Fuelling ‘The Necessary Revolution’

Supporting best practice in collaborative working amongst creative practitioners and organisations – a guide for public and private funders

Clare Cooper

October 2010, 74 pages. Mission Models Money, c/o ICCE Goldsmiths, New Cross, London SE14 6NW, www.missionmodelsmoney.org.uk

This guide, produced by the UK-based organization Mission Models Money (MMM) focuses on collaboration, and the increasingly important role that collaborative working is playing and will need to play in enabling creative practitioners and organizations to ‘rise to the occasion’ and fulfill their potential of becoming one of the driving forces of our future post-industrial, ecologically literate age. If innovations are created from new connections in our minds, then a greater number of successful collaborations in the arts will help fertilize those new connections and enable alternative ways of seeing and being, leading to the co-creation8 of a different kind of growth, the kind that will increase the cultural and creative vitality of our communities…

The extensive literature that exists on the practice of collaboration in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors tends to reflect on three recurring themes. Firstly, good collaboration is hard and when it works it amplifies strength, but poor collaboration is worse than no collaboration at all. Secondly, good collaboration often requires competencies, qualities and attributes (CQAs) that are not commonly observed in many executive leaders, (although they may be nascent rather than absent), but without these, they will not learn how to develop the systemic thinking they need to tackle the increasingly complex problems they face. Thirdly, knowing how to evaluate opportunities for collaboration, spot the barriers to collaboration and tailor collaboration solutions are prerequisites for building the capacity for resilience.

Against this backdrop, the 2008-2010 pilot schemes—which formed the fourth phase of MMM’s work that is covered in this report—included a set of collaborative working pilots, through which the insights gleaned from its earlier research findings could be further explored. Armed with varying degrees of experience in collaborative working, six groups of arts and cultural organizations in Scotland and the North East of England embarked on a two-year journey with MMM. Their joint destination was to reach a point where they could tell six different stories of successful collaboration, to give route-maps and courage to other creative practitioners and organizations and offer reflections and guidance to public and private funders in order to encourage them to invest more widely in collaborative working practices.

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