'Partnership' has become a buzz word in almost every sector, but there is very little common language or agreement on what 'partnership' means. For the purposes of this guide, partnership is defined as:

A mutually beneficial relationship, in which the partners agree on a common purpose, contribute in different but equal ways, and in which the risks and rewards are shared.

Partnerships bring more resources and expertise to projects, enable creative and innovative solutions to issues, develop the skills and capacity of both partners and expand the practices of the partners.

Generally, there are three models, or levels, of engagement for arts and education projects, they range from simple transactional partnerships to deep collaborative partnerships.

Delivery Model: An arts organisation tours its show Earthlings and workshop incursion program to a primary school. Supporting information includes a teachers kit with suggested curriculum links, classroom activities and extension tasks.

Tailoring Model: An arts organisation and school identify some great links between the show Earthlings and the school's curriculum unit on sustainability. The workshop program is tailored to have a sustainability focus.

Collaborative Model: An arts organisation and school identify that they are both interested in exploring the theme of Natural Forces. Together they design a creative process integrated into curriculum, which supports the creation of a performance in the community by artists, teachers and students.

Both the Delivery and Tailoring models can result in excellent outcomes for learning in and through the arts. The Collaborative model, however, offers diverse and flexible ways to engage, which can result in a much richer experience for all.

So what does collaborative practice look like?

People who collaborate effectively…

  • Bring an attitude of goodwill and give-and-take
  • Communicate freely, honestly and respectfully
  • Share their ideas and are willing to support the ideas of others
  • Are flexible in their approach
  • Take equal responsibility for the risks and rewards
  • Share the workload equitably
  • Acknowledge one another's expertise and efforts
  • Find ways to plan, deliver and reflect together as much as possible
I learned to step out of my comfort zone. I feel more relaxed at school now. I'm more positive than I used to be. The program has changed my life - I am a better person now.
-Feedback from four students, secondary project

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