Workshops have traditionally events that I have attended to learn skills for my practice. Though as part of managing different size teams in my day job I have organised workshops for the team to develop skills or define future strategy, so planning and arranging a workshop is not totally new. In this case, I will be arranging a workshop for a group of total strangers which will introduce many unknowns into the event that will need to be managed, having the core elements of the event planned up front will ensure I have spare bandwidth to deal with the unexpected.
After careful consideration, I decided that it was not possible to use the water treatment plant as a location for the workshop for safety reasons as some building only has one entry and exit point plus the building has chemical hazards which might have invalidated my liability insurance.
I decided instead to arrange a photowalk as an experiment to see if I could incorporate photowalks into my main project as a way of introducing a level of participatory photography into the project.
After speaking to a photographer to runs workshops in Essex I decided that I would market my workshop through Meetup.com which is a marketing channel that he uses for his workshops. For my first photowalk I would arrange it to take place on a Sunday morning on the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation Canal. The towpath and the locks would provide the group with many different photo opportunities that a group could explore from different perspectives. The moving water at the locks would allow them to explore different camera settings creating different images of the same scene. The towpath also will make it easier to marshal the people attending that might be more difficult on a beach.
I planned the event to start and finish at a café on the canal making it easy for the group to discuss their photographs at the end of the photowalk.
I created a short pdf Photowalk-Outline that outlined the plan for the event plus things that attendees would need to bring to get the maximum out of the event.
My next step was to create my Group on Meetup.com which I called “Essex Photowalks” and then market the group too find potential people to attend the photowalks. The group was tagged with keywords that I felt would appeal to my target audience of people based in Essex who like walking and photography. After 5 days the group had 100 members and my photowalk event was fully subscribed. I decided to charge a nominal fee of £10 pounds to ensure people would commit to the event a give me some funds to buy the group refreshments at end of the event.