How it Works!
You will have seen various exhibition entry forms, including the Cotswold Salon, mentioning that prints will be selected using the Edinburgh System.
But, what is the Edinburgh System and how will it affect you?
Previous exhibitions required that every print was put before the panel of Selectors. Each print in turn was put before them on a display stand, they would then vote and the mark was recorded. This was a long, laborious task.
The Edinburgh system allows the Selectors to look through a pile of prints placed on a table. They pick up each print in turn and are able to examine the quality of the print, look for blemishes and view the mount.
All this is done close up, rather than from several feet away. If the Selector considers that the print has a good chance of being accepted it is placed in the 'yes' pile. If not considered acceptable then it is placed in a 'no' pile.
The Selectors then change places and the other Selectors then look through the first Selectors 'no' pile. If they consider that the print, in their opinion, has a good chance of an acceptance they can restore it to the 'yes' pile, which will mean that it will be viewed on the print easel and marked by the Selectors.
The advantages of this system are:
the selectors can have a really close inspection of your work and select the best prints
it speeds up the selection process a great deal
it is a lot easier for the administrators of the exhibition
Here are some images to show how the selection process is carried out.
Briefing the Selectors on how the process is to be carried out.
The Selectors - posing for the catalogue photograph.
Selectors at work - sifting the prints.
The sifting has to be carried out for each class in turn.
The 'yes' pile of prints are now seen by all of the Selectors who, electronically, award a mark.
Each Selector can award 3, 4 or 5 marks for each print, which is why your score card - if not blank - records a mark of 9 to 15. If a print receives a mark of 5 from any selector - it is automatically accepted in to the Salon. The score mark will include a '*' to denote that fact.
If all selectors consider that a print should be included in the Salon it might achieve a score of 15 - this does not necessarily mean that it is the best print, it just means that ALL of the Selectors want to see it in the exhibition.
Behind the Selectors there are the support staff who are declaring the scores and recording them on paper and on computer.
Other support staff are recording the print score on the back of the print - nothing like having back-ups for your back-ups.
The prints are then sorted according to the scores that they have received. At the end of the scoring process the number of prints needed for that class are separated for the Salon.
Print numbers accepted for each class are decided by the number of prints entered in that class as a direct proportion of the total number of prints entered.
So - there you are - Cotswold Salon's take on the 'Edinburgh System'
Please note: You will have seen just a small amount of the handling that your print goes through at the Selection Day. It goes through a lot more whilst being unpacked, stored, hung (hopefully) in the exhibition, stored again, sorted and finally repacked. The mounts are crucial to protect your print, but many are very skimpily put together. Double mounts separate..... a nightmare for us. Prints are still being fixed to the back of mounts with masking tape. The very nature of masking tape means that it is easily removed - quite often to stick on to the face of the next print in the pile. If it's somebody else's print - that is unforgivable. There is a maximum size of mount that can be entered in to the Salon of 20 x 16 inches. There is also a minimum size to allow for damage repair to a maximum sized mount. That is 19 x 15 inches. Mounts below the minimum size are liable to cause all sorts of damage to other print when the prints are being handled or boxed.
Print entries are delivered in a variety of packets and containers. Thankfully the majority use Nomad print boxes, or similar. Many arrive in plastic bags which afford no protection to the entrants valuable prints. Others are posted in between two sheets of cardboard box and then sealed with so much parcel tape that the unpacking team have a nightmare of a job finding a way in without damaging the contents.
So - when entering any exhibition - please have sympathy for the volunteers at the receiving end. They have given up their time to help, and their life would be made a lot easier if everybody used dedicated print boxes.