Producing an art exhibition – A young curators view

Sonny with ice boots

Sonny Bird, Apprentice Creative Producer at Effervescent, talks you through the creative process behind the opening of the acclaimed exhibition ‘The Cold Truth’.

The Cold Truth was devised and created by a team of young people. During last years summer holiday five young curators (including myself) worked alongside effervescent to raise awareness about child sexual exploitation (CSE). All the young curators had lived experience of this issue and we all worked together to create this show, to get our voices heard.

Friday the 29th was the opening night and it was such a great experience for myself. I had first handed experience of what an opening night consists of, the atmosphere, hearing what people thought of the exhibit and just seeing all of our recent hard work all come together to make a work of art. 

The Cold Truth Opening Night

At the beginning of the night we had to just double check all of the tech, microphone, speeches and make sure everyone was ready and comfortable. A small team of 7, included myself, had to get the ice shoes from the freezer and out onto the plinths. Once they were all out onto the plinths the gallery looked incredible, the lights and the colours gave the room the perfect atmosphere for this show. Seeing everyones hard work come together was brilliant.

The opening night drew a crowd of over 100 people from a broad range of backgrounds. This gave me opportunities to meet some new and different people as they were congratulating everyone involved. It was great to meet people from art college, different organisations and hear what they do and to meet the family and friends of everyone involved. I also got to see everyone that had helped with the show; people who helped with the ice moulds, produced the film and soundtrack and people I have worked with to create this show. 

Towards the end of the night we had a Q & A with some of the curators and the makers of the show. There was myself, one of the other curators, Ellie Malone, Tim Mills, Amy Whittingham and Phil Innes. We talked about the process of how the shoes were made, the reason for why we chose ice and glass and about all the different elements to the soundtrack. During one of the question responses I could see that everyone was moved by the exhibit and the message it was giving. 

The Cold Truth Show

We wanted to communicate the fact that 72% of children who are being sexually exploited don’t tell anyone. This is the reason why we chose to produce child’s shoes in glass and ice. CSE is a problem that children in Plymouth are generally facing alone but a small minority are getting help. The ice shoes represent children who are going through this alone, they are fading away because they aren’t getting any help. The glass shoes represent children who have been exploited but have received help and support. Even though they have been helped the pain is long lasting it cant just disappear or be forgotten.

I want to say a huge thank you to all involved, for every little or big thing you did, without out you all we wouldn’t of been able to do this, you all gave us a voice to get the message out to the people. Myself and the other curators are so grateful for all of you amazing people.

‘The Cold Truth’ runs from 29/1/2016 to 29/4/2016 (the ice shoes are installed at 2pm every day).


Radiant Gallery,

12 Derrys Cross

Plymouth, PL1 2TE

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