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Archives After Dark Resource Guide

A guide for participants preparing for Archives After Dark


Your Creative Product

  • If you are doing a written piece, remember that you are expected to produce a creative product rather than a term paper. We are publishing fiction or creative nonfiction works.
  • Feel free to bring preliminary sketches, outlines, or drafts to the event. Do as much research and make as much progress on your product ahead of time as you want.
  • We understand that certain creative projects may take more time than others, but we will expect that each participant submits a polished and complete product by the end of the event using this Submission Form.

Crafting Your Author/Artist Statement

Common Elements of an Author/Artist Statement
Author/artist statements are a vital (and sometimes required) part of submitting work to galleries, shows, and/or for publication. While most often prompt and specific, they tend to address most, if not all, of the following elements (although not necessarily in this order): 

  • The inspiration for your work. Address how your artifact influenced your work; you may also decide what drew you to your artifact. Additionally, feel free to name artists, authors, musicians, works, movements, etc. that influence the individual work you created for AAD and/or your aesthetic or craft as appropriate.
  • The intended purpose and/or meaning. Sometimes an author/artist’s purpose and/or intended meaning is obvious from reading/observing/interacting with the work; other times it isn't. Regardless, briefly address the purpose and/or intended meaning of your work.
  • How people should react to your work. This seems a little counter-productive to creating art, but sometimes you need to explicitly state the reaction your work should invoke. 
  • How you address/present/drive your intended purpose and/or meaning. Sometimes your work will require you to explicitly detail how ideas are presented, addressed, and/or driven in or by your work. This could be as simple as saying "x symbolizes y,” or “in introducing x to y, I hope my audience develops an understanding of z.” However simple or detailed your explanation is, it is important to include it.


General Tips for Writing an Author/Artist Statement

  • Avoid “you” and “I” statements. Address your work from your perspective rather than your audience’s perspective--this allows your audience to respond to the work in their own respective ways. However, avoid statements such as “I think, I feel, I believe.” Instead, make statements about the work itself. For example, “this work expresses my _____.” 
  • Be specific. The point of an author/artist statement is to answer audience questions in the absence of the author/artist; as such, it should be specific enough to speak for itself.
  • Likewise, never leave the audience wondering. “Well, why did you make this?" is perhaps the most common audience question. Answer it in your author/artist statement so you don't have to answer it later--you rarely get the chance anyway. 
  • Don't get overly technical. More often than not, your primary audience will not be composed of fellow author/artists--the majority will be members of the general public. As such, they may or may not understand your author/artist statement and, by extension, your work if you include too much technical language. Keep it simple. 
  • Keep it short. Outside of addressing the influence of your artifact, only include the background story for the work if it is particularly relevant or very short. Avoid obscure references that require extensive explanation for the average audience.
  • There is no need to introduce yourself or explicitly name your work. Biographical and descriptive information about you and your work will be included in the heading:
    • title of the work (or brief description if untitled)
    • author/artist name, major, and class standing
    • material and dimensions (usually inches and centimeters)