Our November After Hours is here already and we are looking forward to a great night out (or in for us).
Tickets have been selling like hot cakes (useful in this cold snap) for Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year at After Hours.
We’ve got great food and drink on the menu at our bars; live jazz, the opportunity for a look around our amazing Cocoon, and the second in our Discussing Nature series of events in our restaurant. This Discussing Nature event, ‘Exploring the Final Frontiers’ will be a fascinating ‘balloon debate’, with 3 of our top scientists putting forward their case for a fictional funding pot to explore the unchartered areas of the world or solar system, and the audience voting to find the winner.
It’s great to see that Veolia Wildlife Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year is so popular. Behind this year's exhibition, as behind all our exhibitions, there is a hard-working project team that puts together the design, production, interpretation, marketing, press, interactive and online elements of that exhibition.
Grant Reid is the exhibition’s project director and Paul Gallagher is the project manager. I managed to extract Grant from the avalanche of tender applications he is currently working his way through for other exhibitions for 2011, so he could tell me a bit more about this year’s exhibition and how we are working to make Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer environmentally sustainable. Here's what he has to say:
‘The Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is one of the Museum’s most popular events, and it’s definitely the longest running exhibition at the Museum. It attracted over 130,000 visitors last year, and people have been returning for over 20 years to see it.
'Last year, the exhibition moved from the Jerwood gallery into the Waterhouse gallery. We re-designed the exhibition for this and built it with the latest technology, sustainability and flexibility in mind. This year, we've used the same 2009 gallery framework with some improvements and a different fabric.
‘This large structural framework guides the visitor through the central space of the exhibition, opening up individual, gallery-like rooms and culminating in a striking black monolith which dramatically displays the winning photographs (shown above) from the 2010 competition.’
The exhibition's support framework is made from aluminium - shown right, before the fabric was applied. This metal is lightweight, reusable, strong and hard-wearing. At the end of its intended 5-6 year life, the aluminium structure will be recycled into new aluminium stock.
Sustainability has become an important aspect in planning our exhibitions, Grant explains:
‘Historically before 2009 the exhibition photographs were shown on fluorescence tube light boxes. These have now been recycled, and the images hang this year on slim, almost invisible LED light panels, which provide a 40 per cent reduction in power consumption. These LED strips have life-cycles of approximately 100,000 hours.
'We've applied the same philosophy of sustainability to other elements of the exhibition such as the furniture and the photographic film and cinematic equipment – we reused all equipment where possible. A specialist print company was selected for their extremely high quality of reproduction. The film transparencies will be recycled and the chemicals embodied in the film will be extracted and recycled by a specialist company.
'For the first time in the exhibition's history, we are planning to measure all the power consumption and benchmark the 2010 exhibition to measure it against future ones. We hope to continue to present a high quality photographic exhibition with the same sustainable materials, while subtly renovating the overall aesthetic each year.’
The Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010 exhibition closes earlier than usual this year on 11 March. So be sure to catch while you can. Enjoy it next year at 2 more After Hours on 28 January and 25 February.