Lindsey Smith: Freelance Facilitator

Lindsey Smith is a photographic artist and freelance facilitator. Her professional sector exists within public engagement in the arts, part of the cultural sector which has value nationally and contributes to the UK economy. It is possible to make an average income working as a freelance facilitator, which is around £34,000.

The role is diverse. Some days she runs workshops in schools, either ones she has pre-designed herself or bespoke ones, linking directly to the students curriculum. The outcome of such workshops is to get the students enthusiastic about making art. Other days she may deliver skills based workshops to staff in order to raise the expertise of the teachers. She also spends time making resources for teachers to deliver. In other cases she plays the role of enabler so people can make artwork of their own. This may occur in galleries or outside of conventional learning environments and may culminate in a public exhibition. It’s all about widening participation in the arts. She also works with early career artists or young professionals working in galleries, giving them opportunities to improve their skills in marketing or develop their own practice. She is a mediator, making things happen, taking agency and being a driving force. She recently collaborated with the corridor project ( on a socially engaged project, part of her own personal practice.

She spoke about the importance of short term volunteer work, testing out if the career is for you, picking and choosing relevant opportunities because you never know who you will meet and keeping in the loop with what’s happening through signing up to newsletters. She said the most important thing to express as an early career creative is enthusiasm and getting volunteer work can be as simple as sending off an email concerning your interest. The idea of being a freelance facilitator and delivering workshops sounds like something I would enjoy doing. This summer I plan to reach out to Kitty Bew, Danit Ariel and Claire Wearn about opportunities where I could assist the delivery of workshops.


Portfolios and Gallery Representation

Debra Klomp Ching, an art dealer at the Klompching gallery, New York, did a very interesting talk on gallery representation and the ways in which emerging artists can promote their work to such spaces:

The first section of the talk discussed ways in which art dealers find the artists they end up representing. There are multiple ways to get you art seen by galleries for example entering open calls and competitions, approaching them with a business card at gallery open evenings or event or through referrals from other critics/ galleries/ art dealers. However she said one of the most effective and enjoyable ways is to attend portfolio reviews at portfolio review festivals. She gave some tips on how to prepare, for example you must have a clear reason to be at the review, wanting either gallery representation, a book deal or a solo exhibition. Your must invest in a portfolio which shows the craftmanship of the work to the best of its ability, the choice of paper is just as important as the image. Because you only have 20 minutes, which includes unpacking the portfolio, large and cumbersome prints are not necessary. Despite the investment into the quality of the portfolio, there is the acknowledgement that the prints will be handled casually and may get damaged.

There are different types of portfolio review festivals. Some festivals are juried beforehand meaning the festival is more exclusive and relaxed. Others have a huge frantic buzz where there could be many hundreds of photographers. A few are open to the public and the photographer is stationed at a table with their portfolio on display to be asked questions by meandering critics/ art dealers and enthusiasts. Besides the review, photographers can benefit from attending these events through forging relationships with the other photographers attending, conversations with others may give them an idea of where their work sits within the competition.

What are they looking for?

  • Integrity of intent
  • Photographs that have something to say
  • Excellent craftsmanship
  • Originality
  • Narrative and aesthetic strength
  • ‘a spark’

Once a gallery finds an artist they wish to represent, they enter a business and creative relationship contract. The gallery provides exposure and access to potential buyers, they work closely with the artist on their creative development, editioning and pricing, keeping track of sales. The pricing of work relates to scarcity, scale and framing. The artist must uphold a standard of branding in their website in order to uphold the galleries reputation, which is what upholds the sales.

I had lunch with a mid-career artist having watched this talk and asked him if he had ever attended a portfolio review. He said once, and the reviewers were super critical of his work causing him to loose confidence in his practice. He said that he was happier working as an independent artist and getting solo shows/group exhibitions from other opportunities, of which there are many. He also told me of a friend of his who, post graduating, was taken on by a gallery but found the pressure of producing large quantities of work, to be sold, exhausting, she eventually pulled out of the contract. It is interesting to hear different perspectives around creative success and ways of pursuing being an artist.


Artist Biographies, Statements and CV’s

In preparation for applying to residencies/jobs I have been researching into the difference between CV’s, biographies and statements…

Artist Biography


-About you and your career as a practitioner

-May include your name, medium, key themes you explore, art related education, where you live/work/were born, may summarise some achievements/exhibitions mentioned in the CV

Artist Statement


-About your art practice

-May include ideas, concepts, techniques

Artist CV


-Brings together your professional achievements into one document

-(See some examples here: A creative design helps you to stand out and makes your CV memorable and personal. However don’t overdesign it.

-A CV may contain contact information, solo/group exhibitions you have been in, awards, publications, commissions, residencies, art education and art experience (e.g. working on projects/ in galleries- only if relevant though.)

To understand how different artists approach the above I have been looking at some examples:

  • Helen Sear has a downloadable CV in PDF format. It lists solo/ group exhibitions, education, awards/scholarships, publications and residencies. She has chosen to include a photo. She begins her artist biography by summarising key parts of her CV, such as education, media and exhibitions. She has merged the statement and biography into a single text, highlighting key themes she explores. David Company, a writer and curator, finishes off her ‘About’ page with a quote about her and her practice
  • Alec Soth has different tabs that drop down for different sections of the CV, as opposed to a downloadable PDF. His biography contains his birth day and where he was born, the number of publications he has and examples of some more renowned ones. There isn’t a clear artist statement, he is very unrevealing about his practice, preferring to not go into detail about his ideas, techniques and methods.
  • Mishka Henner writes his biography in first person. It’s split into three paragraphs, the first covers where he lives and is from, ‘born in Belgium and living in the UK.’ He then elaborates on key themes, mediums and research, and finally lists a range of institutions he has exhibited in. He has chosen to include a photo of himself that expresses the nature of his practice and him as an artist. Below are contact details and a CV organised by year.

As an early career artist my CV will have less notable experience and therefore I shall embellish it with brief descriptions. I shall make my CV on InDesign, black and white and sized to A4.


Christian Jago: Artist Talk and Photography Networking Event

On the 6th February 2024 I attended a Artist Talk and Photography Networking Event at Fabrica ( The guest speaker was Christian Jago (, a multi-disciplinary artist whose practice revolves around ‘world building’. His process involves making models/sets, of fictional worlds that he draws out of his imagination. He’s interested in how space, tone and colour can tell a story, taking inspiration from visual effects and perspectives in films. Sometimes his sets are inspired by real landscapes and contain subtle references to real places.

His recent project is called Ephemeral Bloom ( and in the talk he took us through the 6 chapters of the project. In short, the project is about nature and the lessons it taught him about his own mental health, such as change, growth and perseverance. The project amounted in a virtual exhibition, a form he enjoyed as it enabled him to curate the equivalent of a solo show. I appreciate how well he executes his vision and the emotional intelligence behind the choice of colour and texture in each photograph.

In terms of professional practice he mentioned some opportunities he partook in such as Big Sky Studios (where he assisted photographers), East meets West and the Revolv Award. I have researched more into these opportunities:

Big Sky Studios: A creative complex of photographic studios in central London. They offer studio space, equipment, catering, set build, or post-production and content creation. (

East meets West: A collective of 22 UK-based emerging photographers, a  programme organised by GRAIN Projects (, FORMAT and QUAD. Through regularly sharing their work with each other, the individuals nurtured thematic and practice-based connections, becoming part of a valuable creative community. As a collective they partook in exhibitions and created workshops for the public such as zine making, photo walks and lumen printing.

Revolv Award: A prize that supports three early-career photo-based artists, via a year long mentorship with Revolv collective. (





How to build a career?

I read the article ‘How to build a career’ featuring insight from, Alec Soth, Poulomi Basu, Justine Kurland and Jess T. Dugan, and written by Gem Fletcher. (

It began by acknowledging that the gap between emerging talent and world-renowned artists is often unspoken about, which, as of recent I have found true. It mentioned how daunting it can feel for a graduating or early career artist once institutional support is no longer there. When Dugan graduated they did a lot of freelance and part time work, trying to ‘meet everyone and learn everything.’ Working in museums and commercial galleries gave them insight into the kind of work these institutions were looking for. They noted that building a career is a long game and success in the arts is a hard thing to measure because financial and artistic success are often very different.

Poulomi Basu said ‘Success is not about talent. It’s really about putting yourself out there.’ She said her deep self-belief and powerful vision was critical to her survival against institutionalised racism and gender bias. She had to constantly break out of being put in boxes for the type of artist and work she made.

Alex Sloth said the internet was an important platform for getting his work out there, especially as a shyer person. Like Dugan he also found solace in working in museums as opposed to assisting commercial photographers, which he feared would kill his passion. He faced a lot of rejection as an emerging, no-name artist but advised not to take it personally because lots of factors are at play.

The article spoke about how an artist is not successful because they are a singular genius, but because the arts community lifts them up, and we all participate in that. This was illustrated in the example of student tuition fees, which fund the wages of mid-career artists. We are all participating in the proliferation of photography in the world.

The article concluded itself with Basu talking about choosing an art life, a life that navigates vulnerabilities, motivations, happenstance, systemic inequalities, privilege and mental health, it’s not about a profession, it’s about a creative path.

I found this article very informative and reassuring. It’s helping to reframe misconceptions I have about what a successful photographic career looks like. I feel like the idea of success may not be so applicable to a creative career, so much as the words challenging, stimulating and self-satisfying. I think what Basu said may be true, that it’s about choosing an art life, which isn’t a safe or easy life, but the journey could be fulfilling in its own way. Being intimidated by a career in the arts is very rational, it’s my choice now to either persevere through the instability or seek something more stable, perhaps there are moments in my working life for both.


In October 2023 Photoworks ( came to talk to the 2nd and 3rd year photography students about an opportunity to be part of  Dreamyplace Festival (, I signed up. To begin we partook in a writing workshop, responding to photos we’d taken. We were then paired up and given a fairly open brief in which to make a photograph to be exhibited somewhere in Brighton. We were given two weeks to create a concept, source props, organise a test shoot and final shoot, edit, print and create some writing to accompany it. The best part of the project was being able to collaborate, it was great to have a constant creative dialogue through each of the stages and we worked really well together.

Our outcome was printed on blue backed paper and pasted onto a telephone box with wallpaper glue and a wide brush. Our piece commented on the increased pace of life, depicting a man in a suit emerging straight out of the water after a morning sea swim. We captioned it ‘There’s bigger fish to fry,’ and the model is barging through the overlayed letters. We took inspiration from sport photography and advertising, wanting to create something slightly crude, but eye catching and accessible in meaning. For Dreamyplace festival there was a tour of everyone’s work, in which we had to give a short explanation.

Working collaboratively is something I enjoy, it brings out the best of my own creativity. I loved being involved in all the stages of the project, from idea generation right through to installation. Photoworks is an organisation that I’d be keen to work with again, or at least keep in my radar. They are an international platform, global in reach, that has provided opportunities for artists and audiences since 1995. They are a registered charity supported by funding through Arts Council England’s National Portfolio.

Photos of the installed work…


Wedding Photography

Sumer 2023 I shot my first wedding. It was for a friend of a friends and I was one of two photographers attending. In preparation for the event I did some research, watched online videos and looked at example work. I also reached out and had a coffee with a local wedding photographer to get more advice from someone experienced. As a result of this she lent me some extra lenses and a flash. We also had a teams call with the bride to discuss her ideas, expectations and the itinerary of the day.

The day itself began at 6am as I had to commute into London for it. The other photographer and I arrived early to scout out the church before walking to the brides home to take the first pictures of her putting on her dress. The whole day was quite stressful and lighting was a constant battle, with super bright sunlight and the dark interior of the church. I think I would manage better if I shot the same event today, with my improved understanding of lighting. It taught me how important having a variety of lenses is, especially having a zoom lens, so you aren’t to intrusive in tender moments of the ceremony.

I came away from the event not particularly keen to do another one. I found it hard to get inspired by shots because I didn’t have a connection to the subject matter. I realised that photographing events, where the photograph is not ‘the event’ itself is probably not for me, I think I prefer photographing in a less spontaneous and more controlled way.

Here are some photos I took from the wedding…

Ola Teper: Developing ideas for a phD

Ola talked us through her creative journey as a photographic artist. She looked back at work she had made for her BA at Brighton, discussing the research and technical experimentation she undertook to resolve the work. It was interesting to hear her describe her process as ‘reactive,’ by this she meant that she constantly took inspiration from things that were coming into her life.

Prior to the talk I didn’t have much understanding on what distinguished a phD from a masters or BA. She helped clarify the differences, some of which included: A phD student researches a subject where there has been little  literature/research covering it, the phD is a self-structured course and you are paired with a supervisor whose research interests overlap with your own. Although it sounds interesting I don’t think doing a phD is something I am interested in doing any time soon.

The last point they made, which seems to be a recurring theme of these talks, was emphasising the importance of joining a collective. Post-graduating it’s important to have a creative circle of peers in which to bounce ideas off and keep each others creativity alive.

Creative Director- Claire Wearn

Claire Wearn works free lance as a creative director. Her work is project based and her role is to find creative solutions to bring projects into actuality. She supports the project throughout its evolution, from idea to execution, working closely with artists and technicians.

Projects can be of varying length, and each brings its own, unique challenges. The variety within the job is something that really appeals to me. She worked on a project with Martin Parr to archive the Black Country. The industries there still worked according to traditional manufacturing and production methods. The project bought challenges in figuring out ‘how do you archive a specific place at a specific time?’ They decided to photograph a range of social occasions from weddings to funerals, domestic homes, the oldest factories and the newest factories. The project was displayed in the community art gallery in the form of a wall of small prints. It was displayed in this way because it was important to the creators that everyone in the community was represented on the wall.

Early on in her career Claire realised the value of art in community. She’s interested in making more space for art and making it more accessible to people. This could include displaying the work in public spaces (such as billboards and shop windows,) or working with people who wouldn’t consider themselves artists. She worked on a project with David Goldblatt called ‘Ex-offenders.’ This was a collaboration with prisoners. The prisoners would return to the location of their crime and have their portrait taken. She expressed how her role for this project involved a lot of relationship management between the prison, prisoners, photographer and the photographic company. The project was exhibited in prisons. Logistics concerning the installation of the prints needed problem solving- you weren’t allowed any sharp objects, such as frame corners and nails.

I found Claire’s talk very engaging. The projects she described felt like a rewarding application of photography, they lacked commercial gain and didn’t have a capitalist agender. It’s interesting to hear how you can be innovative in the creative field, without being the artist. I like the idea of being a facilitator and a collaborator, as opposed to having a solo photographic practice. Working on such diverse projects, and for the whole duration of projects, would meet my need for variation in a job.

Phoenix Artspace

Phoenix Artspace ( has been on my radar for a couple years now. I enjoy visiting the exhibitions, which change relatively frequently. Phoenix Artspace Open Studios, as part of the Fringe Festival, is a great opportunity to speak to practicing artists and learn about their artistic journey and current projects. Last year I had a great chat with April Yasamee who did an artist residency in the Phoenix Artspace main gallery. Going to the opening night of Real Utopias, Photo Fringe 2022, hosted by Phoenix Artspace, gave me insight into the Brighton photography scene, I ended up invigilating Will Morgan’s exhibition ‘A City Inside Out’ at Regency Town House.

The current exhibition at Phoenix Artspace was ‘Are you a woman in authority?’ The media was diverse, video, painting, sculpture, but the themes link. We heard from Kitty Bew, the exhibition coordinator. She spoke honestly about challenges with funding such ambitious exhibitions and her role in finding these funds. She provided insight into curation logistics, how art pieces are loaned or have specific display requirements. I asked about how they try to encourage people to come into the gallery space and she spoke of the importance of promotion via social media and family workshops. Workshops would be organised by an Art Facilitator.

Kitty’s personal journey to the position of exhibition coordinator started with her volunteering on the front desk and slowly working her way up to a paid role. She emphasised the importance of attending things, exhibitions, talks, opening nights and how mailing lists are a good way to be in the loop.

I took two things away from the talk. The first being that finding funding is key to making exhibitions possible and that putting on an exhibition requires logistical problem solving. An exhibition coordinator is required to address both needs. The second was the importance of participating in short term volunteer work, which I hope to do more of this summer with Photo Fringe 2024 and Photoworks.