The first phase of a collaborative negotiation on an exhibition involves gathering as much information as possible, preferably well in advance of any meeting.
- Artists - research the gallery, how it programmes, what its current interests are, which other galleries 'look to' that one because they are good at picking interesting artists, etc.
- Gallery - research the artist, the context for their work, their peer network, their other projects, etc.
What do you want to achieve?
Before you start a negotiation, set out for yourself on paper what you want to achieve from the exhibition opportunity in terms of:
- Things you must achieve
- Things you intend to achieve
- Things you'd like to achieve
Discuss and explore
The first meeting provides an opportunity for artists and exhibition organiser to explore each other's needs, start to create a relationship and as part of this, for each to make tentative offers. Avoid stating your own preferences and ideas and instead use 'open questions' that create a space in which ideas can be explored, for example:
- What do you think about...?
- Is there something you'd like to suggest?
- From your experience, what do you find works well...?
- What other options could we look at?
Susan Jones (used with permission)