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Where and How is all about finding an exhibition space and learning how to reach out to professionals outside of your normal network.

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Topic: Where & How?


Email 3 (of 10)


Where and How is all about finding an exhibition space and learning how to reach out to professionals outside of your normal network.


The exhibition space can affect how seriously your students take both their work and presentations. Say for example your students are presenting on the physics of baseball. There’s no problem having it take place in your classroom, but imagine how your students will feel if they were able to do that presentation at the local Major League Baseball stadium.

What’s important to note is that your biggest hurdle won’t be venue availability, but that you may have limited experience networking with individuals outside the teaching profession. It might feel daunting to try and get in contact with large-scale organizations. It can even be intimidating to walk into a local cafe to ask if you can use their space.

Remember that a simple email to a business owner can go a long way. You will find that most potential venues and local organizations are willing to accommodate and help students in many ways. People are willing to help you and your students exhibit. You just need to get comfortable stepping outside the boundaries of your school and asking for help.

Activity 1: Practice writing emails to dream exhibit space owners.

Activity Notes: 


This exercise is meant to help you manage stress and anxiety related to emailing venues. Pick a dream venue related to the exhibition project or content area and write an email asking if you can use their space to present. It could be the White House, or you could strike a deal to have your student’s work featured on the front page of an online space, as long as the space is relevant to your students’ work.

Think about who would be the best person to contact from the venue or organization. Why did you pick them? Compare what you wrote to the examples listed in the Local Exhibition Toolkit in the resources section.
 

A few things to remember:

  • Some people don’t answer emails immediately; business owners can get large amounts of emails a day and yours can get lost in the mix. Don't be afraid to send follow up emails or phone calls.
  • Recognize that after a certain number of emails, a public platform to exhibit your student's work may not be worth the follow up.
  • Even if you get rejected, look for opportunities to build your network with that organization and identify other ways they might be able to support you in the future.
  • The bigger the venue, the harder it will be to secure that location (unless you already have connections with the people that work there).

Activity 2: Use a map of the area around your school and identify 5 potential venues near you.

Activity Notes: 


Draw a circle of a 2-mile radius around your school. Use this as an opportunity to realistically plan out factors like transportation and determine if a venue is a good fit. How will students get to the exhibit space? Does your school have a bus or vehicle you can use? If yes, when will that transportation be available to you? If you’re able to get a school vehicle then that could affect the radius of where you can feasibly exhibit work. Plan for different variables and see how that will affect transportation.

Case Study

As a veteran social science educator with a familiarity of project-based learning, Kai had planned her share of projects. She always concluded them with small exhibitions in her classroom or in the auditorium at her school. When her school director encouraged teachers to plan exhibitions outside of the school, Kai felt skeptical. It seemed like a lot of extra work to do the same thing. 
Nevertheless, Kai began to connect with people in her local network to find a suitable venue for hosting a debate tournament for her students’ exhibition. Kai ended up getting connected to a local university who was willing to let the students use one of their buildings, along with a formal executive room for the champion debate round. When her students showed up to the university, Kai saw how her students’ affect changed completely. Instead of their usual banter and goofiness, they walked taller, spoke in hushed voices, and carried themselves more professionally.

Some of their debates even attracted the attention of students and professors passing by. Afterwards, Kai understood the importance of selecting a venue outside of the school for exhibiting work and made a greater effort to think outside of the box when planning exhibitions.

Resources

Below is a preview of some of the additional readings, videos, comics, and other resources to enhance your learning regarding this email’s topic. You can review these materials in full by going to the course landing page.
 

 

Exhibition Toolkit
This resource provides a general template and multiple options for how to turn an idea into an exhibition project.
  Local Exhibition Toolkit
The second toolkit gives tips on how to contact people to save a space for exhibition. This includes a template for email/phone communication to use for venue outreach.

You can help us!


If you have any resources that you think people would benefit course participants, email us at pyurick@hightechhigh.org. Simply put “Exhibiting Student Work Resource Submission” in the email subject. Send us the file and remember to tell us which email lesson you think it should be a part of in the body of the email. We’ll review it and get back to you if we decide to use it!

Next Steps


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