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Writing for Different Purposes


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This document takes you through the different types of writing you may be asked for as you embark on your project.

While these pieces of writing may contain similar information, they can have distinct audiences and communication purposes. Create a ‘Writing’ folder for your project and save your variations of text in one place.

(Jaffle Symposium, 2018)

An elevator pitch:

One sentence that has a hook. If we meet at an exhibition opening and I asked you on the spot “what are you working on right now”, what are you going to say? It’s really good to prepare this and practice it on people and continue to tweak it. Have fun with it.

An exhibition text:

The didactic piece of text on the gallery wall that is short and concise and is written in accessible language. There are so many ways to do this, depending on what the intention of the exhibition is.

A good question to ask yourself when writing an exhibition text is what is your intention?

e.g. exhibition as a provocation, exhibition as entertainment, exhibition as thought experiment, exhibition as ___________ ?

This will then help you decide the writing style.

An artist statement:

The essay. What people read if they want to find out more about your work. These can be varying lengths. This can be more academic. It’s about diving deep and it is completely optional for audiences.

A marketing copy:

Under 100-word statement that is like a party invitation. Intriguing, fun, exciting and doesn’t try to explain the work but hints at why it’s worth someone’s time. Generally, it is best to write these quickly, simply and not mull over it too much. Often presenters will edit this to suit their formatting anyway. This is your audiences first impressions and their entry point into a project.

A press release:

A one-page article that journalists can copy and paste into their own article because they are really time-poor. Written like an article, with the most important and exciting information (your elevator pitch) at the top and the most general information at the bottom.

Grant and application writing :

Is about answering questions, briefs, key selection criteria. All the answers are in the information already, it is about identifying them and understanding the question.

Artist bio:

Something you will always continue to write. You can always ask curators or presenters what they prefer to hear about when they ask you to submit one. It is a shorthand to your CV. Introduce what you do very briefly and then all about your exhibition history and accolades. Impress people and keep it short.

This resource has been made as a part of the Help Desk: Virtual Professional Development program.