Manc of the Month: Get It Done

We are all about the firsts recently. Last month’s Manc of the Month was our first curator, now we have our first event organisers! Say hello to everyone at Get It Done!

We were first introduced to the Get It Done gang back in 2018 when we reviewed ‘Please Press Pause and Try Again Later’, a night of art, performance, music and drinks. We loved it! It was the right mix of a night out based around art. From then on we have been following these guys, keeping an eye on what they are doing next, and they haven’t disappointed! Driven, creative, and with a lot to say about the student life and making things happen, we are super happy to have Get It Done as our July’s Manc of the Month!

Cotton On MCR: What is Get It Done?

Get It Done: ‘Get It Done is an arts collective and community organisation who’ve been running creative events and programmes in Manchester since 2017. As a collective, we provide platforms for young creatives, make the arts accessible to wider audiences, encourage creativity and dialogue and work with overlooked groups sparking social change.’

Get It Done

CO: Who are you guys? What do you each do for Get It Done?

G-I-D: ‘So Get It Done is made up of five people; Mimi Dearing, Georgina Fox, Ruby Kerr, Millie Ellerby-Sansom and Ben Prideaux. It was founded by Mimi, Georgina and Ruby back in 2017, as a sort of punky DIY protest against the Manchester art scene. We all have different roles in the collective, Mimi is the director and head honcho, Georgina is in charge of communications and events, Millie does a lot of our promotion and marketing, Ruby is our resident creative ideas girl and workshop facilitator and Ben is in charge of digital outputs.’

CO: You recently organised ‘The Student House Stories’ alongside Shelter at The Whitworth Art Gallery – tell us more about that event.

G-I-D: ‘Back in March this year, we were awarded a commission from The Whitworth to respond to their exhibition ‘Joy For Ever’, and the work by art critic and social reformer John Ruskin. We’d been working with Shelter at that time as well, and they asked us to lead a campaign on student housing issues and so we thought what a great idea it’d be to combine the two opportunities! From March until June we worked directly in student households running ‘creative summits’, fun and interactive workshops asking students to reflect on what utopia can mean to them and suggest the creative ways in which we can solve the student housing crisis (namely by using fairy lights…). The project culminated in a takeover event of The Whitworth Art Gallery in June, where we had an exhibition of all the artwork, stories and student voices of the project, alongside a creative workspace of activities and an exciting panel discussion. We invited Shelter, creative enterprise Love For The Streets, housing union ACORN and Student Wellbeing officers from Manchester Metropolitan University to speak about the issues the student community face and the creative ways we can start to build action. The whole project was amazing experience for us; it was so well received and really great to work with such an engaged group of young people.’

‘Please Press Pause…’ Photo by Alex Gray

CO: We first met you guys at ‘Please Press Pause and Try Again Later’ at Antwerp Mansion – how did you think that event went?

G-I-D: ‘Ah Antwerp Mansion. We had a really great time running ‘Please Press Pause’ back in October last year! The night was a festival of arts, with a downstairs filled with paintings, films, sculptures and immersive installations, and a programme of performance, workshops, comedy, spoken word and music upstairs. Everybody seemed to really enjoy themselves. It was a good experiment into the power of music in relaxing the intimidating nature of an exhibition, all set to the tunes of our DJ pals Modern Logic. And we were honoured to be joined by so many very talented artists, musicians and creatives; it’s been great to see what they’ve got up to afterwards.’

‘Please Press Pause…’ Video by Sam Guy and Barney Wilson

CO: So how can people get involved?

G-I-D: ‘Loads of ways! We’re all about providing opportunities for young people, we’re always looking for people to collaborate and work with and we really, really encourage people to drop us a message if you have an idea! We always make time to meet up and talk face-to-face with anyone who messages us, and feel that our skills work in making ideas into a reality. Also, if you don’t have any ideas but just want to get involved, drop us a message too! We’re always on the hunt for help, and previous people we’ve worked with have said how valuable getting involved with us has been. If you are interested, then all of our contact details, call outs and opportunities are on our website or social media. [links below]

‘The Greenhouse’ Photo by Sam O’Leary

CO: What advice would you give to other recent graduates?

G-I-D: ‘We suppose it’d just be to get out there and put your neck on the line more often. Be ambitious and confident with your work, and live by our motto ‘If you want to do something, do it’. So we’re doing it.

CO: Agreed! With that in mind, what do you think of Manchester’s art scene and what do you think it needs more of?

G-I-D: ‘It needs more accessible doing. For us it’s really important that in art education (and that doesn’t just mean kids) there’s a really active sense of making and doing. We’ve always advocated for people to Get It Done (ha ha – a pun that haunts us daily…) and like we said before, to be confident and do the things you want to do!’

‘And when we say accessible doing; this means spaces where everybody feels comfortable not just the ‘arty’ people. To produce a better, healthier and creative society we had to engage different communities in the arts, and so that’s what we try to do. To see more spaces in Manchester striving for the same thing would be great.’

‘SoapBox’ Photo by Alice Goad

CO: What has been the proudest moment of the business so far?

G-I-D: ‘I mean… that gleaming pint after every event we do is a pretty proud moment. But without sounding like a total cliche; it’s crazy to think back to that first very DIY exhibition we did, and how far we’ve come since then. We remember when it was a time where we had an Instagram account with only three followers, Mimi, Georgina and Ruby, and now we’re a recognised collective working with incredible organisations with an enthusiastic following. It’s really exciting to be responsible for making a difference in the Manchester art scene.’

CO: What challenges have you faced in setting up Get It Done?

G-I-D: ‘People taking us seriously. Not only are we a majority female collective, but because we’re all young people as well, we have a really hard time getting organisations to take us seriously as an organisation. We’ve had people underestimate our level of professionalism and then get the whole ‘Oh wow, I wasn’t expecting this’ comments.’

‘Another issue that comes with being young and setting up your own organisation is the lack of support or advice. We’re doing all of this totally off our own backs, which is something to be really proud of, but no one’s around to tell you how to register your business or do your taxes and budgets. [CO: Tell me about it!] It’d be great to see institutions providing more support for young people on this (something we’re actually looking into providing in the future!).’

‘And don’t get us started on funding…’

‘The Student House Stories’ Photo by Get It Done

CO: What’s next for you guys?

G-I-D: ‘Now we’ve graduated we have a bit more time to dedicate ourselves to our long-term goals. As a collective, we’re hoping to one day own a space in Manchester to be able to start running programmes for young people, with paid opportunities and support. Seems pretty utopic but to be honest, paid work for young people shouldn’t be utopia… and more organisations should be aiming for this.’

‘Short term though, we’ve got a few things in the pipeline coming up, including another project with The Whitworth and carrying on our Student Housing Stories. We’re about to get our teeth stuck into something else but it’s a bit under wraps for the moment! So we suppose… you’ll just have to keep up to date with what we’re up to! This is where we do a shameless Instagram plug (@getitdone_art by the way).

CO: Nicely done! And if you could live in any painting/artwork, which would it be?

G-I-D: ‘We’re all a fan of a good installation (and saw their exhibition in the Tate Modern last year) so maybe Ilya and Emilia Kabakov’s ‘The Palace of Projects’. The Palace of Projects was this incredible installation/space of innovative and everyday projects, all housed in this utopian, shell-like wonder of architecture. Not only would it be this creative and academic powerhouse to live in… but it also just looks like a lot of fun.

Head to Get It Done’s website to find out more about what they are up to!

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