The Exhibition at the IIMEC14 Conference went really well with 190 delegates attending. Considering the short amount of time to prepare post photographic shoot, leaving just three weeks to create images for the Researchers work, edits as part of the collaboration, a photographers release agreement and a press release, see here. More time would have been lovely but I had to fit around timings of a move into a new premises at the Quadram Institute in Norwich, end of March/early April and the Conference already having been organised for the 31st May 2019.
Setting Up: I, with some help, had only 45mins to erect the stand and ensure that all the images were up and the table top sorted before the exhibition started. Luckily I was able to drop all the items of the evening before and had a dummy run at home, organising the images on bedroom cupboard doors and miniature images on a plan, so I knew exactly where they were going to be placed. See previous CRJ on Conference/Exhibition Space Visit 2
Display: I knew it would be a gamble with the glossy paper I had chosen as I had such bright colours and a lot of detail in some of the images, they were not too reflective, having no glass and being unframed helped. The images of the 4 PhD researchers were printed onto matt paper so those were absolutely fine but less bright and the colour not as successful. The large chandeliers didn't help and there was some reflection on the images, but not as much as I had anticipated and felt overall my gamble had paid off. On Matt paper the images had looked dull and I was more concerned about that. All images were framed with a small white border in order to ensure they could be seen on the black background. Overall I was very happy with the result. See previous CRJ on preparing and Printing Images. I had to use the conference venue stickers for the black display boards and these were OK, but I found myself settling the images on and off through the day, so they didn't bow and catch more light. Here are the images displayed.
Two of the larger framed images were placed on gold easels and the small A4 Laboratory print on the desktop table. Although there was no need to frame, as the main images were on a scientific display type stand, the Great Hall and Grand Venue absorbed it well. It gave me great experience in printing and framing ready for a little more expense of the images to be framed for the Exhibition coming up in Rome.
Table Top: The visitors book and questionnaires were a great idea, but I hadn't anticipated the little time everyone would have to fill these in, although they were distributed with the conference packs as they arrived. If I did it again, I would record stories from the participants as these naturally came up in conversation at the exhibition stand. The questionnaires also seemed like a cold approach and I wouldn't use these again. With Questionnaires you need the time to think and respond and it was quite and difficult day for those with M.E or their carers. I created a set of Business Cards, which were a great success and a way to take away a sample of the images on the day.
The grey book: This was a display book of Laboratory Images taken at the shoot, documentary in nature and gave everyone a flavour of my few days with the researchers. There was a great response to these and an easy way to flick through a further 15 images. I had considered placing these on another display board but I thought the length of the space of 'four' boards would mean me spreading myself more thinly on the day and I didn't want to reduce the impact of the key images. The book worked well and had plenty of interest too.
Recording: I was able to place a mini tripod with my iPhone on a high table, and I did several recordings of the day on a time lapse setting; setting up, coffee break and lunch time. In the afternoon coffee break I had family, friends and colleagues arrive and a little relaxation time for me. They seemed to respond positively and it was really great to have the support. This short video of the day, shows a little of everything and just how busy the conference turned out to be.
Response and to follow up: Overall the response was great. The images were not just displayed in the Great Hall but also during Professor Carding's talk, which was lovely to see.
Since the exhibition, the following has happened, I have been asked to:
- Exhibit the images at the Sainsbury Centre Norwich Research Park, by the International Invest in M.E Research Organisers in support of the gut mcirobiome work at the QIB and elsewhere in Norwich.
- I have had a request by the Founder and CEO, Linda Tannenbaum of the Open Medicine Foundation NGO for images to use on their site. I hope to be signing up a Photographers Release Agreement very soon.
- I shortly after had a follow up with Charles Shepherd Head of M.E Association following release of the images as part of the earlier Collaboration we start to prepare for an editorial to be released in the Autumn in the M.E Association Magazine.
- I have some questionnaires to assimilate the information from.
- I have asked for Invest In M.E to gather any responses too.
- I have asked for anyone who might be interested in doing a recording of their story but not sure that the IIME research will be happy to follow this through.
- I realised that, when settling on my final images I needed to humanise the images in order to add an emotional aesthetic to what are already strong images.
Verbal feedback and on questionnaires to date:
- That the images allows people to not be defined by their condition.
- With relevant text from the PhD researchers Bios, they enjoyed putting their own interpretation to the images and it helped understand a little more about the condition.
- The images gave more clarification on the research work by the researchers.
- They liked the mix of the PhD researchers images with the abstracts
- They immediately spotted brain fog and cognition and the complex nature of the gut in relation to their own M.E
- It led them to think of headaches and other symptoms such as cognitive delay, confusion, complexity of the disease area.
- Bright colours and hope.
- Most people were drawn to the green images.
- That the images were just beautiful, they loved seeing them at the conference.
- Made a change from reading clinical papers and supported the research in a different way.
- Favourite images were 1) Bacteriophages IIIa and 2) Mineral Blood.
Favourite Images of the Day.
CRAWFORD Y. Art and Science Uncover M.E. Vimeo. [online] Available at https://vimeo.com/342965080
TANNENBAUM L. 2018. What is M.E/CFS? You Tube.[online] Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=18&v=pqDubEeIBtA [accessed 18th Jun.2019]