Happenstance: clarity is key and don’t forget the non-digital
As part of continuing series of posts for this blog, I’ll be asking some questions of the experts behind the Digital R&D Fund to see how their answers compare and what other, perhaps smaller arts organisations can learn from…
Last time we heard from the Dero project, and what the team would have done differently had they had another chance at it – this week we ask the same questions of Katy Beale from the Happenstance project…
If you could do the project again, what specific things would you do differently and why?
“The programme may look deceptively simple, but actually there’s a huge amount of organising that goes into running it. From recruitment, to trouble shooting to establishing a common language and expectations across the organisations. Even though, on paper, Site Gallery, Lighthouse and Spike Island are similar organisations, they are each very unique and had different concerns and practical issues to consider before we got going. There was a lot more preparatory work than we anticipated, but this was beneficial because it built relationships and began to get everyone to a shared understanding of what the project was about.
“We worked closely with the three organisations to place complimentary pairs of residents into each of their teams. Although we attracted great candidates and residents, for future iterations we would expand the recruitment process and make sure we were clearer about the residency roles and what sort of skills we were asking the residents to bring.
“The benefits of integrating digital technologies into the everyday working culture of the arts organisation include better internal communication, greater tolerance for risk and failure (because when technology fails, it doesn’t signal the end of the project) and a more collaborative, open culture. Something we didn’t anticipate is how much the residents changed the non-digital aspects of the host organisations: at Lighthouse, particularly, they influenced the wider team culture and this might be something we would put more emphasis on in future iterations.”