Play by Play: Anne Hofstra

How to Organise the Penny for your Thoughts project

Open Call/ Publications/ Presentations

Penny for your Thoughts started in 2021 as a way to give some extra financial help to artists. We asked artists to write a project proposal through an Open Call and if we liked it we would publish it and pay the artist 500 euro's for publication.

To give some more attention to the published proposals, we also asked some of the artists to present their work in the sluisdeurenloods.

This means the Penny for Your Thoughts project has three different stages: Open Call/ Publications/ Presentations


Morphology of Sprout Leaves detail1 - Form der Keimblätter ca. 1850 German lithograph ca 1850 courtesy Wellcome Collection Publication: M. Formerg, Blattformen Tafel 1 : Lithographie, druck u. verlag von C. C. Meinhold & Sōhne, Dresden c. 1850 Lettering transcription: Form der keimblätter. Bohne - Vicia faba, Eiche - Quercus sessiliflora, Hafer - Avena sativa,  Reference: Wellcome Library no. 28434i

1. The Open Call

The Open Call explains the project and asks artists to send in a proposal. To help the artists structure their proposals, they can only send in their proposals through a google form

The google form consists of these elements:

  1. [work]Title of the Project
  2. A brief summary of the project (max. 140 words)
  3. Names and links to the website or Instagram of everyone working on the project.
  4. Description of the project. What do you want to do and why?
  5. How does your project connect to the Mediamatic plan? Provide a brief explanation.
  6. How long do you need to carry out the project?
  7. Visual material (make sure you only use imagery that you have the rights to and include proper credits. If it's a picture that falls under creative common rights you can also use it, please include a link to the owner and the link where you found the picture)
  8. How much should your project cost? Give a brief explanation.
  9. Possibly: how could you expand your project even further?
  10. Contact info like email address and telephone number.

Make sure the people who send in their proposals are put in stager in a subgroup that's called 'penny for your thoughts [year]'.

When they sent in their proposal, people should get an automated mail that informs them when they will hear back from us.


Running up to the Open Call Deadline:

The Open Call needs to be open for about two months. Make sure you mention the deadline in the title of the webpage, so people are aware of the deadline. Make sure the communication team has all the info when you start the Open Call.

1 week after the Deadline:

Make sure you plan in enough time to read the proposals and you plan a meeting to pick proposals to publish in the calendars of everyone in the team involved in this process. Preferably, you do this within 1 week after the deadline. To make this process easier, you can make a google form. Add all the names of the people that have sent in a proposal ass questions to the form. Make all the question multiple choice: Yes/Yes: Publication & Developing. Yes/No: Publication but not developing. Neutral: I don't know. No: No publication and no developing. Make sure people can also write some notes in the form, and ask people to shortly explain their choice. Send this form, along with a PDF containing all the proposals, to all the people involved in making this decision. 

Add all the participants to stager (check if they don't already have an account) with all their contact information (full name, email adress, telephone numer etc). Make sure you check the the Penny for your Thoughts 'contact type' box, this way you can easily send emails to all the participants at once (through stager). 

2 weeks after the Deadline:

Make sure you have picked the proposals you want to publish two weeks after the deadline. This day, you want to send out an email to everyone:

To the ones you haven't picked: thank them and offer them a Mediamatic Bon.

To the ones you have picked for publication: thank them and explain the next steps. More about this in the next chapter. (is it a chapter? I mean under the title 'The Publication')

The ones you have picked to have a conversation about developing the project: plan a meeting with them and Jans & Willem. Make sure you don't plan everyone at the same time, it's okay to spread it over a few weeks.

4 weeks after the Deadline: publication


2. The Publication

To honor the rich past of the website as an interactive platform. We are giving the artists the possibility to edit their publications on our website. 

Uploading a profile

How to make accounts on the website

To avoid making double accounts it's good to first search the names of the publishing participants on the mediamatic website. If they already have an account go to the admin page and check if the information on their is right.               

After you checked the website for double accounts you can now go to the admin page. When you're there you can go to the orange bar at the top of your screen and press 'Auth' and then 'users'. You should again look for already existing accounts before making new ones by looking up the names in the search bar. 

If they don't have an account you can make a new one by pressing the orange 'make a new user' button. You can now fill in their first name, last name, email address. As username you can put their first and surname without capitals. Fill in a random password and make sure the box 'send welcome email' is not ticked. You can now press 'add user'. 

You want to make sure the person you added can only access their own article and profile. You can do that by searching the person in the admin website, press their name, go to access control, add them to the penny for your thoughts content group and press save. You now successfully added a person to the Mediamatic website!

The articles

How to add the articles to the website

First you have to make sure you're logged into the mediamatic website and on the penny for your thoughts project page. You now click on your name in the bar at the top of the webiste then click  '+ Article', this way you add the article on the page that you're on and it doesn't get lost in the website. 

The title of the article should be the title of the project that's on the proposal sheet. Press add and you're now on the editting page of the article, press save again and go to the admin page of the article. When you're there you want to make sure the article is unpublished so untick the published box. Now change the category to project and the content group to default content group. When you scroll down a bit you see 'author' it probably says you are the author but it should be the person who wrote the proposal so add them as an author and delete yourself. 

In the 'introduction' part of the article you want to add the summary of the project (you're only gonna copy paste from their proposals because they will do some editting themselves later on). In content you're gonna add: Project description, Possible ways to expand the project, personal introduction, estimated costs if the part 'how does this project fit into Mediamatic' part has a lot of import information in it try to rephrase it without it being connected to Mediamatic. Add the pictures to the article that are also on the proposal. Now press 'save and view'. You can now see the article as it will be seen on the website, press edit and add at least 5 keywords and 2 tags (never make new tags look for tags that are already there) to the article so it connects to similair pages on the webiste. Now save again.

You're now again on the article page. Now you want to make sure all pictures are uploaded and credited correclty, you can press on a picture to go to the page of an image. Click here to see how to credit the images correctly. Creditting takes a lot of time so maybe ask somebody to help you.

Do the same for all the other proposals so they all look the same! I'ts now time to let the participants know how to log into their account and how to edit their proposals. 

Here's the email we send last edition:

Dear {{first_name}},

Thank you for your proposal, hereby we want to send you some practical information on how to edit your article on our website.
We uploaded the article as you send it to us on our website. We want to invite you to revise or edit it before it’s visible on our website. The article will be visible under your name. The article will be published on the 1st of May, so be sure to revise it before then. The pictures you submitted with your proposal will be uploaded by us in the coming week.

We have a few tips for making the article:
Structure your article into small chapters with titles. We asked you specific questions in the application. This can help you to structure your article. This can be for example something like this (but you are free and stimulated to structure it however you want) [1. Intro/ 2. [Name of the Project] / 3. Time and Money/ 4. Extra Thoughts / 5. The Artist(s)]
Think of the target group - make the article easy to read for our public. This means you might want to change the tone of voice from application to article.
Make sure all the elements that we asked for are inside the article. Don’t forget to include budget and planning. (These are all the elements of a project proposal: Project Title/Overview of the people involved with links to websites or instagram./A summary of the project of max. 100 words./A project description (What do you want to do and why?)/Imagery of the project - drawings, pictures and or videos./A global planning (How long do you approximately need for the project?)/Budget (How much money would you approximately need for the project?)/Optional: Possible ways to expand the project (if you can dream, what else would become part of the project?)

We won’t be able to give feedback on the article.

How to log into your account: Go to the Mediamatic website and click on the ‘log in’ button in the right corner. You can now put in the email address you used on the application sheet. If you press ‘forgot your password?’ you will get an email and you can make a new password.

How to edit your article: your article isn’t published yet which means you need the direct link to view your article. You'll only be able to see the article when you're logged in. ADD THE DIRECT LINK TO THEIR ARTICLE
If you press the edit button right under the title you can begin editing your article. You can leave the information on the right (keyword, author, actor, location) as it is. If you scroll you can see your title, subtitle, introduction, body, and the attached media. You don’t have to add anything in ‘Geodata’ and ‘Location’. Now you can edit your text.
] If you scroll all the way down you can see the attached pictures. You can drag the pictures to change the order they appear.
Make sure you press ‘save’ in the right corner before you exit your article.

We would like to ask you to upload a small introduction (100 words) and a picture to your profile. You can do that by clicking on your name in the menu of our website once you’re logged in. (This appears in the upper right corner). If you click on your name you will be sent to a page that is still empty. Then press edit and you can begin editing your profile.
We want to ask you to put the first sentence of your bio in the introduction. The rest can be put in the text. You can add a picture of yourself by clicking ‘add media’. The picture will automatically become your avatar. Make sure you press ‘save’ in the right corner before you exit your profile.

We’re happy to have your proposal published on our website.
For your fee, you can send an invoice of 500 euros excl. BTW to:

Warm wishes,

Just an example of an email you can send. Before the publishing you should definitely check if: all the credits are alright (also on their profile picture), if they uploaded a bio and profile picture, If all the proposals look the same in the grid of the penny for your thoughts project page. 

Make sure to communicate the publishing deadline, all the information about their accounts, editing their article and updating their own profile.  

3. The Presentation 


Penny for your Thoughts Presentation Nights

As a follow-up to the publication of the project proposals you can curate a series of presentation evenings where you give the floor to some of the participating artists to present their ideas to a wider audience. The format of the presentation can be more informal as well as include interactive elements, like a tasting, a smelling etc. The goal of these evenings is to merely present the ideas and celebrate the (sometimes unfinished) creative and artistic process and it is not linked to the realization of any of the projects here at Mediamatic. It is an autonomous event series and not related to what projects Mediamatic will eventually choose to pick up on. This should be made very clear to the artists you will contact upon planning so that there is no miscommunication.

Curating a series of presentation evenings

Every presentation series consists of 3 (or possibly even more) presentation evenings. Each evening should entail 3 different presentations about 25-30 minutes long each, including a discussion round/panel. The events can be spread out; one every 3 weeks/1month.The selection of the speakers and content should be based on a curatorial decision: a common theme/area of interest, different perspectives on a common subject etc. Keep it interesting and engaging! It should be an evening that personally excites you as well, something you can be proud of organizing. Take the 1st edition of the Penny for your Thoughts presentation night (summer 2022) as a curatorial example. Along with the selection of the speakers, you also need a moderator, someone who is familiar with the topics presented and can create discussions, ask the right questions so as to create an interesting conversation. 

Contacting potential speakers

The first step is to go through all the published proposals and select the ones you think can make an engaging, fun and interesting presentation. Maybe you like some of them as ideas but you did not like the writing? This should not discourage you since many artists may be not so clear in writing but may be very good speakers for instance. Same goes for some proposals that may not necessarily excite you a lot, maybe the artist is very interesting to talk with. So follow your instinct and keep an open mind. After you have made a list with the proposals you like the most for the curation of at least 3 evenings, since you have to plan ahead for the whole series, you should contact the artists by phone. Always have more than the minimum of 9 potential participants since many people might be unavailable or it may not work out for other reasons. So always have backups! It is very important to contact them by phone since you need to hear them talk about their project and this will give you an idea of whether they would be a good fit for one of the evenings. Chat to them about their work, ask them some questions, how they would imagine a presentation of their proposal to be like, for instance, and finally ask them if they would be potentially interested. Again, make sure not to promise anything. This is only a first contact. You can give them some information about the context of the presentation evenings and goal thereof. Make sure to emphasize early on that this is unrelated to the realization of their project. It is a good idea to also take some availability notes to make your job of planning the evening easier but this could create problems if some people assume they will be certainly presenting. So if you choose to ask for availability, be careful on how you phrase it. 

After you discuss all possibilities with your colleagues and make a couple of proposals, you should end up with three complete programs. Mind you that this should already be done 2 months before the first presentation night. 

After the decision has been made, contact everyone who will be participating either by phone or by email and confirm dates with them. Make sure to give them information on the theme of the evening, who the other presenters are, where and what time it will be hosted etc. Also mention to them the 150€ honorarium. And this is a great moment to also talk about the content of their presentation more extensively. See if they already have a nice conceptualization, see if what they want to do is feasible production wise, see if it fits with what you want the evening to look like at the end. The presentation and ideas come from the artists so they have creative freedom but as the producers, we can also provide input when necessary. If you also have an idea you could suggest something but make sure it is realistic. And make sure to ask for a clear list of their production needs, do they need a beamer or a sound system? Is there a tasting involved? Any other interactive element? Any lighting preferences? The sooner you obtain this information the easier the production of the event will be. 


Put all the events on the Stager event calendar as soon as possible. Even if the dates aren't fixed yet, put the event under "Option" or "To be confirmed". This will ensure that the rooms you want to use will be available. As an example of what the event should look like on Stager, check out the first PFYT presentation night here: Tickets must be on sale 3 weeks before the first event at the latest! You can have around 50 tickets on sale. You can also already schedule an event manager and event assistant(s). 

3 weeks before the event


All the event pages should be published on the website 3 weeks before the actual event, at the latest. Make sure there are nicely-written event texts that give context, present the artists and describe what will take place, accompanied with some pictures as well. You can use the images from the project proposals The event pages are made in collaboration with the communication team. 


Make sure you have enough people scheduled. You need:

- event manager

- event assistant 1 (general tasks, preparing the space)

- event assistant 2 (ticketing)

- event assistant 3 (AV)

If there is a tasting or other interactive element you will need more people to help with preparation and distribution so ask around who would be available. 

- a photographer, it can be either the current photography intern or an eternal photographer. 

2 weeks before the event

Prepare a production timeline for the day of the event. Include all the tasks that need to be completed along with a realistic time frame and task division. You should also prepare the script of the evening, which includes who presents at what order, what happens in each segment (also AV wise), when the break is etc. Another helpful task is to prepare some possible questions for the moderator. 

You should also send an email to the speakers with some reminders and practical information. Always ask them to get there a little earlier so that they can have dinner and do a sound + light check. You can also inform them they can bring some guests for free so ask them to send you the names so that you put them on the stager guestlist. You can use this email that was previously sent as an example:


Dear all,

The next Penny for your Thoughts presentation night is getting closer and we are very excited to be hosting this event! Below you can find some useful information and tips as well as a list of things we need to know from you so that we plan this as smoothly as possible.

Here is a link to the event page where you can read more about your fellow presenters and what they’ll do:

Production needs

Please let us know if you have any specific production needs like audiovisual equipment (beamer, sound, etc.), or if there is an interactive element (e.g. distributing something to the audience) so that we can prepare for it.

If you are planning to show a presentation in the form of slides, please use as little as possible and refrain from using too much text –or text at all– and opt for visuals instead.

If there are slides you need to send them to by Monday the 15th of August at the latest.

Another important thing is that you send us an outline with exactly what you are planning to do during your presentation. Reminder: you have around 25 minutes. If you have any props or things that you want to give to the audience or display on stage we also need to know. So feel free to be as detailed as possible. We are happy to help with all production requests as best as we can so the sooner we know the better!

Presentation Coach

To guide the presentation, we have a presentation coach (a professional playwright) that can help you structure your presentation and give some tips. The coach is available in real life or online on Monday the 8th, Tuesday the 9th, and Wednesday the 10th of August. Your presentation doesn't need to be finished. In our experience, it is very helpful to talk to someone that can direct your presence, storyline, and mise-en-scene. (Of course, she will only give advice, it's up to you what you do with it). Please let us know by Friday the 5th if and when you're available and whether you would prefer to do it in person or online so that we can plan in a short session.

Timeline for the day of the event (Thursday, August 18th)

Please join us at 18:00 to enjoy some vegan dinner provided by us and let us know if you have any food allergies. After that, there will be a brief walkthrough and some technical checks before doors open.

How to get to Mediamatic

The Mediamatic address is: Dijksgracht 6, 1019 BS, Amsterdam

You can read further instructions on how to get there here: 


We will be hosting the event at the Sluisdeurenloods (Barn). You can see pictures of the space here


If you would like to bring some people (for free), please let us know by Wednesday the 17th so that we put them on the guest list. You can send their names to us at You can bring up to 6 people.


 You can send an invoice of 150€ to

For any other questions, feel free to reach out!


Team Mediamatic


The week of the event 


This is a crucial week to make sure everything is in check.


You will need to have a small AV check with the event manager and the assistant who will be responsible for the AV. This takes place at the space of the event which usually is the Barn. Check the relevant knowledge pages for more in-depth AV information about each space.


Along with each ticket, guests can get one free drink from the bar so the bar staff should be informed. Have a check-in with the restaurant manager to let them know about the event. At the day of the event, you should have the token box at the ticketing station, where the ticketing assistant hands one token out per guest. The artists get 4 tokens each and the event assistants get 2 tokens each. 


Add the artists' guests on the guest list on Stager. Also send an email to Team asking who would like to join so that you also add them. 

The day of the event

Here is a brief list of everything that has to be done on the day of the event These are all things you need to include on your production checklist mentioned above with time indicators. 

- Space: clean up and set up space. You can make a mockup of the space arrangement on google paint if you want 

- Ticketing: set up ticketing station at the entrance (iPad, tokens)

- AV: set up the beamer, connect microphones, connect sound (if needed), make sure there's extension cords, laptop charger, clicker


-Staff dinner: either check in with restaurant if they can spare some extra plates for the staff working that day and the artists or order takeout. It is generally better to have the dinner around 18:00.

-Sound and light check with the artists: you can do this after the dinner. Also give the speakers some presentation tips, where to stand lighting-wise etc. 


Clean up the space. Everything has to be put away. All tables must be put back to where they came from, all dirty glasses at the bar etc. Be especially mindful of the electronic devices.  

A couple of days later, send a thank you follow up email to the artists.