Friday Morning Coffee: Collaboration

18 01 2013

photo credit: LotusHead (sxc)

I must admit: I am exhausted. What is it about January? It’s the second week back to work after the holidays and everyone seems to be on a fast train—so much to do, so many meetings and commitments! What happened to that languorous holiday feeling? It’s gone as quickly as specialty holiday lattes.

So, here at ArtBridges, we’re at the proverbial and literal “drawing board.” We’re working on developing our new website and it’s all about collaboration. With so many decisions to make and so many perspectives to be heard, there’s bound to be some creative head-butting. However, within all the intensity, some incredible ideas do come forth—thanks to the professional input, excellent guidance and passionate enthusiasm from everyone involved.

We have a great team and it’s growing. This past Monday, we started to work with Susan Ward, who is going to advise and collaborate on creating an ad and sponsorship presence on the website. On Tuesday, we started work with Dawn Comber, our web content writer. Dawn will be helping us with creating content that addresses both the user and search engine perspectives. And thank goodness for our most patient designer and web developer, Samuel Benisty and his group, who are trying to synchronize all the feedback our team is giving.  Lastly, we couldn’t do any of this collaborative work without the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s dear support.

While I’m on the topic of the strengths and challenges of creative collaborations—I just pulled out a heavily dog-eared book on this subject by Twyla Tharp called The Creative Habit: Life Lessons for Working Together (Simon & Schuster, 2009, NY, NY). It was recommended to me by Shirley Hunt, who runs Focus on Nature, one of ArtBridges/ToileDesArts’ community partners.

If you’re in the middle of a collaborative art project or endeavor which brings together a diverse group of professionals and/or community members, I do recommend this book for some inspiration and ideas—here are a couple of passages:

 “I define collaboration as people working together—sometimes by choice, sometimes not. Sometimes we collaborate to jumpstart creativity; other times the focus is simply on getting things done. In each case, people in a good collaboration accomplish more than the group’s most talented members could achieve on their own…Like creativity, collaboration is a habit and one I encourage you to develop…Collaboration may be a practice—a way of working in harmony with others – but it begins with a point of view.” (back cover)

“A great partnership is a lab where change happens everyday.” (p. 40)

Have a good weekend!—and if you have a unique story to share with the ArtBridges/ToileDesArts community about a creative and collaborative community project that you’re working on, we’d love to hear from you, reach us at:

 – Seanna Connell, Project Director

photo by LotusHead



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