Three weeks later and we have to call the Oxford Print Fair a success. With 900 people through the door (that we managed to count), 20 happy sellers, one happy gallery, an extremely busy coffee shop and leaving Oxford a little bit more full of print it is easy to say it went well!
But what did we learn? While Forecast Events has been running the Manchester Print Fair for years, this was the first one which Mogul has run, and the first outside of Manchester. While we were obviously in safe hands, here’s a few things that we learnt along the way.
Print people are nice people
We were absolutely stunned by the sheer loveliness of everyone involved. The artists and printmakers were completely chilled throughout the day — despite the threat of rain and joining us on this first adventure into Oxford. The general public providing endlessly lovely feedback on their way out, happily to sharing a peek at the print they found that was perfect for them.
Even with the best promotion in the world, someone will tell you they didn’t know your event was happening
With hundreds of tweets, Instagram posts, a Facebook event and being listed on every major events site for the local area — and being linked to in the Times style section — not to mention the venue being one of most prestigious galleries in the city, some people just missed it.
With this there’s always more we can do with the time we’re given. Next time we will have the advantage of people knowing such an event can exist, as well as a newsletter to alert people.
Happy to talk
It’s notoriously hard to get anyone to speak on camera. There is something fundamentally worrying about having your image captured in a way where there’s not much scope for editing yourself beautiful.
So at the Oxford Print Fair I set about recording interviews with all but one (shy) artist. I invited each over to our interview bench where we discussed their practice, the print fair and how they ended up there. We’re currently editing these into bitesize chunks to be released over the coming month. Naturally, we’ll let you know when each artist interview is coming up.
When you take away the camera, and you’re suddenly in radio or podcast territory, people open up very naturally. This is one of the reasons that Mogul always records our research interviews without a camera — a camera asks people to perform, and a microphone lets them be more natural.
The right partner makes the dance easier
We’re completely indebted to all of our partners for the event — if you work with professionals, the day tends to go smoothly.
Our print partners Hollywell Press, for providing us with banners, posters and hand-outs made it easy to talk about the event on the day, and provided something obvious to draw passers by in with.
Modern Art Oxford were fantastic in providing such a venue, and helping clear out the usual clutter from The Yard where we were stationed before the event, meaning we had expanses of wall space for our artists to put up their print!
And of course, Forecast Events, whom none of this could have happened without.
Every event is a networking event
Not only was the Oxford Print Fair a wonderful event in itself for letting the public meet and buy from the artists directly, but it also brought together a huge number of creative people. As a place to meet people and network with brilliant creative minds, the print fair was a win. I’m certain we weren’t the only ones going home with pocketfuls of cards!
There’s loads more to say about The Oxford Print Fair, which we will come to soon — including artist interviews and news about our next event! If you missed out, remember to sign up, and if you’d like to talk to us about being part of any future events, get in touch with us online or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org