Jessica Taylor, MA Fashion Curation alum on working as a Technical Producer at LCF
- Written byJessica Taylor for Centre for Fashion Curation
- Published date 06 March 2023
We reached out to LCF Technical Producer, Jessica Taylor, on the Cultural Programming Team to share her experience of managing the design, production, installation, and closing out LCF23, which was seen by over 2000 visitors over one weekend.
Jessica reflects on her journey and how she found their passion in exhibitions and fashion through the MA Fashion Curation course at LCF.
Working as a technical producer
On writing this, I have just closed the LCF Postgraduate Exhibition at Truman Brewery where my team and I managed the design, production, installation and close out of the exhibition and catwalk that was seen by over 2000 visitors over one weekend.
Since July 2022, I have been a Technical Producer on the Cultural Programming Team at London College of Fashion. We oversee a range a projects, from the bi-annual graduate showcases to the programme of exhibitions in Fashion Space Gallery and other small-scale projects across LCF sites, which includes supporting the MA Fashion Curation students from time to time.
There isn’t a typical day in our role as it is led by the projects we are assigned. It can vary from managing storage, painting exhibition build elements or supporting another team within LCF to complete the project themselves.
The postgraduate and undergraduate degree shows, however, require our team’s full resources. I was responsible for the display of all physical objects in the exhibition (as opposed to screen-based work). I worked closely with the Technical Production Manager on the design of these sections which, for this exhibition included the posters that were to be displayed alongside the physical pieces. I also coordinated all graphic elements throughout, such as captions and exhibition title graphics. I worked with our build contractors to decide on the types of plinths that would be used, as well as managing a preliminary sampling stage for the materials and colours that would feature in the final exhibition. We recycled previously-used materials for most of the exhibition build, so I was also responsible for managing the transporting of these items (such as large MDF sheets) out of storage and to various contractors before installation and then onto Truman Brewery.
During installation, I was responsible for a team of technicians who place and fix objects based on drawings my manager and I produce. While much of the object placement is left to specialists, the install period is hands-on for the whole team and we are all running around getting things finished, doing paint touch-ups, setting up rails, steaming fabric and moving plinths around into their final positions.
While I find myself back at LCF now, the first time I came here was during my studies for the MA Fashion Curation course in 2017. My journey on either side of this hasn’t always been linear. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I left school. As I loved both fashion and writing, I chose to study Journalism at City University for my undergraduate degree. I quickly realised that reaching out to strangers and pounding the pavements for a story (this was 2011, before Instagram DMs) wasn’t for me. I completed the undergraduate course in 2014 and spent a few years working in various parts of the fashion industry, from retail to merchandising, trying to find where my skills in creating narratives and storytelling could meet my interests in exhibitions and fashion.
When I found the MA Fashion Curation course at LCF, everything clicked into place and I could combine my previous experience and build on it with the guidance of Judith Clark and Amy de la Haye - Co-Directors of the Centre for Fashion Curation, and research Fellow, Jeff Horsely. Upon finishing the course in 2018, I started a job at the Design Museum (London) as an Exhibitions Coordinator where I later became a Junior Project Manager. The knowledge I developed in contemporary fashion and its relationship with popular culture supported the work I did on fashion exhibitions such as ‘Bethany Williams: Alternative Systems’and ‘Fred Perry: A British Icon’ which celebrated 75 years of the brand and person.
Whilst the roles I have had since graduating lean towards the more practical elements of exhibition-making, I consistently return to the teachings on the MA course when I think about the treatment of objects and working collaboratively on exhibition design. I also find that having the foundation of understanding collections and narrative means that I can better realise the ideas that the Curator or Artist communicates via an object list or in conversation.
As Technical Producer, I am part of the team putting together the launch programme at LCF’s new Stratford building in September. I continue to use the skills I have learnt in understanding space and giving objects room to tell their stories. I am instinctively drawn to my own research. I regularly engage with exhibitions, developing exhibition concepts in my own time which, in turn, informs my professional work - weaving in new ideas for display or designing that help communicate each project’s narrative.