What Makes a Successful Collaborative Project
I really enjoy working with other artists, designers and craftspeople (lets just call them creative people) because I think that projects can develop much more fluidly and fluently. Creative people tend to test the boundaries, discuss their ideas and take risks but the structure of a project helps with focus and direction.
Whilst a project can have a facilitator or ‘leader’ I believe that in collaborative partnerships or groups that the outcomes can often be quite different to the original intention depending on how much control the person who instigated the project applies.
Slow TV and the HTML Patchwork were fantastic arts projects because of the range of people who participated and the art outcome being so impressive but the amount or work the project facilitator took on is not to be underestimated. Having tried (and failed) to organise a group exhibition for artist-teachers in the past I think it takes a special kind of person.
Successful projects appear to have the following in common:
An organisation to support the project from the outset e.g. Waygood and Access Space
A realistic timescale both projects took a considerable time from inception to completion
A sense of shared ownership and freedom… allowing participants to get something out of it.
I really like the concept behind Ben Jone’s curatorial project ‘Don’t Let the Media Have the Monopoly on the Freedom of Speech’ but unfortunately couldn’t attend the real life meeting of other interested parties. I have also been looking at Mark A Jame’s ‘Itinerant Toolkit’ exhibition at the Reg Vardy Gallery. Two current MA Curating students whose final projects both appear to centre on participation and collaboration around a key concept.
My Itinerant Toolkit
The Itinerant toolkit is for artists who need to travel as part of their work… it isn’t itinerant in the sense of a kit for a homeless person, or at least that’s how I understand it.
Passport/ID; debit card and cash (preferably a ready endless supply); Rucksack; Seasonally appropriate clothing; Mobile; Watch; Mouth splint (bruxism is a real headache) toothpaste and toothbrush; Deodorant; skeleton key no don’t want to be arrested for Trespassing/Breaking and Entering; Drawing kit- Notebook, HB Pencil, eraser and sharpener; Digital camera, laptop and all that electronic bumph (including of course a USB stick).
One ‘going-out’ outfit for previews, parties and networking!
Maybe my toolkit is a bit obvious but then again its what you do with the experience of a new place, people and opportunities as an artist.
Oh and just a wee bit more… on institutions.
Collaborative projects are now also organised through large institutions using new opportunities presented by Web 2.0 e.g. ‘Street or Studio’ at Tate and a curating project ‘Click’ with Brooklyn Musuem.
Whilst I found both projects engaging I guess I found ‘Street or Studio’ more rewarding as it engaged me with making as well as seeing and evaluating. However ‘Click’ was fantastic as a method of encouraging viewers to be active participants rather than passive observers and it also encouraged new audiences to become involved with the institution- there is probably very little chance of me ever getting to Brooklyn Museum but now that I have has a chance to take part in curating a show I am interested in what else might be happening in the future.