Meet the people behind the festivals - Claire Bruce
An integral part of Aberdeen Festivals’ work is to strengthen the cultural sector in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. This is mainly achieved through our key resource, our people. This month we talk to Claire Bruce, Visual Communications & Co-Producer of our fantastic visual art festival, Look Again!
Tell us a bit about your job:
Currently I’m a partner in SMART, an independent art agency here in Aberdeen, which has been running for 10 years now. In 2015 we partnered with Robert Gordon University to deliver Aberdeen’s first visual art & design festival – Look Again. I am the festival designer and programme co-ordinator and my role requires a variety of hats to be worn daily!
I support the Festival Director with the coordination of the festival programme and ensuring logistics and requirements are managed effectively - from liaising with the artists on specific requirements relating to their commissions to ensuring all permissions are in place for the artworks to be sited across the city.
The biggest part of my role is developing the overall design approach for the festival each year. This involves coming up with a concept that will catch peoples eye and encourage them to engage with Look Again through posters, adverts, leaflets, invites and signage to name a few!
What do you think makes our region’s cultural offering stand out?
We are fortunate in our coastal location and all it has to offer. Aberdeen has a unique story to tell and it’s exciting to see artists, festivals and events celebrating this in different ways.
One of Look Again’s aims is to highlight our rich cultural heritage by siting creative interventions in the public realm. Sally and I always spoke about the statues in the city and how they had become like wallpaper, no one asked any questions about them, or asked why they were there. So, in 2015, we ‘redressed’ them to see if people would stop and engage with our history through a fresh pair of eyes. This made us realise how many unique stories people had to share and how something as simple as a change of colour got people to engage with visual art in a completely different way.
There are opportunities to make things happen in Aberdeen and lead the way into an exciting future. With a shift in thinking, the creative sector in Aberdeen is showcasing new ways to engage with our cultural heritage and this will hopefully make our region stand out.
How has working as part of Aberdeen Festivals developed the festival you represent and your career:
It has been a key driver in promoting our festival to a wider network as well as making meaningful partnerships and connections with other festivals in Aberdeen. It has allowed me to work collaboratively and re-think how we can promote our own festival through different outlets. There is a real shift in thinking in Aberdeen at the moment and Aberdeen Festivals has been one of the key factors in this.
How do you spend your weekends:
If I’m not making the most of our beautiful coastline, meeting friends in some of the great places we have to eat, checking out a new exhibition or watching live music, you’ll find me in a swimming pool!