Friday, October 19, 2007

The last TINA blog

Although this is my last blog for the TINA placement, it is definitely not the last thing I will have to do with TINA. I'm meeting with Marni next week to have a general chat about how I went at TINA and probably to have a drink or two! To complete this blogging process, I feel I should give an overall evaluation of the whole event and how I now feel, half a month after it has finished.

I think the greatest thing I learnt in terms of event management was to be organised and have a plan for everything. There is so much that needs to be done and having lists and plans are essential to making sure you know you're doing, what other people are doing and a whole heap of other things. Obviously communication is a large part of this and there is definitely areas which could be improved upon next year.
Secondly I think I learnt how to relax a little. Marni was a person who taught me that it is no use making a huge fuss over things - you have to keep a cool head and just work them out with the input of other people. This is something I have struggled with before. Seeing other people calm relaxes and calms everyone else down as well.
I also learnt how to work as part of a team to bring together this amazing event, see it come to fruition and just have it be beyond what I had imagined it would be. Relying on other people was a large part of this process and I know I have previously been bad at this. I've learnt to delegate, share workloads and ideas and be an active part of a team.

Technically, I feel my awareness about PR has increased. Although I work as a journalist already and feel accomplished in my writing skills, this placement allowed me to see what is needed from the other side - such as a communications plan! I've already talked about areas within my role which need development.
I've also improved my skills in web design and maintenance greatly - mostly this was because I had no-one else to ask how to do things and just had to fiddle around and figure it out!

It's interesting to see what I have learnt compared to another girl in this course, also doing the TINA placement. Tahnee and I worked pretty closely at the festival club and I definitely agree with the suggestions she makes about time in her blog. Check it out at

I think the most significant part of this placement was just being a part of the whole process and seeing this event that so many people have slaved over and dedicated so much time towards, actually coming to fruition and more than that, being a resounding success. It's bought me pride I haven't felt for a long time and it's been such a positive experience for me.

I found it challenging to say no to things - and consequently sacrificed my uni marks for this placement. There was so much that I needed to get done - and it was like, if I didn't get it done, no-one else would and it wouldn't get done. So I found I was spending way too much time on what I would call the hours for this placement instead of doing uni work or earning money work, but at the same time, I became such a part of this event that I couldn't not do it! does that make sense? ha ha ah ah.

TINA is amazing. Enough said. I loved my time there and although it was stressful and took so much time and dedication, it was something I was willing to put my effort towards. Attached below is my preliminary ideas for the TINA evaluation I have done as the Newcastle media liaison. These are only ideas and there is certainly more that needs to be added, but this is the general gist.


Publicity Team Evaluation: Newcastle Media – Allyson Horn

The coverage from Newcastle print media was resoundingly positive during the festival. Key messages such as what the festival is, the popularity of the festival and major highlights were reoccurring through the coverage. Of all Newcastle commercial print publications (5), only one did not cover the festival. This is something to work on next year, along with my following suggestions.

Primary roles I carried out as the Newcastle Media Liaison:

- Distributed media releases weekly leasing up to event and then daily when needed during the event. These releases also reinforced key messages and provided general This Is Not Art details. (Releases are on the media section of the TINA website)

- Designed a (mini) communications plan for the Newcastle media and how to approach and implement it – consequently implemented it.

- Organised picture opportunities for local media or researched and provided material to media.

- Liased with local media personalities to get them to attend and cover events, such as the launch for the social pages.

- Updated and designed sections of the website, including half-daily during the festival

- Organised photography for the festival and how to have this shown on the website - a flicker site.

- Designed and formatted logos for print and website publication

- Assisted Claire in anything else that needed doing.


- We need a communications plan to be developed. It should be designed to be implemented as a year long project (not starting just months before the festival. This will include:

o A breakdown of who our key publics are (media wise) and how we can contact them (and lead times/deadlines)

o A list of measurable objectives – we need to have objectives we can show we have either met or not met and use these positive results as a marketing tool

o Strategies and implementation that would include consideration of different mediums and media tactics for before, during and after the festival.

o Timeline

o Methods for evaluation and what we need to find from our evaluation – also a discussion on how these results can be used for future sponsorship etc

- We need to record what is being published – eg – there were radio interviews and things that we have no record of and so we can’t accurately show the coverage we are getting. A media log would be a good idea so that when things come in or are published, they could be recorded then and there. This will also speed up the evaluation process.

- I would like to focus on the different sections of the Newcastle Herald. Such as Orbit for youth orientated participation or the arts pages for exhibitions. I believe they will cover the festival, but only in certain sections, which we need to discover and tap into.

- The website needs to be done earlier than 2007. We did not have sponsor logos up three weeks before the event and the website was still undergoing construction. This needs to be addressed. Of particular concern is coverage during the festival – ie – how can we get pictures from the festival up there and online, and also a section on program changes.

- There is a lack of internal communication between directors and TINA staff in general. Directors often had no idea what was happening with other aspects of the festival.

Newcastle based Print Media Coverage: - note – Still a whole other folder to file – situated at the Octapod

02/09/07 Sun Herald, Hunter Extra “Festival to pull in crowds” – Small filler on This Is Not Art festival, when it is on, major attractions and new events, such as the Bike Corral.

09/09/07 Sun Herald, Hunter Extra “Got any room for an artist?” – small filler on the shortage of Newcastle budget accommodation and the call for local residents to ‘adopt an artist’.

27/09/07 The Newcastle Herald, The Word “Hamming it up” – small article and picture (of artists) on the Lunchbox Theatre as Part of This Is Not Art, including local performers and where they will be performing.

26/09/02 The Post “TINA all-embracing, creative talents combine at festival” – standard article on the This Is Not Art festival. Describes the event, the four special programs, highlights of the festival (such as Charles Firth from The Chaser) and how to get more information. Small picture of Marni Jackson (festival coordinator) included.

30/09/07 Sun Herald, Hunter Extra “National Exposure for local culture” – half page picture and lead story on producer Marcus Westbury and new television series he has produced called ‘Not Quite Art’. Discusses Marcus being a featured artist at This Is Not Art and his preview screening to be held at the festival.

30/09/07 Sun Herald, Hunter Extra Social Pages “Painting the town red” – small article on the This Is Not Art launch mentioning accidental fire, National Young Writer’s Festival and Electofringe. Accompanied by three small photos of people at the launch.

01/10/07 The Newcastle Herald, Social Pages “This Is Not Art party” – half a page (five) of photos on people attending the This Is Not Art launch. A small blurb on the launch mentioning hundreds of people attended.

27/09/07 The Daily Telegraph, Newcastle Extra “Not art, but drawing everyone’s attention” – A lead piece on the This Is Not Art festival and major attractions including Charles Firth from The Chaser. Key messages included having events for the general public and number of people the festival attracts. Large picture of Electrofringe Director Cat Jones and a local designer.

1-2/09/07 The Sydney Morning Herald, Life “The gentle art of zine” – Full page article on zines – reference to This Is Not Art as a festival that holds zine culture together and a place where zines can be swapped for other zines and offerings.

07/02/07 The Post, TE, “Experimental Rock that pushes the boundaries” – Short article on Sydney band Pivot which makes reference when they played in Newcastle previously at the 2006 This Is Not Art festival.

April-May 07 Sydney Performance Magazine “The cool of entertainment” Full page article by Electrofringe Director Cat Jones on the Japanese Media Arts Festival. Mentions of Electrofringe but not specifically This Is Not Art.

15/05/07 The Daily Telegraph, Newcastle Extra “Culture is the lose, events cash cut by $200,000” – half page lead on the threatened loss of funding from Newcastle City Council towards local events including This Is Not Art. Comments from Marni Jackson and quarter page picture of Marni and the 2006 TINA program.


And so comes the end of this blog. Now I just have to start on TINA 2008!


Sunday, October 7, 2007

TINA over for 2007

I can't believe it's over - but I'm glad it is. I've had to have a week to recover from it- hence the huge gap since my last post. Over the 5 days of the festival, I got about 15 hours sleep, which made me incredibly worn out and tired to say the least.

So how did it go? It was a huge success. It was long, and full of excitement and entertainment. There's so much to tell that this may come out in dribs and drabs - when suddenly I remember something more. From the beginning may be best:

TINA was already packed from the moment it started. There were people from all across Australia and even from other parts of the globe who had made the trek to Newcastle for this explosion of creativity. My days pretty much consisted of the following

- 9am: be at TINA to set up the Bike Corral and update the website
- 11am - 1am: work on the Bike Corral
- 1am - 3pm: Compile a media release and update the web with photos, program changes, new media information and anything else I saw that needed doing.
- 3pm - 5pm:
- 5pm - 7pm: Take down Bike Corral equipment and clean up area
- 7:30pm - 12am: Work behind bar in the Festival Club
- 12am - 3am(next day!): Clean up festival club - included getting guests out of venue (way harder than it sounds) and dealing with angry people who don't understand why we've closed the bar.
- After: Make my way home and finally get to sleep at some point around 4:30 - 5am ish - then up again at 7-7:30ish for the day.

All the while I was also making sure everyone was ok, doing general coordination, helping people and assisting media with anything they wanted (while still trying to keep our end of the bargain with our sponsors). Let me say, there was no time for rest and I was completely burnt out after 5 days of this. Hence the huge gap (which has mainly been spent sleeping!). But all I can say is it was worth it. It's hard to explain how emancipated I feel after being a part of this team who have achieved this beautiful and amazing event. I feel incredibly proud and lucky.

Media wise, we had ok success. Every Newcastle media outlet picked it up and ran a god piece EXCEPT the Newcastle Herald. I don't know why, but obviously this is what I need to evaluate from my side - where did I go wrong in the communications aspect? We had The Post, The Star, The Daily Telegraph and The Sun Herald all do stuff in print, and Triple J, 2HD and ABC radio show a huge amount of support, with everything being positive. The Herald however, only ran us in socials, which I thought was a bit of a cop out. It's like they are too good for their own town. Anyway, I need to look at how I can increase our exposure in The Herald.

What is happening now goes along the lines of post-tina clean up and getting ready for our board meeting. We've started on the evaluation part of TINA. During the festival, we made up surveys (many many hundreds) and asked volunteers to go around and hand them out for people to complete. At the moment we are compiling the results. We have an evaluation meeting coming up halfway through this month, which is where we deliver the success of the event to the board and look towards next year.

Speaking of next year, I have already started on the communication side. It's funny that what started as a placement has resulted in a new love being found and followed - as in my love for TINA. I never really thought that I would like it as much as I have, but I really feel as if I have contributed to something amazing and well worth the effort.

I think there will be another post to go after this - like an evaluation of what I got out of TINA sort of post. But I might get my thoughts together a little bit more before I put that one up.


If you want to check out pics of the event, head to
This is what I set up to get the photos available, but I am yet to post them all up.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

day two of TINA 2007

It's morning and I feel like I haven't slept. This is the reality when it comes to event management I guess.

Today the Bike Corral starts. Dan, my other half of co-ordination team, has just been at my place and we've been collaborating and getting ready to go into the city and set up. Real exciting.
I also have to go and do drop offs for head count sheets. We have recruited a whole heap of vollies to come in and do head counts at each of the events and venues to see how many people we have coming to the event.

Last night was the modular party - at 6pm (3hrs before event) we had sold more than 200 tickets! - an amazing effort and a real indication of how exciting TINA is for this year.

There are a couple of higher profile events happening today which I will be covering, which include The 2007 Soapbox Election with Charles Firth from The Chaser and also the Balkan Gypsy Wedding featuring Mojo Juju and The Snake Oil Merchants - a local band who are a real crowd pleaser.

Also working on the bar again.

This morning though, I have to drum up some more media attention and get some people down there.

Got to get to it.

Until this afternoon/night,


Day one goes off with a blast

It's 1.37 in the morning and I have just arrived home from the first day of This Is Not Art 2007.


There is nothing like seeing something so many people have devoted their lives to, come to fruition. Today went so amazingly well. Because my mind and body is one million per cent exhausted, I won't be able to remember everything. But the first event we had today was packed out - and it's only Thursday!

We've had a few glitches website wise which I am trying to fix. I'm noticing a whole heap of things haven't been updated, so got to do that.

I actually attended one part of the event today - the student media roundtable and discussion. More on that in later posts, but it was wonderful to get to participate in the actual event. I realise this often isn't the reality, but things just seemed to work out for me today.

The launch was HUGE! There were so many people there and the place was buzzing. I got to socialise/direct and assist media and VIP guests for two hours, before jumping behind the bar and serving beer all night. It was still amazing though.

We've had some great coverage in the media the last couple of days. We've been in the Post, the Star, the Daily Telegraph, The Newcastle Herald. I've also done some stuff for the Sun Herald on the weekend. So it's all systems go. Tomorrow (which is now actually today) will be much bigger because we'll have to help TV crews tomorrow. YAY!

I've also met an array of amazing people who are so valuable to know. The networking here just blows me away. People like Marcus Westbury, who was one of the original founders of TINA and has just finished producing his own TV series which is being screened on ABC, are people in the industry who are amazing to know and listen to and have there as a friend and contact. There's so many more, but my brain is too tired to think.

I feel so worn out but like I've accomplished so much personally and as part of TINA.

Tomorrow, my event (the bike corral) starts, so I have to now get some sleep so I can get up and set up early.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Tomorrow is the day - everything starts......officially.

We've bumped in today, with a couple of little glitches and some fun, but we're in and ready to roll.

Yesterday I met Nick Lowe, one of the organisers of the NYWF. We got into a good chat about student media and it made me realise how much I love being at TINA and how much it is suited to me. Everything about it, I enjoy.

I'm just worried about how I'm going to make it through the next couple of days. I've wokring from7am to about 2am - then trying to get a little sleep and somewhere in there fit in a little blogging!



This Is Not Art 2007!!!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Stress has set in

Whooo.....stress less is the mantra for this week.

Today is Tuesday. The event starts on Thursday. Still so many problems with accommodation, catering and insurance. Hmmm......little things keep popping up, which take up time and take me away from the big picture: TINA as a whole. My mind is mixed up as this entry will identify. Things will just pop into my head and I have to get them out or I will forget them. It comes from always thinking about what needs doing. And on top of this, I was, just yesterday, diagnosed with tonsillitis. I really just want to be in bed resting but I can't. I love TINA.

Bike Corral is nearly ok. I have all the material at my house and it won't fit in my car. Not like there is too much, but it is too big and my car is only small! I can't bring my star pickets in – which we need! Hmmmmm....not sure how they are going to get into the heart of Newcastle yet. Still have to make up registrations. Had a positive response from media callout and press drive. We've got heaps and heaps of old bikes and stuff. One lady even donated a whole garage full that her husband had collected before he died! So, I'm quite pleased with that. Looks my me media relations skills are going A.O.K.

Media has just hit full throttle. It's all about accommodating for the media now. They want to know what's, who they can talk to, where good pic opps are, and on and on and on. I seem to be catering to their every little whim. Now when the actual event starts and we get them on site, that is when it is going to get interesting. I'm going to have to be looking out for them so they don't feel like we don't appreciate their support and direct them to spokespeople, people for pics, where to go, what to do yadda yadda. That's in the back of my mind as it's a little further away (2 DAYS!!!!!).

I'm trying to figure out my timetable! Where am I going and what am I doing? I'm starting to see that I actually won't get to see much of the event (or take part in as such). It's all going to be organisational, keeping things working and happening. Stupidly (well not really but I'll it was stupid anyway), I said yes to working on the bar, so my nighttimes, and the wee hours of the morning, are going to be spent pouring beers for happy TINA-ers. So I'm barring, photographing, media-ing and more.

I have already burst into tear three times today! Argh!


Friday, September 21, 2007

so scared but excited......

A week until the event and I'm running my little socks off! I've written up numerous releases this week including one on local performers, exhibitions, gigs listing AND the THIS IS NOT ART LAUNCH!!!!, and sent them out. I've found the best way to actually guarantee (or as much as you can) getting some media coverage is to do personalised emails with the releases attached. So instead of just blindly shooting off releases, I've spent some time finding out who are the people I want to be targeting. For example, with looking at the exhibitions, I pitched personally to Jill Stowell from the Newcastle Herald. I schmoozed her and made her feel special; another trait I'm beginning to learn is very useful. This way, it shows an interest from my side and also that I have taken the time to understand who Jill is and why she is important to This Is Not Art. Likewise with the local performers releases; I've rang Tahnee at The Post and I know now that we are going to get some coverage in that. As a journalist I have always been so skeptical of on block media releases because I thought they never really showed a journalist you wanted their individual attention and wanted them to write about the issue at hand. This is fine if you have a multitude of media to choose from, but Newcastle is small and we have very little media to choose from. So when I found myself falling into that trap from a PR side at TINA, I knew they wouldn't be working as effectively as they could be.

The rest of my TINA time (and time that seems to be dedicated to TINA…..argh!) is spent with answering media inquires and attending to all their needs. It's sort of like we're at their mercy – so much depends on the positive coverage we get - not only getting crowds, but showing the positive coverage as encouragement of the event so we can get funding/grants/sponsorship/in kind material, next year. As well as this, I'm trying to figure out how to pitch this to University students. I'm going to do up a 'student's guide' type thing, with a list of events which would be really useful for students. It's just a matter of actually getting around to that – I will do that tonight.

Everything is going well. We all seem to have our heads screwed on…..if only just. Marni and I took half an hour to have a cup of tea the other day and I think it relaxed us both. I'm really having fun at TINA and feel like I am part of the event and dare I say it, the event is part of me. I guess we just have to keep plugging along!