Touring Exhibitions Group – May 2016

Last month, we played host to the Touring Exhibitions Group conference, and Sonja Kielty, our Exhibition’s curator offered to write a blog entry that gives you an insight in the event!

She writes:

About TEG Marketplace
TEG’s annual Marketplace is a unique opportunity for exhibition providers and hirers in museums, galleries, art and science centres and other public-sector venues UK-wide to get together to discuss projects and exchange ideas. Delegates can book a stall, from which to distribute details about their exhibitions on offer, or circulate freely, gathering information and setting up collaborations.

Gallery and museum professionals can join colleagues nationwide for one or two days of programme inspiration at the UK’s only touring exhibitions exchange and networking event.
Sonja Kielty, Curator (Exhibitions) is the Deputy Chair for TEG. The TEG committee meet 3 times a year on various touring exhibition events, fundraising, visits. The annual marketplace takes a chunk of that time in planning, sourcing host venues and speakers.

This was the first time that the Marketplace was held in Bradford. It was the best attended on record! The TEG team worked very hard in the months and weeks running up to the event, as did the staff of Bradford’s Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, particularly Andrew Wilson, Visitor Supervisor and Kathryn Barker, Administrator. Andrew’s background in theatre was an invaluable tool – he planned the whole upper floor perfectly to allow for catering, break out space, stands, an AGM and seminars. He worked with extension leads, power sockets, pop up banners and the lift! His team laid out multiple tables, banqueting roll and guided over 120 curators to their area. Kathryn packed over 100 goodie bags, printed many timetables, booking sheets and stand numbers.


David Knowles, Museum Assistant, but most valued for his IT knowledge provided IT, powerpoint and various seminars to be uploaded, included mics and speakers.
Exhibition Intern, Cat Scott carried boxes of BMG publicity and Becca McGrath, Audience Development Intern manned the BMG stand with Cat – promoting the touring exhibitions, projects and networking for Bradford Museums and Galleries. This high profile event could not have happened without the TEG committee and members or Cartwright Hall Art Gallery team.

Brian Laverick in Bradford Council Catering, what can we say? With 2 assistants he ran the best buffets for 2 days in a row – no end of compliments from delegates on the catering. Thanks to Claire Ackroyd who gave a very warm welcome at short notice from Learning to Exhibitions! (Please do enquire about the Art and Science of noticing, Claire and the Learning Team are developing this model for temporary exhibitions).

Thursday 12 May 2016:
Pre-Marketplace Seminar: Working in Partnership
Held in the stunning space of the Banqueting Suite, Bradford’s City Hall, this was a day liaising with our colleagues at City Hall, who were so organised, relaxed and incredibly helpful. The day went so smoothly in the cool, historical confines of the stone walls, solid staircases and most loved, the hidden panel doors! Over 70 exhibition curators, artists and suppliers joined us.

Copy of IMAG1916

The benefits of touring in partnership, outweigh the challenges: venues can be secured further in advance; resources, expertise and risk are shared; and funding not otherwise available can be accessed. With an aim to support increased partnership working in the sector, this seminar shared findings from TEG’s recent Economics of Touring Exhibitions research, providing examples of successful models for partnership touring, plus information on potential funding sources and an opportunity to network with colleagues from organisations across the UK.


Speakers included: Craig Ashley, mac, Birmingham; Charlotte Dew, TEG Researcher; Dawn Henderby and Diana A Sykes, Scottish Touring Exhibitions Consortium; Gemma Levett, Science Museum Group; Natalie Tacq, British Museum; plus funding updates from Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund. TEG’s Economics of Touring Exhibitions programme is supported by ACE.


Bradford was bathed with the most gorgeous warm weather and sunshine that day. Many thanks to Bradford’s Tourism department who supplied the gorgeous copies of Bradford as a tourist destination. City Park and the Mirror Pool were gems to show off as we walked across that late afternoon to Impressions Gallery for drinks, nibbles and an exhibition tour/talk by their Head of Programmes, Pippa Oldfield, ‘Passion: Maud Sulter’.  The evening was kindly sponsored by Jayhawk Fine Art transportation.

Our huge thanks goes to Zarif Amin of Mumtaz on Great Horton Road in Bradford. Perfect serving of gorgeous array of Bradford Curry and over 60 UK curators and artists to cater for – easy! We will be there again, Zarif…


Thanks also to the Victoria Hotel in Bradford who seemed to have the vast majority of TEG delegates stay with them. A good welcoming discount was offered to delegates for TEG Marketplace. Thank you again.

Friday 13 May: MARKETPLACE 2016


Marketplace is accompanied by a forum for TEG members to update on new ideas and upcoming projects, plus opportunities for 1:1 funding advice from Arts Council England and an afternoon programme of tours of the venue’s current exhibitions.

Gallery tours took place with BMG curators Nilesh Mistry and Sonja Kielty plus partners including the British Museum, ACE and Tim Smith, Photographer, around our touring/partnership exhibitions ‘Ganesha’; ‘Gateway to India’ and ‘David Hepher: Windows’. There was also some impromptu idea presentations hosting by TEG’s Katie Hall of Birmingham Museums.

The event attracted 110 delegates from 74 different organisations throughout England and Scotland. with fabulous feedback –  both directly, and on social media.  Here’s a selection:

Well done to all. My first time to a marketplace and it was so useful, inspiring and a great place to make connections and share ideas.
Helen Jones Arts Development Manager, The Point, darts-Doncaster Community Arts

Thank you very much for organising the marketplace today, I am so pleased I could be there, it was invaluable. I met a great range of friendly, interested people and it was wonderful to be in beautiful Cartwright Hall.
Carrie Supple, Journey to Justice

I just wanted to write a quick note to say thank you for the excellent event and organisation on Friday, that was by far the best TEG Marketplace I’ve been to. A fantastic venue with a great mix of interesting people, even the kids on the catering table were good fun to talk to. Well done everyone.
Clive McCready, General Manager, TESS Demountable

Thank you again to you and the TEG team for the Marketplace and seminar in Bradford. It was my first and a really interesting and useful couple of days.
Matthew Cowpe Senior Touring Exhibitions Manager, Museum of London

Just to say thank you too – it was one of the best organised, and most useful events I have ever been to. Top marks to Bradford too! In that weather – there was no better place to be. Thanks especially Sonja and her team. See you all soon
Julie Biddlecombe-Brown, Durham University Library

So here’s to next year’s marketplace, venue to be announced.

If you are a curator of exhibitions, artist, supplier, museum or gallery professional and you’re not already a TEG member – join!

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