Gaute Barlindhaug report

Cultural Worker: Gaute Barlindhaug, Admin/Foreign Affairs at Insomnia, Tromso
Residency: FutureEverything Festival, Manchester, UK
Work period: 8 – 14 May 2011
Tasks: managing the Umbro Design space and Organising ECAS/ICAS meetings

The task for my work at FutureEverything was to be in charge of the Umbro Design space. This space functioned as the venue for many of the smaller E.C.A.S. events at the festival. The content and the schedule for the venue was set when I started working, so my task was enabling the execution of the event and taking care of problems that might turn up. In addition to this, I was to function as a communicator between FutureEverything and the ICAS/ECAS members attending the festival with the aim to organise a meeting.

Unfortunately I could not come to Manchester as early as I had hoped because of other obligations. But I started working on organising the ICAS/ECAS meeting before I came. Once at the FE office I started to go over the plans and preparing myself for what was going to happen in the Umbro Space. Before the festival started I had to help out putting up the space, getting in the sound, art installation and the Vodka bar up. In this work some practical issues of course turned up, but there also had to be some negotiation between the different contributors to the space.

The plan that was made for the space mainly focused on the artistic content, but did not so much take in to account the needs of the different partners. Since the space belongs to Umbro they of course wanted to keep as much as possible of their exhibition on display, while Absolut Vodka of course wanted to get as much room as possible for their products. In addition to these to, the SWAP PLACES project also wanted to display their project. Since these three contributors were partners/sponsors of the festival, I felt it was very important to solve this in a smooth way, making everybody happy. The actual events at the place went very well, but we could have had more visitors. I believe that a stronger promotion would have helped. It was a bit hard to find the events at Umbro in the programme, both online and in print.

The only major problem I encountered was that we were a bit understaffed when it came to volunteers. This meant that I had to spend a quite a lot of time looking after the Absolut Vodka’s Fusion Collider, making sure it was operating at all time.

My overall experience with the festival was very good, and it was interesting to experience how other festivals organise their activities. My work at FutureEverything also gave me a good opportunity to experience a festival from a different angle, giving me new insight in how things work.