In light of recent conversations about the unravel exhibitor application process, we want to share this post to ensure that we are as open and transparent about the process of selecting work for the craft festivals and to say a little about what we are doing to broaden the audience and makers that we reach.
Applications to exhibit at all of our events, particularly unravel, continue to far outweigh the space available within the building. For each event we bring together a curatorial panel, including independent makers, who work with us to create the most compelling event we can for audiences. Decisions are based solely on quality, variety and creating a range of available offers to our audience. We programme less than 45% of applicants although we are always mindful of presenting new makers, graduates and, recently, increasing the presence of international work. The selection criteria and guidance notes are published ahead of applications opening for exhibiting at our shows.
Farnham Maltings is, as an organisation, completely committed to taking action that might diversify our programme and our audience through practical actions, training, alliances with other organisations, adapting the buildings, the staff we employ and the programme we offer. We continue to work at improving the accessibility and inclusivity of the buildings for every sector of the community. We will continue to listen, learn and adapt where we recognise we can do things better. We are running a professional development programme for Surrey based artists, Advancing Artists, designed to help local makers develop their resilience, have invested in a social story for the building, are recognised as being a dementia friendly venue and are forging alliances with other organisations to extend our reach. There are, of course, always more things we can do and perspectives to be listened to and we will continue to work with all those interested in helping us be the best version of ourselves.
These conversations, alongside the wider dialogue of recent weeks, have identified that we need to consider how we do what we do better. We will endeavour to offer more guidance to applicants and hope that we can open and extend the applications more widely across the whole crafting community.
Our hope is that these conversations will lead to new thinking and actions because we are passionate and committed to producing the most inclusive and enjoyable festivals we can. We are looking forward to welcoming you to unravel 2019.