Tuesday, May 25, 2010

new artist review process, or how to sustain a project with no staff

Since the beginning of the accessCeramics project, we've struggled to find an efficient way for artists to submit work for review, and for our curatorial board to vote on these submissions. Past procedures have included Google Groups and lots of email, though this proved to swallow vast amounts of our submissions coordinator's time. And with grant funding for our submissions coordinator coming to a close, we needed to develop some quick and efficient alternatives.

So, beginning today, new artists who want to contribute their images to the collection have a new set of procedures. Prospective contributors must obtain a free Flickr account first, and then complete a form on our site. Once the form is submitted, board members automatically receive an email directing them to vote on our new locally developed software. When all members vote (or two weeks have passed, whichever comes first), the software generates a 'verdict' email to the artist, with further instructions if appropriate.

In a perfect world, we would have limitless funding to sustain the project with hired staff. But in the absence of funding, we have little choice but to try to automate procedures as much as possible. Our curatorial board has used the new software for voting over the last week or so, and we've already experienced gains in efficiency. Assuming prospective artists can adapt to the new submissions procedures, the project's chances of long-term sustainability in the absence of grant funding have just received a significant boost.