The Touring Exhibitions Group is the national network for touring exhibitions in the UK. It is the membership body for people who are a professionally involved in any aspect of organising or touring of exhibitions in the public sector, so its members include staff in galleries, museums, libraries or art and science centres. These organisations can range from the largest national institutions to tiny charities staffed by volunteers – the essential qualification is that they are engaged in some way in exchanging exhibitions as a means of sharing ideas as well as resources.
Funded principally from subscriptions, TEG is an independent network answerable only to its membership. Members elect an executive committee each year to develop and implement policy, and policy is firmly based on the expressed needs of the sector, avoiding wherever possible the influence of external priorities or targets. TEG’s strength lies in the diversity of skills and resources of its members, and networking allows other members to tap these resources by developing useful links with professional organisations, suppliers or freelance services.
TEG helps its members to tour exhibitions as widely as possible (it does not organise or administer tours itself). This enabling role is achieved firstly through information exchange and secondly through professional development. Both activities use a mixture of direct contact and on-line resources.
As its main forum for exchange of information, TEG organises a ‘Marketplace’ each year in a different part of the UK, to bring exhibition providers and venues together in order to network and to negotiate bookings. To complement this event, TEG’s website includes an on-line database with details of exhibitions available to hire from the membership. There are currently more than 250 titles listed in the Exhibitions database. There is also a database of venues, which currently includes details of 70 exhibition spaces.
The other substantial plank in TEG’s platform, professional development, is underpinned by a set of standards to which all members are expected to subscribe when they join the Group. Its principal source of advice and information on any aspect of developing and touring of exhibitions is an on-line handbook. Face-to-face training and other opportunities for professional development are available through a seminar programme, as part of which TEG is .currently developing a basic course on the principles of touring.