests a way for public relations to come at things from a different angle too. The stakeholders in attendance were a large cross-section of society, some where there because of the hype, the attraction, the installation, to look cool, to be an activist, an anarchist, an artist…
Every sort of person was there and international languages rippled across the air. Stereotypes didn’t really work here, it had a strange mass appeal. Perhaps it’s because Banksy’s works aren’t aimed at one person, they are aimed at everyone, to challenge everyone’s thoughts and what is fundamentally right and wrong.
It was anything but Dismal! We had a wonderful time, and I seriously suggest you go and experience not only the fun side, but the elements which make you challenge your thoughts and ideas on difficult topics.
Oh yeah, and don’t forget to Exit through the Gift Shop…
This exhibition was temporary and ran during 2015.