The Future Now Symposium is an exploration of 21st century culture through the mechanism of art, running 28 April – 1 May. This multidisciplinary four-day virtual event brings together key institutions, galleries, publications and artists for live-streamed discussions surrounding the most pressing issues from today’s creative industries. Through imaginative debates, panel discussions, career advice and cultural engagement, Future Now is a platform for idea generation.
Future Now finds a new home in an accessible online space for 2021. This year, our sessions are available to stream from the comfort of your home. Ahead of this year’s event, we ask our key speakers 10 questions.
Name, title and organisation?
Héloise Winstone, Awards Production Manager, 1854 Media / British Journal of Photography.
How would you describe your role?
I manage 1854 Media / BJP’s six international photography awards, develop partnerships and produce shows. My role is incredibly multi-faceted as I work on 4 / 5 large scale projects simultaneously, each at different points in their cycles. Day-to-day, I can also be found planning and developing concepts for future events. No matter what I am working on, I am lucky enough to liaise with international practitioners, institutions and partners – organising amazing projects that have a tangible impact on artists’ development and practice.
The best part about what you do?
Collaborating with artists, curators, directors and producers from all over the world and sharing a universal passion for photography. In particular, I love working with gallerists and creatives to produce exhibitions. From the curation right through to delivery, it is wonderful seeing all the different elements come together.
Your most significant project to date?
One of our most recent projects, Decade of Change. It aims to harness the power of storytelling through photography – shedding light on underrepresented global issues caused by climate change. Images embrace a mix of conceptual and traditional techniques to emphasis the severity of our situation. We are working with some fascinating artists and institutions, including Hong Kong Museum of Climate Change, and hope to exhibit the project in America towards the end of this year. It is very extremely gratifying to see Decade of Change expand, with many institutions recognising the value of the arts in response to the climate emergency.
Favourite piece of art?
Winifred Knights’ The Deluge is a classic of early modernism. It has always had a profound effect on me as I have always gravitated towards dystopian futures in literature and art. I am not quite sure what it says about me as a person as it is not the most optimistic painting, but it is such a powerful and emotive representation of the human experience. Chaos has a profound sense of universality and the picture can be made into a metaphor for endless situations. Everything, from the tone, artist, composition and message, resonates.
The best in-person or virtual exhibition / event you’ve attended in the last year?
The digital edition of Format Festival, in collaboration with New Art City. The user experience is almost gamified, providing a really amazing interactive experience. The amount of creativity and potential exhibited is so exciting for the industry. I cannot wait to see what they do next.
Biggest take-away from 2020?!
The importance of community. It has been fantastic to see creatives come together – from the rise of collectives to charity print sales. Collaborative projects have been so inspiring and heartwarming amidst the chaos of 2020. I hope that the bonds formed continue to grow and we can be selfless and empathetic moving forward, both within ourselves and the work that we hope to achieve.
Lessons to take forward into 2021?
Go with the flow! As a producer of physical exhibitions, I had to quickly realise that so many elements are out of our control. I have learnt to taking everything in your stride and working with what you have got. This year has been a valuable learning experience, which has definitely made me a stronger curator and producer.
What are you most looking forward to exploring in your session at Future Now?
I am looking forward to pulling together all of the expertise in the session and forming a really valuable session for artists. Every member of the panel comes from a different area of ‘opportunity’. I cannot wait to explore how our missions and passions align to serve the creative community.
Other sessions you’re looking forward to attending?
There are so many to choose from! I am really looking forward to Jakob Kudsk Steensen’s talk on Digital Ecologies, and seeing how new technological manipulation techniques are being developed. Alongside that, I am also excited to see Gulnara Samoilova and Diane Smyth speak on Women Street Photographers. It is great to see dedicated talks shedding light on underrepresented artists and addressing gender balance within the industry.
Héloise Winstone will speak on Artist Opportunities: What’s Available Post-Pandemic?, Thursday 29 April, 12.30-13.30 BST.
The Future Now Symposium runs 28 April – 1 May (Live), 2 – 31 May (On Demand). Tickets are available now, starting from £20.