There is no single formula for success, but both anecdotal experience from previous projects as well as research have shown that there are actions and behaviours which will help you to achieve your goals.
- Communicate openly and often. Build frequent face to face meeting time into your plan. Be honest. Listen to your partner and share your ideas, concerns, feedback, plans and thoughts with them.
- Have an inspiring project concept. If you aren't excited, challenged and genuinely interested in what you are hoping to explore, how do you expect your participants to be?
- Connect your project. Integrate it into your arts company's core program, your professional practice and your school's curriculum. If it's an add-on, it will either be a burden or insignificant.
- Share leadership. Ensure that all partners and participants feel ownership of the project. Find ways to work together as much as possible.
- Be flexible. Partnering may require you to give up attachment to preconceived ideas about how things will go.
- Plan. Sit (yes sit, not just email or telephone) with your partner and discuss and record ideas for all aspects of your project. The plan may change, but at least if you have a plan you can contribute ideas to it and identify potential problems.
- Keep a sense of humour. You are only human and it is only a project. You aren't solving world hunger (or maybe you are!). Things will go wrong occasionally. Let yourselves have a laugh.
- Enlist support. The leadership team of your school or organisation should not only be behind you, but in front opening doors for you. Other staff, artists, parents or community members can contribute and support if they are in the loop.
- Don't keep your project a secret. You are taking on something exciting, valuable and challenging so share with as many people as you can.
- Look for opportunities along the way. Some students might like to document a project. A local business may see a great way to get involved. Your project could lead to students mentoring other students or to increase parent involvement. Keep one eye on what is possible and follow natural leads.
It really let me express my imagination in a way that I understand. I have learnt to open all senses and articulate my thoughts…
- Danielle, student