FIN:1. Different types of interviews
Studio visits have been one of the most popular ways of interviewing the alumni. Many of the artist/designer who are still active have preferred to arrange a meeting at their studio. Their work space is normally where they archive their work, which makes it easier to understand the process behind their profession.
Through our experience we found this approach very rewarding. Not only does it make the meeting more intimate but it also benefits the editorial team in terms of inspiration and knowledge that is useful for their own career.
Brunch/lunch/dinner by the editorial team
Inviting the alumni for a meal gives the editorial team a more active approach towards the meeting. This gives the interviewers more control over the situation deciding on a location, the time of the interview, the type of food etc. All these factors will definitely affect the result of the interview, it can emphasise certain topics more than others and it can give space for unexpected conversations. This is a great solution when you feel like taking full control over the situation…and as they always say, food is the best way to share moments with people!
The downside of this approach is the fact that the editorial team has to deal with buying food or drinks, so it runs on personal budget! However, with a bit of creativity and motivation an economical lunch or dinner is never hard to obtain.
If your intention is to step out of the expected behaviour a silent interview is definitely something to try out. This experimental approach will allow you to put the alumni in a unexpected situation which was not previously informed. The interesting outcome of this type of interview is the reaction of the alumni. By tying to cross the boundaries of tradition you can encounter very funny results or on the other hand quite unfortunate reactions…but you know, no risk no fun!
Who doesn’t enjoy visiting museums? Most of the alumni,wether they are still active artists or designers or not will probably love a visit to a museum! We all come from art school and the passion for creativity probably remains all the way! This is a perfect chance to focus the interview on current art or design issues or maybe on a more historical view. Either way the result can be some extremely interesting content of exchange of opinions and knowledge related to the art world.
The downsides of this approach are the museum tickets, not so cheap normally, unless you have a museum card and finding a time and date that suite both the editorial team and the alumni, normally going to a museum takes a minimum of two hours.
Skype conversations are not the ideal way of initiating a dialogue with someone but in some cases it’s the only solution. This approach is very suitable for interviews with alumni that have left the country and live elsewhere or for situations when a physical meeting is not possible due to differences in schedules.
The good point of this approach is that it’s very time effective as it can be done from anywhere where a computer is available but on the other hand the interview will probably stay at a more formal level affecting the final content.
Through are experimentation on new forms of interviewing we tried out a switch of roles. This particular method is a great way of breaking the ice. It allows the interviewee to take the leading role and by asking questions of his/her interest the sharing of information flows on both directions.
This approach makes the meeting less formal and serious allowing more personal topics to emerge. This can be interesting when the editorial team is trying to generate content that isn’t only related to the actual profession of the artist or designer.
The benefits of this approach are that it can be combined with almost any other method of interviewing, adding another layer to structure of the interview.
We tried this out when we visited the studio of Nonstopcollective and it lead to some interesting facts about our taste on music and our favourite places to go out which lead us to find similar interests between us.
The confrontation method is something we still haven’t tried out, however we believe it’s full of possibilities. Meeting up with two alumni at the same time can benefit the interview by making it more dynamic. The alumni that you choose to interview simultaneously can have very different approaches to their profession. This would create an interesting dialogue about the differences in their work and the reasons for their particular approach. Depending on who you are interviewing, this can also lead to certain confrontations which can also be interesting. But remember, if this is where you want to take the interview you must keep in mind the downsides and know how to re-direct the conversation if something goes wrong.
A visual interview is a creative approach when trying to create a dialogue. Communication occurs in many forms that don’t have to include write or spoken language. By exchanging visual material one can reach unexpected results which can also conclude on beautiful pieces. This approach can be an option when a physical meeting is not possible due to differences on schedules or when the alumni lives in a different country.