DECIDE ON A FORMULA


The Future of Fixing is adaptable, flexible and scalable. It was pretty big as we ran it as part of Lodz Design Festival. They committed substantial resources and effort, way beyond what most people could consider. But we think you could take some of the things we did, adapt them and deliver it on a shoestring. And we hope you do.

To decide on your formula, think about why you're doing it, who will come and what you have (or can beg, borrow or steal) to work with. Any single one of these might tell you what you should be doing. We've given examples based on cost below as this is often the biggest constraint.

Questions to help you decide:
  • Why do you want to do this? Do you love the subject or think its important? Do you have an interested audience or a space to fill with something interesting? Will it help you gain new skills or knowledge that can be applied somewhere else?
  • What do your audience do and how do they behave? What kind of things might work with their habits and motivations? Are they more likely to come out to an event or drop by an exhibition? Would they prefer to read, look or do something?
  • What space do you have? What space could you get? Is it constantly available or would you have to pop up and break down?
  • How long would you want it to last? Is there a regular need or variation - like weekend family visitors?
  • What's your budget? Think about set-up budget separate to other money for staff, maintenance or programming on an ongoing basis?
  • How much help can you get? What skills do they have? How long could you have them for?
  • Do you have anything else around you can use to help - useful people, materials or partner organisations? Could you buddy up to deliver any part of it?

The full formula

The Future of Fixing full formula at Lodz included these components:
  1. Exhibition
  2. Library of both books and materials
  3. Small cinema
  4. Programmed activities e.g. Makerspace activities, talks and a seminar
  5. Other commissioned materials e.g. a comic book

You could run one or all of these or hack them into a new formula completely. We've speculated below on what we'd do at different budget levels but only you can know what you have to work with, what local work costs and what you can cover in-house. Also and most importantly, what are the elements which will be of greatest value and benefit to the people you're doing it for? Whether it is one object on a shelf with a poster, or an entire room in your building, there is a formula that works for you.

Minimal budget: £0 to £5K

You can do a lot with a small amount of money - but you'll definitely do less if you're working alone and don't think resourcefully. Get your game face on and go out and beg some favours:
  • We'd start by buying a lot of cake or beer or both (though we'd recommend starting most projects like that), inviting as many people as you think might care about the subject, and look at pooling resources.
  • As people will bring the project to life, we'd recommend spending most of your budget on programmed activities. Get the inspirational speakers in and get them to run workshops.
  • Maybe you can make the exhibition components in those workshops. And search out exhibition quality materials locally through your networks - people are always doing ingenious things - you just have to find them and curate them into a coherent story. This could just deliver you a tiny and perfect exhibition on minimal budget.
  • Could you partner with a local bookshop on the library - maybe they'll donate display copies if you take orders or sell the books on site? 2-5 books can be a library if they're presented right. Get 2 comfortable chairs and a lamp and you'd be surprised what happens next.
  • But do make sure you allow time and thought into adapting and print out some interpretive texts as part of the exhibition - the purpose of a programme like this is to provoke people to think and reflect on what they do.
  • And don't forget to market it - whether its your email list or forums or the old fashioned way with flyers and posters - if people don't know about it they won't come.
Indicative budget @ £5K

Cake and beer
£200
Programmed activities:

- Speakers and expenses
£1000
- Workshops and materials
£1000
Exhibition (small/tiny scale)

- Materials
£200
- Printing, fabrication and install
£200
- Exhibits misc expenses
£100
Library

- Books
£100
- Materials
£500
- Comfortable seating and lamps
£500
Fees and volunteer expenses
£800
Marketing
£200
Contingency
£200
Total
£5000

Mid-range: £5K to £20K

This is a significant amount of money to commit so you'll want to make the most of it. For this you probably want a pretty solid on-going presence in your space, plus the kind of programmed activities that can deepen your audience's engagement with the themes. Do think carefully about duration as this is the thing that can change the emphasis hugely; for example a 3 week exhibition with a seminar would be budgeted quite differently to a 6 month exhibition with regular programmed events. Fees and volunteer expenses can impact as well, depending on what skills you have in-house and what level of quality you're aiming for. Can you write the captions or do you need a writer for example? And do you need a researcher to support finding the best possible exhibits? Is the space self-running or do you need people there to facilitate or engage all the time?
Indicative budget @ £20K

Cake and beer
£200
Programmed activities:

- Speakers and expenses
£1000
- Workshops and materials
£1000
Exhibition (mid-scale)

- Materials
£1000
- Printing, fabrication and install
£4000
- Exhibits misc expenses
£5000
Cinema (equipment)
£1000
Library

- Books
£500
- Materials
£800
- Comfortable seating and lamps
£1000
Fees and volunteer expenses
£3000
Marketing
£750
Contingency
£750
Total
£20,000

Max-out: £20K+

If you're spending more than £20K it's likely that this is a major part of your programme, and that you have some significant experience and skills to bring to its planning and delivery. If you don't - you need some. We can offer you all the raw materials on this site, but at this scale you need to carefully plan out your investment. We can share that the Lodz 'full formula' budget was somewhere in the region of £25-30K, but that figure doesn't take into account the project management and fabrication resources supplied as part of the wider Festival.

Need help?

This is a FROM–NOW–ON project.
If you can't find what you need, go to the discussion page and ask a question. Someone in the network might be able to pick up, and we will monitor intermittently to see if we can help any further.

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