Photo 02-09-2017, 18 19 14.jpg

D E C O  I N T E R N  E M I L Y' S  

N E W  B L O G 

Date Posted —

Posted by —
Emily Birkett

Welcome back to the Deco Publique journal. Firstly to introduce myself, I’m Emily and the current intern with Team Deco and after 2 months of working with them, I thought it was about time that I (finally) write my first journal post!

I first heard about Deco Publique when Lauren and Elena came to Lancaster University to do a talk for one of my modules within LICA called Creative Enterprise. I was a BA (Hons) Fine Art student and although I thoroughly enjoy the making and creation aspect to my practice, I was (and still am) greatly interested in the management and organisation side of hosting exhibitions, festivals and events. At university I was a part of Up North Arts, a society which aimed to create opportunities for artists within the university curating exhibitions around Lancashire and also was the Treasurer of the degree show committee for the 53 More Things to Do in Zero Gravity exhibition so I’d had experience and have interests surrounding this side of things, just not on the same scale as anything that Deco Publique produces. As soon as Lauren and Elena began talking about what they do, I knew it was something I would love to be a part of and it made me excited to continue with the module and try and create a project which provided cultural value myself. Since my own fine art practice has organically developed into incorporating the community and they mentioned that they would be looking for interns at the end of the year, after completing my degree show, I applied and I’m not quite sure how but I got it!

So what have I been doing as an intern? Well a bit of everything really! I'll be sure to break down everything in my upcoming journal posts but for this specific one, I thought I'd focus on the festival weekends and alongside that comes working with the extended Deco family! Of course, I work with Lauren, Elena, Alex and Ben on a daily basis in the office but for delivering the festivals, we need a much bigger team to carry out all the manual labour including setting up gazebos, carrying tables, chairs and assembling flags / hanging bunting for decoration purposes.

I have carried out three festivals with the team this summer, the first one being the Fine Tuned festival in Liverpool in partnership with the British Style Collective and Hemingway Design on the Albert Docks, the second at Burnley Canal Festival with Mid Pennine Arts and Super Slow Way and the final one at Vintage by the Sea in Morecambe, all offering something completely different. Fine Tuned was daunting at first with it being my first week of working with Deco but I shadowed the crew and learnt even the simplest of things like learning how to properly use a drill. Although a lot of these things were basic elements of festival production, I have also experienced jobs such as site dressing and artist liaisons - visiting the Albert Docks ahead of time with Alex to distribute banners and assisting the performers to the green room to get ready for their performances.

Burnley Canal Festival was more community based as, of course, it wasn’t in as big of a city as Liverpool. It was all about folk and less focus on vintage as such. My role was slightly different. With Liverpool, it was more about understanding what Deco Publique actually do and seeing it first hand. However, at Burnley, I was more knowledgeable due to working in the office - I knew of the performers, street food vendors and artists and I’d gotten to know the team so well over the last few months that I felt slightly more at ease walking around the festival. By this point, I had been introduced to their social media platforms and had set up a HootSuite to have a constant flow of content but I also was the resident photographer and videographer for Instagram Stories and I felt in my element roaming down the towpath. So if you caught any of that footage over the weekend, then you now know who was the person behind the magic! Being a maker myself, I also stayed around the workshop tents to help the artists manage the high public demand.

Festival weekends are hard but extremely varied! Early starts and late evenings - the producers & co are the first ones up and the last ones to leave - at the site early to set up and uninstalling at the end of the day is what the majority of the weekend consists of, not to mention lots of brew runs to keep us going. Although it can be tiring at times, they are very enjoyable and there has been so many highlights which I will drop in here and there throughout my posts. At Fine Tuned, I loved the Best in Show element presented by Caryn Franklin, seeing all the guests walk down the catwalk with their vintage outfits and the crossover between all the stations, performers and any of the shows throughout the day as the music of Boom Bike Bouree joined the Best in Show catwalk, providing an interactive element. Equally, the Street Food section with the routemaster red bus with The Reboot Project DJ’s on the top deck seemed to the hub of the festival and had a constant atmosphere.

At Burnley Canal Festival, I visited the NSPCC stall at Burnley Wharf where I purchased an amazing 70s styled vase (all proceeds going to a fabulous charity), engaged in delightful conversations with the stallholders and watched the Rajasthan Heritage Band perform at Sandygate Square which was incredible to watch with the crowds responding so well. One evening, Sol Cinema (one of our regular performers) were staying in our accommodation block and offered to cook for us, making a feast of delicious food and even made vegan variations of everything for myself which was such a kind gesture!

I’m only halfway through my internship but I’m excited for to see what's to come in the second half and also to inform you, in my next journal post, about one of my favourite weekends with the team so far – Vintage by the Sea festival, where I had a very special role. But for now, I will leave you with some of my (limited because we've been having so much fun) photographs so far.




W E L C O M E  T O  T H E  

D E C O  J O U R N A L