Engaging with the local community
Essex based gallery Firstsite sought to build relationships with the communities surrounding them, and serve them better.
The NPO Gallery organised a county wide photography competition to capture the “Essence of Essex”, celebrate their local identity and introduce new audiences to Firstsite.
Submissions were showcased alongside Martin Parr’s “Work and Leisure” blockbuster show. Entries shortlisted by ten community embassadors were presented to Martin Parr to select a winner. A further winner was selected through a public vote taking place during the exhibition of the works.
Maximising community input
The competition maximised community engagement at every stage.
- Targetting applicants capturing photos of Essex generated interest in the local press. This allowed Firstsite to grow awareness to its brand, and create a buzz around the competition.
- Prominent members of the community were invited to shortlist candidates, building deeper relationships with community leaders and allowing locals to co-curate the photographers who best captured the region.
- Having Martin Parr choose a winner was a big draw to bring in submissions.
By celebrating the communities surrounding it, Firstsite built positive relationships with the public and local press. This in turn translated to an increase in audience numbers during Martin Parr’s blockbuster show.
Indirectly, Firstsite created an interesting dialogue with its audiences. Challenging its local identity through photography. What makes Essex, Essex?