Community creates opportunity. Taking part in a series of virtual summer meet-ups hosted by A New Direction highlighted for me the importance of listening, and reinforced the power of community. Discussions were wide-ranging, from the value of new types of creative partnerships and supporting young people to voice their lived cultural lives, to innovation as a process of learning and the benefits of building individual resilience. We shared good practice and great ideas. And one idea really resonated: how might we now plan better together for bigger impact?
Teachers, artists, cultural programmers, and partnership coordinators spoke with clarity about their intentions to work differently and developmentally. It reminded me to revisit Nesta’s map of innovation methods and approaches, to explore these in a Covid-19 context and embrace the opportunity to work in new ways. Seeing innovation as a creative process triggered our own design process. Supported by A New Direction, we built a co-design team, set our design challenge and embarked on a process of human-centred design to create a new resource with and for the community.
And we reset the rules. The Reset Collaboration Plan for Children and Young People is a product of our collective experience during the pandemic and our work in cultural education and creative learning – particularly the work of strategic cross-sector partnerships and Cultural Education Partnerships. The plan is like a travel guide, bringing together the best ideas, insider tips, easy to follow planning and links to materials to save you time. It brings together ideas about diversity, equity and inclusion, aiming to create a space for new ideas to be generated and new practices to emerge, and for collective action to result in change. The plan is as much about attitudinal change as it is a toolkit.
Designed to be flexible, our framework focusses on building six Collaboration Conditions – relate, learn, measure, include, listen, and situate – to create an empowering and sustainable environment to facilitate and build three Critical Capacities with and for children and young people: creativity, resilience and connectedness. We looked through a social value lens whilst building and testing the prototype, and from this perspective our work links to Caring for Cultural Freedom by Dr Nick Wilson & Dr Jonathan Gross from the Department of Culture, Media & Creative Industries at King’s College London. Wilson and Gross argue for the importance of cultivating and sustaining ‘supported autonomy’ in cultural learning, where children and young people feel ‘free’ and ‘creative’, supported by enabling structures.
Change is an opportunity. The Reset Collaboration Plan is an evolutionary resource – it’s not meant to be static and is instead deliberately adaptable. It’s a space for diverse voices and a broad range of perspectives, where stakeholders are embedded in the design and delivery of effective new solutions; solutions that are made freely available, that promote the value of relationship-based models of partnership working and trust building, and investigate authenticity in children and young people’s arts and cultural engagement. It should help us to collectively build a common language about culture and social impact.
Join the conversation on Twitter via the hashtag #LetsResetTogether.