This week brought us to a critical point in our project: the pitch meeting. We needed to present our ideas and work so far to a group of curators at Leeds Museums and Galleries. Last week, Lucy Moore had been talking to us about it and said that she had sold it to her colleagues as their chance at “Dragon’s Den” – and thus started our building anxiety over this part of the project.
On Monday, we had a mini-pitch with Amanda Walters, the leader of the World War 1 Nidderdale AONB project, on site at Breary Banks. She took us around the site and showed us a lot of research that she and her team had put together already. There were so many photos and newspaper articles we had never seen before, it gave us some great ideas and resources for our guide.
We then gave her our tour of the site, giving her an overview of each stop, showing her our mood trajectory and aesthetic concept for the brochure. She really liked it! The only adjustment she suggested was making sure to emphasise the University’s own work on the site, mentioning the excavations specifically. We hadn’t really considered that, and took that suggestion to heart for one of our stops.
On Tuesday, we sat down and really worked on our pitch. First we divided up the tasks, everyone taking a different section of the pitch. Then we set to work to write our scripts and slides and notes. At the end of the afternoon, we ran through it all to make sure it flowed well, and make any final tweaks to the pitch presentation.
And then we came to the big day: Pitch Day. We met at King’s Manor for one final run-through of the pitch before we headed to Leeds. Nerves were running high as we loaded onto our luxurious mini-bus for the trip. We’re normally a pretty chatty group if we’re around each other for more than five minutes, but the entire ride was dead silent, except for Sara and Harald talking in the front. It’s pretty safe to say we were really feeling the pressure for this meeting.
We arrived at the Leeds Discovery Centre, the grey rainy weather very much reflecting our moods at that point, and hurried inside. Luckily, we were early so we had a few minutes to collect ourselves before Lucy met us again, taking us on a brief tour of the Discovery Centre itself. The centre was an incredible place to explore, and I for one will be revisiting there some time to get a better look at the collections there!
After our brief tour, Lucy had to leave us…to the mercy of her colleagues. Our group of ‘dragons’ consisted of Yvonne Hardman, Head of Collections and Programmes, Ruth Leach, Curator – Exhibition, City Museum, Jen Newby, Digital Media Assistant, Laura Varley, Curatorial Assistant, and Antonia Lovelace, Curator – World Cultures. They sat nicely behind their row of tables as we took our positions for the pitch.
Sara gave a brief of introduction of our project and ourselves, and then we began our presentation. It all went by so quickly! As I sat there waiting for my turn in the project, I listened to each of the other group members and was so impressed by their composure. I couldn’t hear any mistakes in their delivery, no trace of nervousness at all. We must have impressed our dragons as well, as they seemed very pleased with it!
They had questions and suggestions for us, of course, and we spent much longer than we expected discussing various alterations to the guide and distribution ideas, but overall, they seemed incredibly enthusiastic about what we had presented. They had some great suggestions that we will definitely take into consideration, and we’ll discuss those in a later blog post. But all the hard work that went into preparing for this pitch really paid off, and looking back, this was an incredible experience that will help us in the future.
Written by Ashley