This resources section provides information, resources and case studies to help you get the most out of your partnership.
The Primary School Projects and Secondary School Projects tabs contain case studies and video clips of successful partnership projects that have been supported by Creative Victoria's Creative Learning Partnerships program to help you gain insight into the experiences of teachers, creatives, students and school principals involved in collaborative arts and education partnerships.
Creative disciplines include theatre, drawing, literature, interactive installation, ephemeral art, ceramics, digital choreography, puppetry and circus. Group sizes ranged from 15 students to involvement from the whole school.
These resources have been designed to help your partnership be as productive as possible. Some ways you might like to use the materials include:
- Showing clips at a staff or parents' meeting to introduce the purpose and possible outcomes of your own project, or
- As a stimulus for discussion at a professional learning session.
- Using the 'Challenges & Strategies' worksheet to identify and mitigate risks with delivery.
10 tips for success
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’re not 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.
Ensure that all partners and participants feel ownership of the project. Find ways to work together.
Partnering may require you to give up attachment to preconceived ideas about how things will go.
Sit 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. Things will go wrong occasionally. Let yourselves have a laugh.
The leadership team of your school should not only be behind you, but in front, opening doors. Other staff, creatives, 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
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.
10 traps to avoid
Don't be discouraged by the pitfalls described below - if you are aware of the potential stumbling blocks then you are well on the way to avoiding them.
Young people are incredibly creative and capable. When teachers and creatives bring challenging content and support the students, participation and extraordinary work happens.
A project about hard-hitting personal stories may sound exciting to a theatre director, but if your partner teacher had more of a 'feel good' concept in mind, it's worth exploring why. It may be that the target participants have particular needs that will shape the project design.
Avoiding tricky conversations
If you avoid conversations with your partner artist or teacher that you find uncomfortable, it will probably come back to bite you. Easier to talk about 'hypothetical' potential issues and clarify things beforehand than clean up a mess once you're in it.
A whole-school project with 240 students all working toward a major performance at a festival may sound great. In reality, the experience may lack depth and cause too much stress. Smaller, in-depth projects can generate rich, targeted learning outcomes.
Doing it all yourself
Project coordinators are wonderful people. They can take on many tasks and challenges. How they do this successfully is by asking and trusting others to share these tasks with them.
Us and them
Some of the clichés about creatives and teachers will be true some of the time. If you set aside your assumptions, though, and build a respectful relationship most of those clichés will get blown out of the water.
Open-ended exploration, play, experimentation and participant-led work may be methods that some creatives use BUT a professional creative or a teacher should be able to explain in plain language what their process will be, and why. Being transparent with your partner may transform what may look for them like 'chaos' into meaningful learning opportunities.
Throwing them in the deep end
Perhaps the creative on your project has worked in a school before. Regardless it is important to take them on a tour, induct them into school procedures and rules and point out which cups not to use in the staff room! Don't leave them to work alone with students - it is a teacher's duty of care to be in the room.
Too busy to talk
Sometimes projects can build up a head of steam. With partners juggling multiple tasks it may seem like a low priority to make time to have a cuppa and reflect on how things are going. The opposite is true.
Too late to change
Your project may not work out the way you planned. It is good to remember that at any point in time you can meet, reassess and make changes to make the plan more viable if all involved are consulted.