This year, LOOK/17 has worked with two media partners, British Journal of Photography and The Skinny. Here, PR consultant for the festival, Laura Brown, reflects on why media partnerships are becoming more important.
PR is all about reaching audiences. Talking to journalists and understanding media landscapes is one facet of it, but fundamentally, PR lets you tell the story of what you’re doing directly to an audience you think might be interested.
The media partners we have worked with for LOOK/17 have helped us to reflect the dual audience and the potential for crossover within it. The Skinny reflects the vibrant, creative and independent cultural life of the North, which LOOK/17 is very much a part of. Being alongside events like Sound City, interviews with musicians and artists as well as writers allows you to reflect on your role as being part of the fabric of a rich cultural life. We often reflect that there is so much going on and The Skinny very much reflects how diverse and exciting our cultural lives are here, a good thing to remember.
British Journal of Photography, or BJP, helps the festival sit within the photographic community of the UK. As one of the UK’s largest photography festivals in the north, and with its new relationship with Open Eye Gallery, LOOK has the opportunity to discuss and explore different elements of working, living, and viewing photography as a medium.
BJP is the perfect fit. Established in 1854 it’s the world’s longest running photography magazine, putting an emphasis on innovation and invention. It is truly global, an ambition for LOOK and it has a place within the photographic fraternity that is unmatched. Being friends with this publication, which a media partnership builds upon, is vital. There’s a mutual sharing of audiences but it’s an endorsement, on both sides and something that can only make you both stronger.
Being a critical friend is also important, and that’s something that BJP does brilliantly well. As curators were organising artist trips earlier in the year, the BJP editorial team fired across a series of questions for their spring issue focussing on the curatorial focus of the festival. It encouraged the festival team to truly reflect on what they were doing and why. What was this for, why was this link with China important, what benefit would it have to Liverpool, why photography? Sometimes, a friend is the person who can make you honestly answer these questions, so vitally important in helping you talk to your audiences in a clear and concise way.
In the current climate, media partnerships are an increasingly important way in helping arts organisations and festivals tell their story. There’s a quid pro quo and a mutual benefit but there’s also an important positioning when you feature within the pages of The Skinny – whose pages are much in demand – and BJP. You’re competing with rare photographs that have the power to grab and hold your attention. There’s work from all over the globe and you have to fight for your place. It makes you up your game.
The British Journal of Photography is the official media partner for LOOK/17 Liverpool International Photography Festival. The latest issue, on sale now, is themed the Female Gaze: Studying new perspectives from the selfie generation. Charlotte Jansen considers a new generation of female photographers who make women their subject. Zuza Krajewska goes inside a prison for young male offenders. Endia Beal addresses themes of race, gender and corporate culture. And Laia Abril uncovers secret histories in her wide-ranging examination of misogyny.
BJP’s latest issue is out now and you can order it from the BJP Shop
Laura Brown is a Writer and Digital Consultant based in Liverpool www.lauramariebrown.com