Reflection on Silver Arts Award Challenge

My journey for my silver arts award first began in early May 2015 because of the work I had being doing with Plymouth Dance. The very first thing I had to do for my arts award was chose an event that I was going to manage create. This was known as my arts challenge. With the help of Clare Summers from Plymouth Dance I decided to choose to manage a photo exhibition called screen shot and team up with Rachel Priest who was also a Plymouth Dance Volunteer. We both managed this project with the help of Claire Summers and Matthew Pontin from FOTONOW.


My first thoughts before I started were that the project was going to be complex and hard because it was linked to such a big event (U.Dance 2015).  At first I was unsure whether I chose the right project to manage as I’m not an expert with Photoshop and have never learned how to use the soft ware and I had never done anything managed any project before so I have no experience of managing such a big project.

I started my journey by making a in depth plan of the whole project and what needed to be done and when. This was an important first step because without this I wouldn’t know what to do next. Rachel and me made this plan together and we also then decided who was going to take on each individual role and made a column for this and I also made sure it was going to be highlighted yellow when each task was completed. That way we know what had already been done and what needed to be done and who was going to be doing that task.

We then used got in touch with FOTONOW to see if they would be willing to help us with editing the photos and their pixels to fit each individual screen in Plymouth that was going to displaying the exhibition because each screen has different formats that needed to be used and some of the screens had certain fonts that was also needed. The main problem we had was each screen has a different resolution that images are display on. The great thing was that FOTONOW were willing to help us with our project so we set up a meeting with Matthew Pontin from FOTONOW to see what he could help us with and he talked us though how we needed to organise the images according to how they were being edited and then we arranged a date to meet to start the work.

We then worked on choosing the images and putting them in the right order and I wrote a piece about why I put them in that order.  We then went back to Matthew with the images and order they needed to be in and worked with him to resize and format all the images and all the logos that needed to be on each individual slide. We also worked with him to make sure we had credits to everyone involved in each image and how and where these slides needed to be put in the order of things.  Then we put all the slides into a slide show that would them be used as our film for the exhibition.

When this was finished we then checked the film to make sure that everyone that work with us or anyone that needed to be credited was credited. After this we emailed it to Claire Summers and June Gamble to check it was suitable and correct for screening for example making sure that everyone was credited that needed to be and making sure we hadn’t missed anyone out or any logos. After that I drafted a press release to be used in case we could get the press involved with the project and we also used some of the press release and put it into the email to send to the relevant people. I then got this email checked before I sent it off with the correct attachment and links to the films by Claire Summers.

I then got to see our photo exhibition being displayed all over Plymouth I was lucky enough to be standing right by the big screen in Plymouth just as it was being displayed on the big screen in the city centre.

Working on this exhibition has been a great learning experience and I am so glad I had the chance to be a part of something this big and I have gain a lot more skills and confidence through doing this. At times I found the project particularly stressful because it was an relatively simple project but the individual tasks we quite in depth and complex unless you have learned that particular skill for example the picture formatting was very complex until you learned about pixels and how the screens work after I learned this skill I found it not that challenging its just very fiddly and time consuming.

I feel the project would have been better managed if we started the project earlier so it would have given us more time to format all of the images because I was kind of a big rush to get all the images ready and in the correct order in a slide show so they could be sent out to the correct people so they are ready to be shown on time. I feel we should of sent the exhibition slide show out earlier because we were lucky that there were no issues with the relevant people assessing the link this is why if I curated a project like screen shot again I would have sent all the email out earlier just in case there are any technical problem this give us time to sort out the issue with out it affect the overall deadline. I also felt that we needed to have learned the skills needed on Photoshop before starting the project, as this would have really helped with managing the project.

If you would like to see the exhibition we curated then please click hereIf you would like to see the exhibition we curated then please click here.

Become A Plymouth Dance Volunteer!

Following our first volunteering programme this spring, which lead to the successful delivery of U.Dance 2015 in July, Plymouth Dance is looking for a dedicated team of volunteers who are over 18 to work with us to support and deliver activity as part of our new project ‘Cultural Shifts’

Our next programme for volunteers will launch in January 2016 and we are asking for expressions of interest now.  So if you want to get involved in something exciting, relevant and do something positive for Plymouth. Then get in touch!

A full training package will be offered and you will become part of the Plymouth Dance Volunteer Team.  There will be opportunities to get involved with and volunteer on a range of projects, events and workshops and gain real life experience that can contribute towards future job applications.

This training will include things like:

  • Project Management
  • Child safeguarding and Protection
  • First Aid
  • Customer service
  • Networking and marketing

Every volunteer will also come away from the programme with a reference.

If you would like to get involved or receive more information contact Gem on or call 07809870709.

Volunteers U.nderconstruction

The training I and many other volunteers have received in preparation for U.Dance 2015 has been fantastic, from learning good communication skills to being qualified First Aiders we have all taken something from each training whether it be a skill or very handy information.

Training has taken place within many different venues to name a couple, The Creative Arts School and the Barbican Theatre. Being in different spaces in Plymouth is exciting as you find yourself seeing most of Plymouth en route to each venue and begin to know where everything is before having any physical training. It’s also refreshing as you get to meet artists and managers who resident within the spaces and are more than happy to help with anything you need.

Being a volunteer we’ve all had the fantastic opportunity to get our training and certificates for free such as being DBS certified this enabling us to work with children and also being first aid trained putting everyone involved with the festival in safe hands. Literally.

We’ve also had brilliant training by a range of people, here are a few I thoroughly enjoyed learning:

Dan Baker, Manager of the Barbican Theatre informed us with Hospitality and Customer Service training, small things that can sometimes be forgotten are always good reminders. For example: Looking presentable and being approachable. Also to be knowledgeable of the event and the area, as if we are a U.Dance 2015 flyer but 10 times more exciting and encouraging.


Photo by Siobhan Bowie-Wooler

Claire Summers, Artistic Director of Exim Dance Company and Project Co-ordinator for Plymouth Dance trained the volunteers within Child Protection and Safe Guarding. This was great training and eye opened me and many others to ensure the safety of children and how to go about it.

Jade Poole, Corporate Funding Development Co-ordinator for Plymouth Dance and General Manager of Exim Dance Company gave the volunteers brilliant training on Networking. Networking is something I have personally struggled with, being chatty and confident with talking to people and creating these small interactions or connections that either gets your name, company or event out there. This is valuable information and training to receive as audience members or dancers will be looking to us as volunteers to know where all of the facilities are within venues, to have a good understanding of the city and other events happening in the festival. So being able to talk confidently about the festival and who we are connects us to numerous different people that we may end up helping or working with for our next projects that we take on.

Rhiannon Williams

Plymouth Dance Volunteer 2015

Getting ready for Dance PLYMOUTH Dance


Olivia rehearsing for Dance PLYMOUTH Dance with ADAPT at TR2 Image by Claire Summers

On the 5th July I was tasked with filming the rehearsals of groups and companies taking part in 2015 and are to perform on the Theatre Royal stage during the festival, the rehearsals took place at TR2 and the rehearsals were guided by Jules Laville. Each company has a one hour rehearsal slot.

The companies that were rehearsing for their performance at the Theatre Royal ranged from different ages and abilities, as well as different styles of dance. Ranging from ballet to contemporary dance.

Each company rehearsed in a space around the same size as the Theatre Royal stage to help give the choreographer and their dancers a chance to see how their piece would work as well as to make an adjustments to their piece around the size of the stage. The groups rehearse a few times, then final run is recorded at the end of the rehearsal session.

Olivia Whitby

make sure you get your tickets for U.Dance 2015 and Dance PLYMOUTH Dance as they are selling FAST!

Volunteers READY! A few words from Gemma Ward our amazing Volunteer Coordinator


Image of U.Dance Volunteers with Chris Robinson by Gemma Ward

I have had the pleasure of coordinating the U.DANCE volunteers for this years festival and it has been a really great opportunity.  Not only have I been able to meet a really lovely range of enthusiastic and committed young people I have also been able to help shape some really useful and valuable training for them via Plymouth Dance and these training opportunities have helped them to build really valuable skills that will equip them for future work as well as being really useful for U.DANCE. 

Over the last few months we have been running first aid, child protection, project management, marketing, customer service and networking training, along with providing lots of opportunities for the volunteers to volunteer with other local creative projects and events to build up their skills ahead of U.DANCE.  We even had training on the history of the city with the lovely Chris Robinson!

Everyone on the team is passionate about arts and creativity and are really looking forward to being a part of the festival and I am really excited that we have been able to equip them with a really great range of skills and opportunities ahead of the festival to make sure they are ready for everything the festival will throw at them!  

Plymouth Dance-16

Image Kevin Clifford

We have all our schedules and responsibilities in place and cannot wait to don our blue t-shirts and welcome everyone here to the city for the U.DANCE weekend.