Thank God it’s Friday

Posted on August 28, 2015

Thursday, (Thank God it’s) Friday, Saturday, Sunday: The importance of exhibitions in cities

Dear Readers: With our Touring Exhibitions Meeting (TEM) in Istanbul just a stone’s throw away, last week I went with my two fantastic teenage sons and my wonderful wife for a long weekend in London - an extended family-fun-summer-city-break, plus charging the batteries for Istanbul.

Stormtrooper© Secret Cinema

Whilst my wife takes care of packing the bags and managing all the nitty-gritty details of such days out with the family, I’m responsible for planning the programme. I filled our 4 day trip with photo stops at Big Ben and Westminster Abbey, and we had great fun on a night ride of the Coca-Cola London Eye. It took me long negotiations with my wife to tweak the plan to include two business meetings (I asked for four with the goal of managing these two), and while I was in these meetings my family did a little shopping spree at Liberty and Selfridges. I also booked tables where we lunched and dined deliciously at Fish & Chipper, Jamie’s Diner and Cinnamon Soho.

However, much of our trip to London was spent seeing exhibitions. We arrived Thursday afternoon, and spent that entire evening at the Late Shift at the National Portrait Gallery. Our London Saturday consisted almost entirely of exhibitions; the morning was filled with >A Royal Welcome at Buckingham Palace (this summer’s special exhibit), and the whole afternoon was dedicated to William Turner at the Tate Britain. Our Sunday morning destination was Greenwich Park, home of the Royal Greenwich Museums, and the highlight for my sons was the museum ship Cutty Sark. (Wanna know what we did on Friday? Wait till the end of this text.)

Open any city magazine, whether it might be from London, Paris, New York or Singapore, browse through any airline magazine, open the leisure pages in your Sunday newspaper, and you’ll find that exhibitions are the cultural magnets of cities; tourism boards often build their campaigns around major shows in galleries and museums.

London is the city that has mastered the art of cultural marketing. If you need proof, go online at and watch the trailer for the “autumn season.” It also comes as no surprise that London’s museums, galleries and theatres are the most googled in the world. As you travel around London, you see adverts for temporary exhibitions everywhere; they’re a major feature of the capital’s cultural offering, and cover a wide range of subjects. Some of these exhibitions will attract large audiences, while others will struggle to reach the visitor numbers they’d hoped for. Some will even see their visitor numbers fluctuate widely at different points in their run. Why is this? What makes an exhibition successful?

To help us answer these questions, our TEM opening speaker on Friday 11th September is Gerri Morris, of Morris Hargreaves McIntyre consulting. While discussing the importance of exhibitions in cities, in this session, Gerri will share insights from the largest survey of temporary exhibitions ever undertaken, exploring why people go to exhibitions and who their audience is. She’ll also offer insights into how museums and galleries can effectively engage with and grow their audiences. It will be a fascinating and fantastic talk to kick off the meeting!

“The importance of exhibitions in cities” – that’s a great motto for this year’s TEM.

Oh, and before I forget: Our Friday in London was Secret Cinema’s The Empire Strikes Back. The event is as long as a Richard Wagner opera, and you already need to be dressed properly in the afternoon. I’m not allowed to tell you what exactly we saw and did, because it’s a secret. But I can tell you: Book a ticket (the empire is striking back until September 27th), and then book the next flight to London. Secret Cinema brews up a mix of film, exhibition and dining… all the elements of something unforgettable.

Read 35 spoiler-free tips for Secret Cinema by Method Unsound’s Christopher Ratcliff ():…

Watch Visit London’s “autumn season” film:

Check out the final TEM programme for Istanbul, we’re very proud of it:

And visit our speaker Gerri Morris’ inspiring and content rich survey:…

Thank God it’s Friday will take a break until September 25th – I’m simply too busy with TEM. On September 25th, I’ll present to you my cultural picks for the 4th Quarter.

Until then, I wish you a good time!
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