Behind the scenes: Riposte Presents
From lively panel discussions to action heroine-inspired workout classes, the London-based alternative women’s magazine Riposte is no rookie when it comes to organising distinctive events.
And with a new monthly event series called Riposte Presents… launching tonight, founder Danielle Pender is hoping to keep the conversation going between print issues. We caught up with her to find out more about the events, and to quiz her on the panelists of her dreams.
Tell me about the new monthly event series you’re kicking off tonight.
Throughout 2016 we’ll be hosting a monthly series of events called Riposte Presents… The idea is to offer an inspiring experience, bringing people together to hang out, listen to interesting speakers, share ideas and have a laugh.
The format isn’t fixed; we’ll be hosting panel debates, in conversations, workshops, readings, and possibly dinners. For our first event in the series we’ve invited an expert panel to discuss the future of fashion looking at education, sustainability, support for young designers and how the industry can innovate.
What do you want to achieve with the events?
I want people to come, to be inspired, to be challenged, to get informed or pissed off enough that they go out and do something for themselves.
We’ve always said that Riposte’s aim is to profile brilliant women who have achieved amazing things and I feel like we’ve done that pretty consistently. We want to carry on with that aim, but I also want to look at bigger issues and it feels like hosting the monthly events are a great way to explore ideas, provoke debate and get the audience involved in the conversation.
I also think it’s really important to meet your readers, and really find out who they are and what they’re into, so you’re not just producing something that’s really self-indulgent.
How do you see events as part of the Riposte brand?
I think the events are key to what we want to offer our audience as we grow and develop as a ‘brand’. Reading a magazine is quite a solitary experience, so I like the idea of bringing people together, to share ideas and discuss issues face to face. I also like the immediacy of the events; you can be more reactive with the issues and topics than you can in a biannual magazine.
What are some of the events you’ve done in the past?
We’ve always hosted events around the launch of each issue. They’ve mostly been parties, which are always fun, but last summer for issue four we switched things up and did a series of events at the Ace hotel that all linked to the content of the issue. We had talks, panel debates, dinners, an action heroine-inspired workout class, and a summer party. They worked really well and it was a great opportunity to meet the readers, get feedback and bring some of the content to life.
Most recently, we curated and hosted an exhibition at KK Outlet of Beth Lesser’s photography. Beth spent 10 years documenting the dancehall scene in Jamaica in the 70s and 80s, and we featured some of her photographs in our latest issue so it was a great way to take the content out of the magazine.
What’s Riposte’s policy on brand partnerships, and how do you see that being translated into events?
We’ve worked with some really supportive brand partners such as Nike and Fred Perry who were up for us creating content for them. Some people are sniffy about brand partnerships in magazines and it really winds me up. Obviously you have to make sure it sits well within your pages, but if it’s handled properly and isn’t out of synch with your readership it can be a good thing.
We see the events as a great way to expand our brand relationships. Decent brands aren’t interested in standard double page spreads anymore. You can waste your time chasing that dream for months. I’d rather work with a smart brand who I personally like and create something bespoke for them. Making magazines costs a lot of money and it’s naïve and unrealistic to suggest that indie publishing can survive on the odd advert here and there. The attitude that it’s somehow dirty for indie mags working with brands isn’t helpful.
As long as they’re brands we personally like and use and that naturally fit with readers I’m more than happy to work together to create great events and showcase fascinating people and voices.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging with organising events?
Putting on the events programme is probably the easiest part of what we do and I genuinely love it so there aren’t that many challenges. Getting the right balance of speakers can be tricky but nothing too bad.
What would the event of your dreams look like? Who would be on the panel?
Oh so many! I would love to see Gloria Steinem in conversation with her old flatmate Barbara Nessim. I would love to get PJ Harvey on a panel with Savages, Siouxsie Sioux and Jenny Lee Lindberg. Or Bridget Riley talking to Anna and Grace of Patternity. The list is literally endless!
Photography by GT
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