Studio Open Days: Coburg House Art Studios

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Artists need space.

 

Whether we find ourselves requiring more so set up a studio, the need for a professional business address, a little extra storage to free up some space in the house or just the need for a bit of company, we often seek out studio, office or rehearsal space to work in.

 

And I don’t know about you but despite the fact I ‘work from home’ most of the time I actually find it immensely difficult to work at home. Whether I move to a coffee shop, a coworking space, a mate’s house or even a train (which I am currently on) I tend to get a lot more done! I think this is down to the naturally collaborative nature of creative work.

 

There are loads of these spaces all over the country for every different field of work and every price bracket. Usually located alongside the artistic suburbs of towns and cities not only do they make excellent workspaces but they can also make for great communities!

 

One of my favourites of these is Coburg House Art Studio situated in Leith, Edinburgh and home to over 80 designers, artists and makers.

 

It has been running for over 20 years and across that time has built up quite the reputation as an exciting, unique creative hub.  To get a studio space at this former granary there is a wait list and (I’m told) it costs a pretty penny, but for good reasons! Very good reasons indeed.

 

First and foremost, much of the ground floor of the Coburg House Art Studio forms a shop and gallery where studio users can display and sell their work. It is open every Saturday and Sunday 11am-4pm.  A really nice touch with this shop is the counter which consists mainly of a display of artistic business cards, presumably from every designer, so that if you should find something you like you can find that artists card and contact them directly or take them as a keepsake from your visit.

 

Another great idea is that twice a year they run weekend open days. One during the spring/summer and one just in time for Christmas. Not only can you learn more about how their artists work, you can talk to them about, well, anything you have ever wanted to know! It’s like a living museum where you can learn about any craft you could imagine.

 

Coburg offer their artists in residence the opportunity to display their work in exhibitions both independently and collaboratively.  They have quite a unique range of arts and crafts including: painting, print work, ceramics, glass, jewellery and illustration so I can only imagine the diverse and imaginative installs hosted.

 

A few of the artists in residence offer courses which you can take in the studios to and in case that wasn’t enough they also have a combined social media following of around 6500.  It is a hugely positive and inspiring environment which is clearly adored by its artists in residence!

 

So how can your Arts Business take inspiration from the Coburg House Art Studios? How can you get the public involved and improve awareness and income for the artists and you company?

  • Think about having open days for the public where they have the opportunity to get a special behind the scenes look at how you run your arts business.  Do you run a theatre company? Think about running an open rehearsal or script read throughs.  Do you have a dance school? Try having an open workshop.  What about a museum? Have an access the curators or scientists day or run specialist educational tours.  Think outside the box to develop unique community events.
  • Run specialist workshops encourage the local community to learn new skills or try something new.  You could offer these for free to raise awareness or charge a ticket fee as a way of bringing in additional income
  • Think about introducing a shop or gallery.  This works great in galleries and studios as it gives artists an immediate connection to sell their work and the commission you earn can be used to put money back into your venue and make it even better for clients.  Think outside the box here, the RSC runs
  • If you have the space available, you may consider launching a coffee shop or bar.  Make your work place a cool place to hang out!

 

Coburg House Art Studios have created a community beyond their community and become creative hub for the people of Edinburgh as well as the artists.

How could you do the same?  Let us know in the comments below!

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10 Must Have Skills to Smash Your Admin: Part 2

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Administration, Business Skills

Welcome back!

Time for those last 5 skills to needed to smash your admin!

6.       Spend Time Filing

You’ve heard of the expression ‘a stitch in time saves nine’?  This expression may be clichéd but it’s so true!

A little bit of time now spent on developing a sensible and straightforward method for your filing the easier you will be able to lay your hands on exactly what you need in the future!

Remember, nowadays this doesn’t just apply to that enormous grey monster of a filing cabinet lovingly rescued from a skip and now stuffed in the corner of your office.  This also applies to your computer filing system!

So, clear that cluttered desktop! Create that series of files in a logical way so that not only you can find everything you want but be prepared for when your arts business expands to include new staff members.  You don’t want to have to spend the first few weeks explaining the ins and outs of your computer filing which only you and your crazy brain understand!

 

7.       An Understanding of Social Media

I know I have a habit of repeating this, but social media is taking over the world!  It is becoming increasingly more integral to the running of businesses everywhere!  It is therefore important that everyone in your company knows how to use it.

The good news here is that over half of being good at Social Media Marketing relies on having excellent administration ability including the facility to schedule. 

Remember without your admin team (be it an actual team or be it just you) all the things we achieve in the exciting world of the creative industries wouldn’t be possible.  You could even post about them on Social Media!  They might be filtering through what appears to be the mundane but it makes the magic happen!

 

8.       Time Saving with Customer Service

I find often that email can be one of the biggest time drainers.  On occasion I have sat down in the morning to view my email accounts and quite often, before I know it, it’s midday and feel like I have achieved nothing because all I have done is sit and reply to messages!  So here is my advice:

If you have to email provide the customer with everything they could possibly need and then some extra stuff just in case.  So much time is wasted on toing and froing in emails.  If your business has been around for a while then chances are you have already equated a list of F.A.Qs (Frequently Asked Questions).  This is like the administrators’ bible: the copy and paste email dream.  It makes responses easy to find and, if properly produced, looks as though it is a completely personalised response! Save hours of your time from a cheeky bit of admin at the beginning creating an FAQ database.

If you still find a lot of email back and forth just pick up the phone and ring!  It is generally more effective than the constant and relentless email mountain!  It also means you’re less likely to misinterpret information.  Always remember emails are devoid of emotion.  That means that people inflict whatever feeling they want on them which can lead to a whole host of problems that simply wouldn’t have happened if you picked up the phone.

 

9.       Graphic Design

People in Arts Organisations often spend an obscene amount of money on outsourcing their graphic design.  Often enough there are employees in the office who are not only more than capable of designing your print and online content but also know the ethos of the business far better than any external designer will. 

This will also help to keep all your content consistent with your company brand.  Bare minimum if you are an outsourcer make sure that you keep a branding document so that the designer can get it spot on first time without having to ask too many questions.

If you are looking for administration work, having some photoshop skills under your belt will help you to stand out from the crowd.  If you find photoshop tricky then there are loads of cheaper alternatives out there nowadays! Give Canva a try or stay old school with Microsoft Publisher, just make sure you know the basics.

 

10.       Organisation, organisation, organisation

This links into all of the skills I have mentioned but basically, without some top notch organisational ability the whole of you admin system is almost certainly doomed to fail!  So get on top of it by getting organised.

 

 

And there you have it!  Now, away you go off into the world of administration and smash it!

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APP OF THE MONTH: Doodle

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Administration, App of the Month, Business Skills

 

Name Doodle
Product Description An online voting app designed to make scheduling meetings and events super easy as well as create online surveys and questionnaires.
Availability Only Available through your browser at https://doodle.com/ on the Apple App Store and from the Google Play Store.
Key Features ·         Schedule events and meetings, big or small across any calendar and platform quickly and easily

·         Ask questions by creating polls to send to your team and get them to vote for the most popular option

·         Sync most calendar apps with Doodle in order to avoid double bookings

·         Create and share your own Doodle URL to try and avoid that emailing to and fro

·         Send out multiple times to enable users to vote on their preferred one

·         New Doodle Dashboard keeps all your doodles in one place and makes them really easy to access

·         Auto-arrange reminders to go out prior to the meeting

·         With premium you can customise Doodle to be in keeping with your own company branding and receive advanced security

Prices and Plans It starts completely free to develop a basic poll! But they also have different business options for Doodle ranging from €3.50 per month for one business user to €12.50 per month for five.  Are you an even bigger business? Get in touch with Doodle to receive a quote!
Biggest Pro It’s basically like next level organisation without all the faff! That endless email back and forth and the accidental reply alls are more or less completely eliminated.
Biggest Con It is kind of limited, but to be honest, it’s the simplicity that makes it so brilliant.

Whether or not you use it for big corporate meet and greets or to find a weekend for that school reunion it really is the perfect little bit of software!

 

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