You are on page 1of 83

Tilling the Field

:
Unearthing Collaborative
Practices in the Arts

Investigating ways to better serve organizations
and artists through comprehensive systems
of understanding collaborative practices.

“There’s little question that as a society we tend to suffer from
an overemphasis on the decontextualized present, spending little
time on what came before (either as points on a continuum, or in
a more cyclical pattern); a whitewashed (pun intended), Smoothed
- out version of reality that gives short shrift to a multiplicity of
events, voices, and struggles that don’t make the hierarchical “cut”
and deliberately conceals from the rest of us those in a position to
decide “who’ in / who’s out”. There’s also no question that such
amnesia - convenient, deliberate or unconscious - does us no
favours, particularly given how high the stakes are today - in North
America and elsewhere. We need to become more efficient at
moving forward while looking back - blinkers off, minds open and
privilege checked.”
- Erika Shaker (Editorial, Our Schools / Our Selves, Canadian Centre
for Policy Alternatives, V.26 N.1 (#125), Fall 2016.

Graphic design by Victoria Glizer

Contents:
Forword by charles c. smith

P. 1

Introduction by Kevin A. Ormsby

P. 3

It’s Never the Collaboration: Unearth
the Collaborative Practice by Kevin A.
Ormsby

P. 7

Section I: Methodology of Research

P. 23

Section II: Survey / Interview Question
and Summations

P. 29

Section III: Collective Learning / Sharing
Workshops For Collaborative Support

P. 40

Section IV: Addressing Collaborative
Information, Disclosure | Permission

P. 50

Section V: Annotated Bibliography

P. 52

Section VI: Workshops on Collaborative
Practices 2015-16

P. 70

Section VII: CPAMO Mandate & History

P. 76

Prepared by: Kevin A. Ormsby with Venessa Harris

We would like to thank our funders, the Canada Council for the Arts
and the Ontario Arts Council, for their support.

Forword
Tilling the Field: Unearthing Collaborative Practices in the Arts is the latest
in CPAMO research on arts practices that supports and enables pluralistic
practices to emerge and be sustained. Researched and written by CPAMO
Program Manager, Kevin A. Ormsby, with research assistance by Venessa
Harris, this report dives into territory noted by arts advocate and thinker Jane Marsland as needing more understanding and articulation (See
https://cpamo.org/reports-and-resources/).
This is what Kevin A. Ormsby has done in these pages. In sections that
describe the values and principles of collaborative practices in the arts to
support pluralism, this report addresses such critically important issues
as transparency, clarity in roles/responsibilities, awareness in communications, and equitable sharing of resources. Building on CPAMO’s values
since its establishment, this report furthers efforts to promote a transformation in arts practices, providing rationale and examples on why collaborative arts practices are so important in our rapidly shifting arts ecology.
In doing so, this report turns its attention to practitioners in the field first
and foremost and implies quite assertively that we – artists, arts organizations, presenters (which includes here theatres, publishers, galleries) –
need to connect more directly with each other and form trusting and nurturing
relationships that support emerging and established arts practices and
artists which have, in the past, been marginal and are now forming some
of the most exciting contributions to the Canadian arts ecology.
The report is also a signal to funding bodies and arts policies regarding the
need to transform systems of financial and human resource support to arts
practices and to engage/support artists and arts organizations that seek
a more inclusive and grass-roots and ground-up network to both identify
and bring forward arts practices that are so important to the arts today.

1

In reviewing areas where collaboration can and does work, this report
addresses organizational, administrative and artistic possibilities. It provides
ideas on methods, processes and engagement activities to develop and
sustain collaborative practices. It touches on collaborative content
collection, model prototyping, design and negotiation, usage, refinement
and assessment. It points to such integral matters as decision-making,
implementation and documentation. It provides an annotated bibliography
with evidence-based practices and theoretical approaches.
In providing such a review, this report follows in the tradition of practice
CPAMO has set from the start of its existence – working with others to
share, learn and grow together. As such, the report is informed by interviews
and surveys of CPAMO’s associates and other artists and arts organizers
interested and/or engaged in collaborative practices. It builds from the
field and extends into other forms of research to affirm and support what
is taking place in some areas in order to point out the viability, importance
and timeliness of collaborative artistic practices and how they are beginning
to take root in the arts, particularly on efforts to support arts practices that
have been historically marginalized.
In conducting this research and releasing this report, CPAMO is hopeful
that it will ignite discussions across the arts and engage the arts’ communities
in further discussion, debate, policy formulation and changes in funding arts
activities. It is certainly one more stone in the foundation CPAMO is building
to promote the arts practices of Indigenous and racialized peoples as well
as other historically-marginalized artists and their communities, e.g., the
deaf, disabled and mad, LGBQT, women and those facing socio-economic
barriers. This is something CPAMO is proud of and will continue to do until
it is no longer necessary.
charles c. smith
Executive Director
Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO)

2

Introduction
In the changing environment of the arts, how do artists and organizations
constantly develop frameworks for adapting to said changes? The subject
is interesting in many contexts because many organizations structurally or
financially are in varying capacities of development and growth; the
potential grey areas we feel offer indicators of potential growth. CPAMO
has emerged as an adaptive organization due to the nature of these changes.
We have come to understand innately the complexities of the field such
as limited resources available to our artist associates many of whom are
racialized and Indigenous organizations. There were two aspects that have
prompted this research and report.
1. Historical, bureaucratic underfunding and the overall under-representation
of most of our artist associates in the larger provincial and national context
2. The systemic underdevelopment of our artist associates organizational
capacities.
This report leads the charge into this multi-faceted topic of artistic and
organizational collaborative practice by locating observations in arts
practices and administration at the centre of this report. With a title that
reinforces not only experience but also the larger contexts of how collaborative practices has and can influence those involved, “It’s Never the
Collaboration: Unearth A Collaborative Practice”is a call to look deeper
into the aspects of collaborations that can increase our collective potential.
The development of collaborative practices allow for the continuing destabilization of the contexts of historical bureaucratic underfunding, underrepresentation and systemic underdevelopment faced primarily by indigenous
and racializedartists and organizations.
Much of CPAMO’s work and research to counteract these systemic imbalances
occur through polling of our artist associates and allies with who we work.
3

Being conscious of how our members incorporates these intrinsic relationships
to history and tradition into their artistic aesthetics, we have come to the
realization that collaborative practices have been a subject of concern since
our first workshop on the subject in January 2010. Then a mere session on
the subject of how we can effectively worked collaboratively with our
associates, this report broadens into new and rewarding territory.
Navigating this new territory, Section I: Methodology of Research categorizes
the steps taken to ascertain the information presented in this report but
also provides the first point of reference around how the information was
gathered and also credits those who contributed to what was also a collaborative venture for CPAMO. Working independently and together the information was gathered, shared and expounded upon to reflect what you
see here. We have been cognizant to the conversation on how artists and
organizations articulate impact in the arts and the information provides
both a quantitative and qualitative base for this report.
While not a new subject matter for us, we feel the focus on Collaborations,
Equity / Pluralism and Inclusion over the past couple of years has now
become a priority for funding bodies as the changes in the Arts are now
having a direct impact on many artists and arts organizations. Most recently
we have sought to also investigate what could be a collaborative model for
CPAMO. Led by Jane Marsland, “THINKING COLLABORATIVELY – ACTING
COLLECTIVELY: Creating and Operating a Collaborative Learning Community
for Aboriginal and Racialized Artists in Ontario” came out of focus groups
and extensive series of research, interviews which sought to question
our artist associates, CPAMO’s Board / Advisory Committee and other
practitioners in the arts; their thoughts and opinions on what a possible
collaborative framework could look like.
This model of interview and response compilation has since our inception been the way we historically engage with our artist associates. Using
the information gathered, our programs are created in response to allow
CPAMO’s artist associates to benefit where it matters - in the work they
4

execute. For this report, information was gathered through survey and
interviews. We believe that beyond the survey model we wanted to remain
present with our associates.
Technology should be a factor in effective communication but not the only
way arts organizations communicate as face to face, meetings, telephone
conversations help to nurture more enhanced inter-personal relationships.
Section II: Survey / Interview Questions and Summations offers the reader
access to the questions and responses of contributors to the information in
this research rooted in engagement with persons from the Arts community
who also have wide resources and experience in the field. Localizing some
of these experiences and stories was the goal.
Section III: Collective Learning and Sharing Workshops for Collaborative
Support provides some of the shared learning that occurred from the workshops and addressed some of the information which were unearthed in
the Focus Group. Our work has always been in response to other initiatives
and the cross-sectoral learning achieved from the field. The use of information
has also been of concern and even more so in a collaborative practice.
Section IV: Addressing Collaborative Information, Disclosure | Permission
offers artistic associates a draft of a form detailing many considerations on
arriving at collaborative agreement in giving permission and disclosing
information. In many cases collaborations falter on effective communications
strategies on access, use and releasing of information and communication.
This report provids another set of important information about organizational
collaborative willingness and potential, indicating a need for the workshops
which we facilitated over the Fall / Winter of 2015-16. This report serves as
a 6 month long research into approaches to collaborative practices through
interviews, surveys and a document review.

5

The information contained within was coordinated, edited and also approached
in the true sense of collaboration with the other artist associates of the
CPAMO team each contributing on the technological, administrative and
editorial capacities of this report.Broadening the capacities for engagement and our reader’s own research the Annotated Bibliography in Section
V provides a basis to other information, documents and resources relevant
to this report and collaborative practices.
Collaboration is nothing new…it’s been around for many years, and among
indigeneity; a part of social existence in villages, communities and historic
societies. As we progress into the new models of funding, approaches to
artistic practices and organizational operation collaborations become
something worthy of documenting the ways, approaches and methodologies that are beneficial to more than just those who have benefited from
and are a part of historical funding infrastructures but also those that have
collaborated, survived in practice and offered the willingness to share in
approaches indicative of the “Critical Organic Catalysts” of Cornel West’s
envisaged future; practice that shapes possibilities.
Kevin A. Ormsby | Program Manager
Venessa Harris | Research Assistant
Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO)

6

It’s Never the Collaboration: Unearth the
Collaborative Practice
Facilitating the research for this report to further CPAMO’s work on understanding collaborative practice has proved rather rewarding. Time was spent
reading and collecting information about collaboration in many capacities
across the world and specifically in Ontario. The years worked in the
Arts in Canada and the United States has offered one major observation
which is a place for repetition in many areas; collaboration can help to
debunk, ground as well as provide spaces for engagement with and around
substantive issues that can liberate traditional models of Arts production,
creation, engagement and impact. This observation and assertion will be
framed through a series of questions in an attempt to animate collaborative
concepts leading to what is the major premise; it’s not the collaboration
that matters but the ways in which every collaboration is enlivened into a
collaborative practice.

7

Are you an artist? Are you an arts administrator? In what ways do you
negotiate your interaction in your career? How many on your Board
interact with the artistic practice for which they also are in positions to
support? How many in your organization are artists or engage in the arts?
These particular prompts are meant to illicit thoughts about where do
collaborations start and end. It beacons for you the reader to consider also,
who engages, who instigates collaborative practice in the arts? Whether
in any level of the arts in Ontario or indeed Canada, you are part of
collaboration. If your administrators are not locating their experiences
in the offices of arts organizations then collaborations are losing out
on their full potential. The same can be said for artists who do not see the
correlation to organizations or the art they are creating. It is indeed the
negotiation of these spaces and places that are also a part of collaboration.
IT’S REALLY ALL COLLABORATION.
“The issues we face in our combined roles as artists, researchers
and leaders within institutions compel us to locate our collaborative practice centrally… we recognize that core values must be
reconsidered in this new world of rapid idea exchange. The social
transformations of modernity have resulted in a world that inhabits new and different audiences and economies. As an education sector we have yet to assert clearly the value of our current
role and the potential of our institutions”
- Unpacking a collaborative practice: merging art, research and
teaching, Tracy Mackenna and Edwin Janssen Presentation, 4th
ELIA Teachers’ Academy Sofia, Bulgaria, 1-4 July 2009)

Practitioners of the arts become the main source of enacting the concept
of collaborative practices, instigating, engaging and galvanizing change for
a field in need of progressive enhancements on ideas of innovation and
creativity. Collaboration in many scenarios is about access to information,
resources and effective assessments and opportunity. It’s this opportunity
that is the second focus of this report seeking to address as well as develop
8

the resources required for effective practices of collaboration. This in the
case of CPAMO’s associates, access to the necessary support structures
for continual development as artists and arts organization in an equity and
Indigenous/racialized responsive framework becomes the currency in a
contemporary period because of the historical relationship to hegemonic
structures of Canadian arts practice linked to funding, value and colonial
biases. It has to be mentioned first and foremost because CPAMO as an equity
seeking organization focusing on transformation , advocacy and equity for
all artists/arts organizations is cognizant of the disparities for which collaborative practices in many areas could potentially change.
“ Collaboration is not a new phenomenon…The idea of sharing
authorship and of the participation of communities in the creative
process has been for long introduced, too, the extensive development of communication technology throughout the last two
decades, opened new dimensions for collaborative work. Civil
rights movements, social problems and political context has also
challenged artists to express themselves in new ways. What possibilities can collaborative work offer for extending individual creativity,
what kind of new energies arises when working together? What
could be the strengths and the weaknesses of such methods?
In which ways can a group organize itself, how can a certain
autonomy be created as a basis for critique and resistance? How
can a micro-society formed this way occupy alternative spaces of
creation and action? What are the motivations behind forming a
collective at different parts of the world – like in Central Europe or
in the United States – and what are the answers to the challenges
by various economic and institutional models possibly provided
this way? Does the appearance and the spread of the Internet offer
new models of collaboration, how can the experience gained by
using the Internet be incorporated into the artistic creation?”
- On Collaboration, Trafó Gallery, House of Contemporary Arts Budapest
23 March – 01 April 2006

9

The questions raised above situate not only some of the criteria required
for thinking collaboratively but also mentions what now appears to be an
important focus of the Canada Council for the Arts around the use of technology and the digital world in the arts. Coincidence? Technology has progressively facilitated easier access within and across borders fostering
creative relationships that have proved fruitful for many. Such is the nature
of most collaborations - they have become very dependent on technology,
knowledge based skills and facilitation.However, there are still more complexities in how the nature of collaborations are initiated, executed and
replicated. These instances are non-specific. It requires what Cecily O’Neill
calls “structure and spontaneity”, she affirms that “both are inextricably
linked and they need to be firmly understood if satisfying Arts experience
are to be realized. Structure refers to the embedded elements that comprise the artful selection of various strategies and activities that explore a relationship. Spontaneity requires a kind of freedom that you can or may need
to step off the plan and devise work in process. Such requires the ability to
collaborate and to read what sense participants are making of the structure.” 1
If one sees collaboration as a relationship, then it’s fair to assert that
there are moments when relationships can be tenuous. Communication
is an integral ingredient in solidifying a relationship. Consequently, spontaneity arises as one aims to find a solution to a structure that may not
or have not previously worked. Relationships take work and this work
constitutes a practice. Previously alluded, any practice requires knowledge
of a structure but, also, one needs the acknowledgement that the
structure envisioned may need to be reconsidered during the process or
may need to change. It is in the practice where knowledge is gained. This
knowledge-based transference is the aspect of collaboration for which
this report wishes to plant a seed, with hopeful germination into “collaborative
practices.”It is CPAMO’s aspiration to be rather specific in defining practice
not in the creative realm but the psycho-physiological where the “act
1. Structure and Spontaneity: The Process Drama of Cecily O’Neill, ed. Phillip Taylor et.al,
Trentham Book, London, 2006 .

10

of doing” stresses the repetition of rewarding actions. This repetition
and the learning that comes from it is where intrinsic learning in working
collaboratively is developed. During the research process, it became
apparent that documentation of collaborative practice could provide the
longevity and substantial influence in the continuation/reproduction of
successful collaborations in the future. The context of how we arrived at
collaboration, how we negotiate our way through and how we assess the
success of collaborative ventures sometimes gets lost in the end product.
This product however, sometimes mostly in the realm of creative practices
is only a part of the plethora of areas in which collaborations can occur.
The spaces in which collaboration occurs and the documentation of this
process are where the curiosity lies in our reference to a “collaborative
practice”. It’s important to affirm what’s already been mentioned. THIS IS
NOTHING NEW but strategically may now be a particular focus for some Arts
organizations, funders and collaborators but it’s been populating gradually
across the Canadian milieu. However, what may not have happened prior
was the documentation of the processes of collaboration for which we
consequently, seek to employ as the practice of collaboration. Circuit-Est 2
is one such example, boasting over 25 years of organizations working
collaboratively for the betterment of all the organizations involved and in
the process becoming a cultural hub in Montreal for it’s efforts. What is
in this collaborative practice that constitutes a successful functioning of
organizations and artists?
The directive of this research is simple in that it seeks unearthing and
documenting these particular practices for the longevity in a field affected
by change in organizations and developmental support for artists and arts
organizations. Coincidentally, far too often we look outside of the country
and province for evidence-based practices that resonate in the organizations
for which we work. A large scale mapping across Canada and the province
may be needed in collaborative practices, Dr. Michelle Rozen asserts that,
2. http://www.circuit-est.qc.ca/en/circuit-est/mission-and-history

11

“four ways in which you can create an environment centered on the open,
two-way communication that builds cohesion includes:
1. Transparency: Practice open, transparent communication. It’s a good
idea to share information throughout your organization, as it creates an
environment of trust and a feeling of being in it together.
2. Collaboration: Many failures stem from lack of collaboration and poor
communication. This secretive, “us versus them” mentality divides people
and can lead to friction. Leaders should identify this as soon as possible, and
immediately put into place practices that strengthen relationships forging
a strong culture of open feedback and communication. Bringing people
together in this way really does work. Always look for ways to build
connections between people.
3. Clarity regarding roles and rules: Those who have clear roles, responsibilities, and deadlines are more likely to be held accountable—and
they’re more likely to hold themselves accountable. In any situation
where rules and roles are not completely clear, make sure everything is
spelled out.
4. Diversity awareness in all communications: Cross-cultural communication
is imperative for companies that have a diverse (workforce) it’s important
for everyone to understand the factors that play a part in an effective, diverse
workforce. Cross-cultural communication is strategically important for any
company with a diverse workforce or a business plan that entails global
operations. This type of communication involves an understanding of how
people from different cultures speak or communicate and how they perceive
the world around them.” 3
Though mentioned for businesses, the framework around the importance
of working collaboratively offers the structure and spontaneity mentioned
3. How to Communicate a Company Culture of Communication, Huffington Post, July 18th, 2016

12

by Cecily O’Neil earlier. Should collaborations between arts organizations
and artists be considered and approached as a business? The question
is raised here as a viable consideration if the basic tenants for business
should be a focal point in the arts. What disservice if any are we doing to
the truest potential of our work if the business of the arts and the business
involved in a collaborative practice are not considered equal?
Structure is important in collaboration because it sets up an initial working
module that has the potential of aligning common interests, perceived
goals and overall aspirations. In working collaboratively “its important to
acknowledge that many may not innately understand the “interface of
collaboration.” 4 In Canada, organizations have been working collaboratively
for many years. This research couldn’t have begun to address the plethora
of those collaborations but attempts to locate the emergence, needs and
choices that allows for artists and organizations to enter a collaboration.
An example exists in this very organization and rightfully so should be noted.
As a young organization at the time, CPAMO’s first foray on the subject
matter was around Collaborations and Resource-Sharing: Models for the
Future for Small Companies in the Performing Art, a roundtable geared at
assessing the ways in which artists and organizations would enter into the
aforementioned subject matter. Over a three-year process working with
artists in Toronto, the GTA and Ontario with successful engagements with
presenters and service organizations like IMPACT in Kitchener-Waterloo,
Flato Markham Theatre in the GTA and MASC in Ottawa, CPAMO realized
that seemingly non-existent resources could be harnessed through assessing
the needs and resources of its associate’s collective support.
CPAMO was at the forefront of the realization of the impact of the impending
demographic changes in the arts and questioned how Indigenous and
racialized artists and organizations were adjusting/responding to said
changes and sought to collaborate on ways to alleviate these challenges. In
4. Creating Collaborative Business Processes, Cisco White Papers, 2010

13

fact, the collaboration then emerged out of possible concerns around sustainability and opportunities for continual support. As mentioned by Jane
Marsland in her report on the focus groups she conducted for CPAMO in
2015 “funding challenges, small companies and administration, promotion,
and in retrospect, performance; are all necessities for exploring collaboration”.5 Given the work of this research, it’s important to also mention
in support of Marsland’s claim, that creating processes for more than one
success in working collaboratively should be the goal of all collaborations.
In this report, CPAMO questions how we institute a practice where collaboration has a clear entry, implementation, assessment and impact, and how this
houses the potential of influencing the nature of the organizations / artists with
whom the collaboration happens. Before entering collaboration, one must
recognize the need and assess their capacity to take part in collaborations. It is
also a great space to raise awareness about developing connections needed in
a specific discipline and in extension the Arts community. Be pragmatic about
your choices. Look deeper into the organization and details involved in the
collaboration. It requires training and follow-up procedures for both sides of
an Arts organization; the artistic and the administrative.
Organizational collaboration must also marry the artistic collaborations.
Making sure everyone in the organization is working together as a part of
the collaboration. Be particular about how you are already collaborating
and also allow yourself to think how micro your collaborations can become;
the potential inclusion of everyone you work with can be a major benefit
in the overall outcome. Clarity is always needed in the artistic collaboration
to figure out how (we) collaborate. Finding, arriving and nurturing the
relationship of the collaboration are the truest spirit that can encapsulate
collaborations. It will enhance the feeling of abundance and should be
also capitalized over the time of first and other collaborative endeavours.
5. Thinking Collaboratively – Acting Collectively: Creating And operating a Collaborative Learning
Community for Aboriginal /Racialized Artists in Ontario”, Jane Marsland, October 2015, CPAMO
6. Collective Impact and the New Generation of Cross-Sector Collaborations for Education: A Nationwide
Scan, Jeffrey R. Henig, Carolyn J. Riehl et.al, Teachers College, Columbia University. March 2016

14

Collaboration should include community from concept, execution and
implementation. In the changing environment of the arts, the aforementioned
begs collaborators to think about the areas of their artistic practice. How
can one maximize the essence and appreciation of the collaboration across
varying levels of engagement? In true “…cross-sector collaborations, no
single actor or agency monopolizes the power to set goals, shape agendas,
and determine key policies and practices.” 6
Artistically driven collaborations supported by Presenters should start with
a discussion and some of the information in Section III of this report will
help to facilitate the ways in which artists and arts organizations can broker
meaningful and viable ways to formal presentations. Always, create the
processes together allowing for multi-layered areas of engagement and
interaction in your collaborations. Is your organization familiar with or have
worked in community based arts practice? Are you aware of the organizations
offering training in this area?
Being forced into a collaborative practice can be problematic. Building and
establishing a relationship is best but as mentioned in the work of Cecily
O’Neill, collaboration that is spontaneous can be refreshing and can offer
many lessons of how spontaneity is dying in the arts. Working collaboratively
requires a fundamental commitment to change, where collaborators are
cognizant that there’s a necessity for deep listening and learning which in
turn stimulates a dismantling of linear thought, re-defining of roles and
further clarification of the responsibilities in a collaboration.
Areas of Potential Collaboration
Organizational

Administrative

Artistic

Trusteeship
Marketing
Co-Directorships
Board Representation
Mentoring Administrators Creation, Production Facilitation
Shared use of space
Outside the field to field Shared Training Instruction
Collaborative Fundraising
Execution
Residences

15

Theory Into Practice
This strategy moves collaboration from theoretical approaches into how
artists and Arts organizations work with practical goals created and understood collaboratively. A process of collaboration and its documentation
offers understanding, knowledge transference and should be responsive to
the ebb and flow of necessity with the potential for broadening community,
deepening creative practice and in turn the field. Collaboration has the
potential of enlivening a shared market where artists and arts organizations
exist together rather than in silos.
Indeed, we can agree that collaboration in practice can be a transformational process; however when looking at a practice, be mindful of what’s at
stake in that relationship and what it’s benefits are when working on large
and / or small scale collaborations. Communicate clearly throughout the
process. Hierarchical executions in collaborations are problematic as this
follows a traditional path where the instigators, benefactors of collaboration
are at the top. The alternative should be contemporary collaborative
practice where horizontal governance, transparencies and decision-making
are integral parts of the collaborative practice where everyone shares,
augments, and shape the practice.
Methods + Process + Participation = Collaboration
Collaboration involves exploration into methods, unearthing processes
and encouraging participation. Though simply stated, what happens from
method to implementing processes to having artists and organizations
participating will be the benchmark of successful collaborations. Each
step requires clarity in approach, intent and acknowledgement that
leading participants do not possess all the knowledge indicative in
making the collaboration “a success.” Curiosity should be an integral
part of the collaboration.

16

Phase

Description

Collaborative
Content
Collection

As a preparation consider the ways Investigative, collecting information
in which you may want to enter from others, RFP, Idea Creation,
into collaboration using current Focus groups.
resources and potentials. Consider
thoughts from Experts, Stakeholders
and others to gather information on
a collaboration’s potential.

Approach

Model
Prototyping

With the information obtained see
how best collaboration can better
benefit from a creation of a model
of approach, e.g., how will you work,
create, share and strategize.

Individual or organizational, what
are the processes of artistic
creation? Are there examples to
follow?

Design /
Negotiation

Together collaboration is designed
and the structures of the collaboration negotiated. This should represent
a process that all participants in the
initiation of the collaboration can
agree on.

Meetings, documents on process,
approaches to creation, verbal
or written communication. * See
workshop model from CPAMO
workshop series on creating collaborative contracts (Oct 2016).

Usage

How is the model used by everyone
in the collaboration (artistic / administrative)? What support is needed
and given to participants?

Announcing collaboration, informing participants, stakeholders. How
is the collaboration used in knowledge exchange for participants?

Refinement

In the process how do you assess,
reshape allowing growth or change
as needed. At the end assessing the
process can help in the next time
you enter a collaborative practice.

What is working? How do we
measure success in the process
during and at the end? Impact –
how do you articulate and critique?

Assessment

How do you create a structure that
assesses the collaboration? In what
ways do these assessments help in
reporting impact and reach?

How do you gather this information? Is it as the collaboration
progresses or at the end? Survey,
Post mortem, meetings.

17

Questions to always consider:
DECISION MAKING
• Who made the decision? How was it communicated?
• Did you invite others to assist in the decision making
• How many aspects were considered in the process of arriving at the decision?
IMPLEMENTATION
• In what ways will the collaboration be implemented?
• What are the roles of Collaborators? Are these roles clearly communicated
and documented?
• When do you assess efficacy of the implementation? How do you create
timelines to implement collaboratively?
EXECUTION
• How did we arrive at the process?
• When and in what ways are deliverables required? Is there a critical path
for which participants are aware?
• Who executes follow-ups?
We encourage asking even more questions as they are applicable to your
needs and feel it’s important to note how various artists and organizations
relate to collaboration will be different.
Documentation
An important aspect of all collaborations should be process-based documentation. In this process notes are made, compiled and used to support not just
other collaborations but creating an organizational resource. Documentation
can be achieved both administratively and creatively into a framework
supporting articulation of collaborative impact on an organization and artists.
It’s recommended that there is clearly defined communication between the
administrative and creative aspects at all points during collaboration and documentation. It’s the development of something bigger than the collaboration,
18

it’s the start of resources you, your administration and everyone you work with
can have access to and can learn from. DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT DOCUMENT!
Best practices come from understanding effective and non-effective
processes. Be truthful, honest and critical, the field will depend on it.
Thinking about the resources of organizations as documenting best
practices, developing documentation frameworks can be a useful toolkit
generation. What resources do you have? How can this be shared and
documented in collaborations? Comprehensively a resource list of pros
and cons when leading into collaboration can really provide faster results
of where collaborative support could arise.
Become The Hub
By documenting, you achieve an important potential missing in a visceral
and often undocumented practice; you become a source for the access,
proliferation and mining of information. Information and indeed having
access sparks growth. Housing information that can aide in becoming a
resource, sparks innovation and discovery. What you do with this information and how it’s shared can become artistic and organizational collateral
in the age of technological information. As mentioned prior, technology
becomes a key conduit in a collaborative practice. Allowing collaborations to go across borders in the simplest of ways renders idea sharing
with lightening speed potential for making an impact. “Technology is
having just as big an impact on external collaboration by eliminating or
greatly reducing the significant investments in networks and infrastructure once required to support it. File sharing used to require extensive
authentication systems, multiple logins, and high overhead costs for
setup, administration, and support, limiting many organization’s ability
to access external collaboration.” 7 Technology’s impact provides spaces
where sharing, storage, creative transfers can all be achieved online. There is
one likely suggestion, SHARE IT!
7. Comcast Business View, http://www.inc.com/comcast/technology-and-the-new-collaboration.html

19

“ You are powerful people, who can shift our culture in ways the
government can’t. So I challenge you to do it – I challenge you to
embrace the discomfort and I challenge you because I know, you
are up to the challenge”
- Jesse Wente, Closing remarks, Canadian Arts Summit 2016

Conclusion
In the process of sharing thought, research and information, it’s the
hope that the information here though theoretically based can provide
a rethinking of the processes that could lead to a collaborative practice
beyond mere collaborations but towards the development of replicable
structures with potential to revolutionize organizations and the work of
artists in general. The notion of understanding working and harnessing
collaborative community structures have been mentioned and can go
far beyond the varying communities in which collaborations happen. It
boosts potential for other areas in which CPAMO has facilitated workshops. It can create allies in the arts, instigate audience development/
engagement, new methodologies of approaching creation and can illicit
in the value of the arts for administrators, creators and participants.
Collaboration is required in art forms that are considered exclusive,
historically and traditionally funded. Being inclusive requires and supports
a better understanding of the milieu in which Canada now creates and
participates in cultural production. Proper time, communication and clear
boundaries can provide enrichment, the transference of knowledge,
understanding and a more focused practice. Through process analysis,
documentation and becoming a hub for strategic change, artists and
organizations can leap towards heightened levels of creation, production
8. The Sociology of Culture. New York: Schocken Books, 1982

20

in the ways Raymond William’s refers to as “cultural production.” 8 A
collaborative practice rooted in cultural production develops administration that creates, engages with and disseminates “cultural capital.”
What is the model for the future? How do we move beyond concepts of
collaboration to make sure that collaborative practices are a part of this
envisaged future?
Collaboration involves knowing the stories that lead us into possibilities.
It involves understanding situational differences and possibilities when
collaborating with others. Admitting previous or lack of knowledge of
what can happen in collaboration can benefit the outcome one desires.
It offers a potential to navigate through challenges; allowing for growth
step by step, never losing sight of what is it to you and what you may want
to achieve within and after collaboration. Networking is important as it
allows you to find artists willing to support your collaborative practice in
presentation, creation, and administration. Coming together to collaborate as artists and arts organization is also about creating or adopting
a methodology to support your process. Collaboration done incorrectly
is one that doesn’t take into consideration the journey nor honour the
reasons why you entered. Meet as persons/organizations with the same
interest and get to know each other create to trust and to find varying
ways to enter into an agreement.

Building Collaborative Practices workshop with Eric Lariviere 2016.

21

References
Collaborations and Resource-Sharing: Models for the Future for Small
Companies in the Performing Art, Report (Spring 2016) CPAMO
How to Communicate a Company Culture of Communication, Dr. Michelle
Rozen, Huffington Post, web, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michellerozen/how-to-create-a-company-c_b_11055992.html?utm_hp_ref=purpose--profit&
THINKING COLLABORATIVELY – ACTING COLLECTIVELY: Creating and operating a Collaborative Learning Community for Aboriginal and Racialized
Artists in Ontario, Jane Marsland, October 2015, CPAMO
Structure and Spontaneity: The Process Drama of Cecily O’Neill, ed. Phillip
Taylor et.al, Trentham Book, London, 2006
Creating Collaborative Business Processes, Cisco White Papers, 2010
Beyond Collaborative Model Usage and Development – A Model Lifecycle
Approach for Lay User Modeling, Alexander Nolte, Michael Prilla, Information and Technology Management, Institute for Applied Work Science,
Ruhr University of Bochum, 2013
ON COLLABORATION; A series of events and talks on collaborative art
practices, Trafó Gallery, Trafó – House of Contemporary Arts Budapest 23
March – 01 April 2006.
Collective Impact and the New Generation of Cross-Sector Collaborations
for Education: A Nationwide Scan Jeffrey R. Henig, Carolyn J. Riehl et.al,
Teachers College, Columbia University. March2016
The Sociology of Culture, Raymond Williams, New York: Schocken Books,
1982
22

Section I: Methodology of Research
Articulating the methodology for how we gathered the information we feel
is important to highlight as this report also serves as information that
CPAMO’s associates and others could use as a tool for their own investigate
research and practices. CPAMO is cognizant of the need to share information
and how also this information could benefit a field of practice.
Group Research
The researchers independently read and sourced articles and reports online
primarily on the nature and context of how collaboration was being
considered in business, education and the Arts. Assessing this information
in the context of activities in Canada, the researchers sought to annotate
articles, and provide a frame for what is the introduction and thought piece
It’s Never the Collaboration: Unearth A Collaborative Practice of this report.
Community Forums
1) Canada Dance Assembly | Canada Dance Festival – Pluralism Rountable
CPAMO’s work with the Canada Dance Assembly has matured over a fouryear process, which has seen the facilitation, development and implementation of Pluralism for the Organization. They have now adopted pluralism
as a central part of the organization’s understanding of serving dancers and
organizations across the country. CPAMO’s Executive Director, charles c.
smith, and Program Manager, Kevin A. Ormsby, and other CPAMO associates
serve on the Pluralism Committee. In June 2016, for the Canada Dance Festival
held in Ottawa, CPAMO sponsored an event but also ran three sessions on
Collaborative Practice. Led by Kevin A. Ormsby and Charmaine Headley,
the sessions were meant to gather information for this report on how the
artists and organizations present were approaching work collaboratively.

23

More than ever there is a need for groups to come together and offer support
consequently, reducing duplication while brokering the capacity for shared
resources. What are some successful examples of collaborative models
and how can we identify which collaborations will serve our needs best?
What does strategic partnership look like and how can it be a win-win
situation for all?
Some potential questions can guide this as borrowed/adapted from Jane
Marsland’s report for CPAMO:
• If we as a sector want to develop a ‘sharing economy’, how can we
encourage the principles that drive it?
- Equity, community and connection
- Shared resources and shared ownership
- Share solidarity
• How can we work together to resist the pressure for more “earned
revenue” – are we in this to make money or make art/social change?
• What are other ways we can measure the value of collaborating? How
can we measure reciprocity? Impact? Sustainability?
24

• If we are working more collaboratively, are the funders able to resolve any
emerging challenges – need for additional granting deadlines, micro-loans,
concern over “double dipping”?
• Will grant application processes be able to support collaborative ways
of working? What do peer assessment committees need to understand
collaborative models?
• What kinds of support do the emerging leaders who want to work
collaboratively need?
* Prepared by the Canada Dance Assembly’s Pluralism Committee Members
in consultation with the Canada Dance Assembly’s National Standing Council.
For more info on council members and committee members, visit http://
www.cda-acd.ca/en
2) Toronto Arts Council’s Cultural Leaders LabFellow 2015 | Cultural
Leaders Challenge Initiative
Initiated by our Program Manager (A Cultural Leaders Fellow 2015), Kevin
A. Ormsby sought to present the research as a “Challenge” using the feedback from the Fellows in attendance (6) to see where the research was
finding traction and ways in which it could possibly be enhanced to support
as mentioned in the Forward and title; the field.
Request for Participation
A RFP was sent to all members of CPAMO’s ListServe, through Social Media,
through membership based organizations with whom we work and everyone
was encouraged to also share the information.
Interviews / Survey
Interviews were conducted with a list of Indigenous and diverse practitioners
in the performing arts, ranging from funders,administrators, and organizations to artists. The list below offers the depth of the field for which we
25

sought to engage and who responded to the RFP for an interview in the
process of this report. Many of those interviewed straddled many of the
categorizations below but provided a depth of information on how they
saw, worked in and experienced collaborative practices.
* All interview participants were also asked to sign a disclosure form,
which provided permission for CPAMO to use their information in the
compilation of this report. (See Section IV)
Annotated Bibliography
In conducting research for this project, the objective was to explore collaborative practices in the arts and discover the ways in which collaboration works to resolve issues most commonly found among small arts
organizations, especially those featuring members of historically-marginalized
groups. Compiling this list of resources required countless hours of reading
dozens and dozens of articles. Included are ones that concisely state what
has been proven in recent literature—(i) funding policies are unable to keep
up with the changing landscape of artists and how they’re creating work;
and (ii) small organizations, especially those of historically-marginalized
groups, experience issues obtaining funding due to various restrictions of
granting processes (i.e. lack educational prerequisites or previous experience, etc.).
Due to this current landscape, many voices of historically-marginalized
artists are filtered through mainstream structures and may not be a totally
true representation of that community, or, even worse, those voices are
not heard at all. To combat this issue, we are seeing much more collaboration among historically-marginalized groups and emerging artists. There
has been evidence to show the benefits of sharing space or services, of
employing in collective knowledge in the arts, and of using digital technology to enhance these processes. Through a combination of scholarly
articles, informal personal accounts, toolkits, recommendations, and case
studies, this list of resources fleshes out all of these issues and ideas, and
26

helps to prove the importance of collaboration and how it can be applied in
future to positively impact how we represent through the arts our cultures
and ourselves.
Workshops Geared at Information from the Field
In assessing the knowledge base of our participants in our workshop in the Fall of 2015 / Winter 2016, CPAMO realized that
there was depth of information for which the participants provided and sought to use those thoughts and notes gathered from
the workshops to guide our development of the toolkits included
in this report. “EACH ONE can, in fact, TEACH ONE!” It seemed appropriate that in looking at collaborative practices that we collaborated
with the participants and the information that they contributed. For
more detailed information refer to Section V.

Building Collaborative Practices workshop with Eric Lariviere 2016.

27

Empirical Data
What

Who

# of participants

Group Research

CPAMO

3

Community Forums

Canadian Dance Assembly
66
TAC Cultural Leaders Fellow 2015 6

Request for Participation

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
E-newsletter / ListServe
NASO

Survey
Interviews

Individuals and organizations from 19
the Sector
9

Workshop Participants /
Contributors

Various professionals and students 21
from the creative industry.

Annotated Bibliography

Venessa Harris

1

Collaboration Paper

Kevin A. Ormsby

1

Admin Support /
Consultation

charles c. smith

1

28

432
281
52
117
68

Section II: Survey, Interview Questions
and Summations
This questionnaire was developed to guide the researchers in their online
survey of and conversations with various artists and arts organizations.
1. Have you ever worked collaboratively? If so, in what ways?
a) Administrative collaboration (i.e. sharing space, resources, etc.)
b) Artistic collaboration (i.e. sharing ideas, creating work, etc.)
c) Both at the same time (i.e. you’ve worked both artistically and administratively with one or more people on the same project/group of projects)
d) Both at different times (i.e. you’ve worked artistically with one or
more people on a project, and you’ve worked administratively with one
or more people on a different project)
2. With whom did you work? When? For how long?
3. How did the collaboration start? Who initiated it? Why?
4. Were the planned outcomes of the collaboration communicated verbally,
or were they documented in a formal contract and/or collective agreement?
5. Can you outline some of the responsibilities you had during your
collaborative process?
6. What were some of the challenges in agreeing to collaborate, or that
emerged out of the collaboration?
7. What were some of the benefits that emerged from the collaboration?
Were you able to achieve outcomes that you would not have been able
to achieve on your own?

29

8. What are some factors which you consider to be quintessential to
working collaboratively?
9. Have you documented this process? If so, are you able to share this
documentation?
10. Have you worked collaboratively since?
a) If yes, how did the previous collaboration strengthen your artistic /
organizational approach?
b) If no, are there any collaborative strategies that you still employ on
your own today?
11. Do you know of others working or who have worked collaboratively?
If so, would you recommend we contact them?
We conducted a survey among arts professionals to determine the extent
at which collaboration exists within the industry, and how these collaborations are executed. In total we received 20 responses. While this is a
modest amount, the results can be seen as a starting point for a broader
conversation regarding collaboration within nonprofit art sectors.
1. Have you ever worked collaboratively? If so, in what ways?

Administrative collaboration (i.e. sharing space, resources,
etc.)
Artistic collaboration (i.e. sharing ideas, creating work,
etc.)
Both at the same time (i.e. you’ve worked both artistically
and administratively with one or more people on the same
project/group of projects)
Both at different times (i.e. you’ve worked artistically
with one or more people on a project, and you’ve worked
administratively with one or more people on a different
project)

30

All participants indicated that they have worked collaboratively in one
form or another. In total, 85% of survey participants have participated in
an artistic collaboration (i.e. sharing ideas, creating work, etc.), whereas
only 70% have participated in an administrative collaboration (i.e. sharing
space, resources, etc.). While artistic collaboration is generally more common than administrative collaboration (i.e. sharing space, resources, etc.),
35% said that they have done both, in that they have shared resources
while also creating work with others. Additionally, 20% said that they have
participated in both, but at different times on independent projects.
Interview Respondents worked in variety of collaborative ways with most
indicating artistic or administrative collaborations with half working in
both areas of collaborations questioned. Indicating that the methods
of collaboration were responsive to need and opportunity, respondents
thought that the changes in arts influenced and could influence how
they worked collaboratively. Collaborations ensued across organizational
and geographic areas with large provincial and national organizations
offering also with local based artist etc. Two thirds of the respondents
work in artistic and administrative collaborations at the same time while
a third worked in one particular area. Of this third, artistic engagements
involved creations; productions and administrative endeavours involved
partnering with others, working with community and also with civic
institutions. One-third of respondents also indicated hiring, building
capacities and also working in education. In the case of the community-based collaborations, support and thought was given to supporting
the overall sustainability of the field.
2. With whom did you work? When? For how long?
The most popular answer regarding collaboration, not surprisingly, related to
organizations partnering with other organizations to produce certain projects,
as well as freelancers working with organizations. Aside from this traditional
dynamic, there was the mention of sharing of space which sometimes was the
extent of the relationship, and other times led to other types of collaboration.
31

Collaboration also formed naturally from common goals, community incentives, or social innovation.
Interview respondents indicated that collaboration was an ongoing process,
tiered between many companies and in a variety of scenarios including
co-creations, in education, policy and research, with national bodies and
government. A fifth of respondents had their collaborations linked to
institutions looking into shared subject matter for which they facilitated artistic or organizational support. Here civic engagement was considered
an important part of the artistic practice. Respondents who were individual
artists in some collaboration supported the work of organizations for which
they were a part of projects for which they were engaged. The time indicated
varies from 1-24 years between individual and organizational respondents.
3. How did the collaboration start? Who initiated it? Why?
The general consensus among responses was that collaborations
formed out of need for certain skills or to fill gaps in a creative team.
Some collaborations formed out of community programs (i.e. mentorships, Cultural Hotspot, etc.), however most were formed through simple
conversations had by likeminded individuals with common goals. It was
remarked that those who collaborated with others in the past were more
likely to work with those individuals again (i.e. peers who met in art school,
artists who exhibited together in a group show, etc.). That said, the most
common response for how collaborative processes formed was a desire to
expand minds, further artistic investigations, challenge traditional methods,
and push boundaries.
Many respondents from the interviews suggested that their collaborations
emerged out of organizational programmatic frameworks but many also
mentioned the need for networking, creative exploration and adjusting
to changes in the sector as indicators for how the collaboration started
and how it was initiated. Many respondents wanted to focus on the need
for continual collaborations over time in a number of ways. Increase in
32

funding created access for a few to look at broadening programming
and also exploring artistic potentials. Collaboration emerged for many
respondents as a potential not only connecting to larger issues but also
the development of strategies to illicit change in approaches at an artistic,
organizational and or community level.
4. Were the planned outcomes of the collaboration communicated verbally,
or were they documented in a formal contract and/or collective agreement?
All except one of the respondents expressed that they had communicated
the planned outcomes through verbal/and or informal methods. Just under half also expressed that a formal contract was created, either due to
program guidelines or out of personal interest. The majority suggested that
both forms of communications were beneficial, however informal communication definitely took precedence over formal communication, which
was only “sometimes” used. It was also noted that informal collaboration
didn’t always warrant a contact, whereas more formal collaborations did
(i.e. with other organizations or when the stakes were higher).
Respondents suggested a wide range of situations that lead to an agreement. They included collective shaping, verbal, written with some indicating
a combination of both verbal leading into written communication; a shared
meeting to create collaborative agreement, letter/memorandums of
understanding etc. A best practice is to have a collaborative agreement when
working in the community. In all cases we discovered multi-layered sets of
agreements created from the use of existing contracts, templates sourced
etc. In one case, a respondent mentioned using technology via Google docs
as a place for “hashing out the details of the agreement”. In one case, a
theatre practice Viewpoint was used as a beginning process to arrive at a
collaborative practice artistically.

33

5. Can you outline some of the responsibilities you had during your
collaborative process?
Responses here varied due to the nature of individual collaboration, but
there were common themes throughout. In all cases, there seemed to be
a common need for meetings, consultations, brainstorming, research, and
general back and forth communication. Some of the responses indicated
that there was an individual or individuals responsible for overseeing the
project(s). Interestingly, the majority of respondents’ roles were administrative in nature, as opposed to creative roles. This might simply be attributed
to types of respondents, however certain phrases used such as “support”
and “coordinate” seem to highlight administrative roles arising specifically
from the collaboration.
Being aware of the complexity of collaboration, the responsibilities were
diverse in form and context. Respondents mentioned administration, policy,
research, advocacy, creative facilitation and development. Another sought
to examine, individually and collectively their organization’s rationale in the
collaboration and communicated expectations for the final product. Raising
funds to support the collaboration, shared documentation, facilitation of
collaboration’s direction, emphasis on promotion in community engaged
practice were also mentioned.
6. What were some of the challenges in agreeing to collaborate, or that
emerged out of the collaboration?
Almost every respondent cited a different challenge associated with working
collaboratively. Major challenges were as follows:
(i) Writing and finalizing work, as more points of view don’t always equate
to a faster or easier process;
(ii) Managing expectations and controlling project scope;
(iii) Merging artistic styles and working methods;
(iv) Accommodating individual personal and professional commitments,
while also focusing on common objectives;
34

(v) Finding time and space to get together;
(vi) Creating a clear outline of who is responsible for each task and creating
a process to follow-up; and
(vii) Managing a higher level of commitment and often-lengthier planning
process.
Funding and the continuation of the programming, one partner being
larger than another, dictated the nature of the collaboration while others
mentioned challenges in learning a common language to share ideas and
to dialogue. Another respondent mentioned the importance of having
Indigenous leadership engaged at the onset of collaborations with Indigenous collaborators. When working in community based practices having
relationship within a community was also seen as a challenge because
there are investments needed outside of the artistic or administrative
capacities. Some challenges respondents felt were also unforeseen and
indicated that challenges can arise through not having shared vision,
expectation, timelines or process to an outcome. All respondents were
particular about being mindful of miscommunications, expectations and the
agendas of collaborating organizations. One rather interesting response was
challenges with first time collaborators. One major organizational challenge
considered organizational operations, policies of reporting and the role of
the CRA in collaborating organizations and reporting.

Canadian Dance Assembly’s Roundtable on Pluralism held at the Canada Dance Festival, 2016.

35

7. What were some of the benefits that emerged from the collaboration?
Were you able to achieve outcomes that you would not have been able
to achieve on your own?
As with the challenges, respondents cited a wide range of benefits and
possible achievements associated with working collaboratively:
(i) Formation of a new network of art colleagues;
(ii) The creation of more ambitious work;
(iii) Opportunity for cross-disciplinary projects;
(iv) Ability to apply for a wider range of grants, as well as receive greater
funding;
(v) A greater understanding of industry best practices and new techniques;
(vi) Faster processes and easier problem solving;
(vii) Challenging and rewarding; and
(viii) possibility to create something great with limited resources.
Interviewees believed there were instrumental benefits to collaboration.
Respondents cited collaborations being an enormous learning experience
for mentee and mentors where listening, building trust, emotional investment,
going further into the process was commented. The development of common communication tools while creating something thoughtful, meaningful with hopes of remounting the outcomes in various communities across
Canada, a national profile was built. Broader performance communities,
with knowledge on how to host gatherings and discuss varying practices
were realized. A shared vision across a number of people and organizations
was incredible, allowing for different points of view and also a network of
support that grounding the practice and enhancing a community’s sense
of belonging. More heads can come up with a better sense of achieving
outcomes that you would not have been able to achieve on your own one
respondent mentioned; allowing for the ownership of something bigger
than the initial thought.

36

8. What are some factors which you consider to be quintessential to
working collaboratively?
The responses were as follows:
(i) Being open to ideas different from yours and being willing to compromise;
(ii) Strong communication and good rapport;
(iii) Transparency;
(iv) A sense that you and all your collaborators are each gaining something
meaningful; and
(v) A collective vision, common goals and defined objectives.
Those interviewed had poignant suggestions, which included clear and
concise agreements, documenting process, while realizing that collaborations can be labour intensive at times. Working communicatively as the
collaboration grows, having assessments of the process as well as an openness, willingness to challenge oneself in unexpected ways and work in a
spirit of generosity. An acknowledgment of hierarchies, the development
of meaningful relationships (long term rather than transactional) respondents encouraged sitting down at the beginning to talk about and navigate
the collaboration to understand the nature of working collaboratively
before entering a collaboration. Deep listening, acknowledging the values
of everyone’s idea, and realizing that those silent are a part of the collaboration. How do they get heard? Leave the room for suggestions that are
open and free, so that everyone can contribute if they need to in their own
time. Respondents were passionate creating an atmosphere that allowed
for ideas that are off-the-wall that could spark other ideas. Practice good
leadership!
9. Have you documented this process? If so, are you able to share this
documentation?
Of the received responses, 35% said yes, 35% said no, 20% reported some
form of documentation (although they noted that it wasn’t as much as
they would have liked), 5% had work that was still in progress, and the
37

remaining 5% had work that was not able to be documented. The majority
of respondents said they had visual representations such as pictures and
video; however very few completed written documentation following their
collaboration. A few indicated that they would be able to document their
work if they had more resources available to them.
Methods of documentation for the interviewees ranged from formal to
informal processes, e.g., a toolkit, articles about the collaboration, publications
(web and print media). Many responded that for their organization it was also
dependent on the size of the collaboration, suggesting that documentation
is a continual work in progress, retooling the resources based on what was
learned. Some respondents did not have a practice of documentation.
10. Have you worked collaboratively since?
If yes, how did the previous collaboration strengthen your artistic/
organizational approach?
95% of respondents said they had collaborated a second or third time. The
most common response as to how their initial experience strengthened
their artistic/organizational approach the next time around was “better
listening skills and ability to be more flexible and value the input of others.”
Other responses were as follows:
(i) Better sense on how to engage artists;
(ii) General desire to include others and diversify;
(iii) Easier time connecting with others and the community; and
(iv) Better understanding on how to become acquainted with the needs of
the group.
If no, are there any collaborative strategies that you still employ on your
own today?
5% of respondents said they had yet to collaborate again after the initial
experience; no collaborative strategies were provided.
38

For the interview process, 100% of respondents all agree that they have
worked collaboratively since and some indicated both national and international collaborations. From the responses, many indicated in part the
collaborations provided moments to share across cultural norms, and
to support, challenge and provoke ideas. Many also indicated increased
learning and development from the collaborations. One organization
responded that a previous collaboration has provided the organization
with renewed strength, instigating the hosting of a major event. Other
respondents indicated the importance of a conflict resolution strategy to
mitigate challenges.
11. Do you know of others working or who have worked collaboratively?
If so, would you recommend we contact them?
The information for this section cannot be shared due to third party information release legislation. CPAMO did receive a wide range of information and
contacts of others who have worked collaboratively and who CPAMO could
engage in future studies on collaboration.
* Survey and Interview Summations by Venessa Harris and Kevin A. Ormsby

The Gathering: Arts Organizations Promoting Pluralism. May 2016.

39

Section III: Collective Learning and Sharing
Workshops for Collaborative Support
Collaboration should be transformative and in fact should involve constant
metamorphosis. Thinking Collaboratively Acting Collectively is a metaphor
for understanding that collaboration is indeed a collective venture and only
in its replication can we arrive at a collaborative practice.
To explore this metaphor, CPAMO held workshops in the GTA with both
artists and presenters as lead facilitators. The program description for
these workshops is included in the final section of this report. What follows
here is a summary of some of the key issues that were discussed in the workshops.
Collaboration + Working Collectively + Replication = Collaborative Practice
The suggested information below can help in arriving at a collaborative
practice in the Arts. The general ideas arrived out of conversation with major areas of focus surfacing from with the conversation.
Workshop I: Thinking Collaboratively Acting Collectively (October 2016)
• Arriving at creative collaborations takes time: what may have you forgotten?
• How could you navigate an organizational collaboration?
• Create a contract collectively.
• Constantly ask how task will be achieved.
• To be collaborating is to also give something up in the process.
• Conscious collaborations consider existing for a purpose, what do you
want to achieve?
• Where is the community? Who are the communities involved?
• Congregating on a common ground- what is that?
• Collaborative change is systemic transformation.

40

• Nurturing and creating relationships in collaboration. Can both parties
benefit all the time?
• Understanding power dynamics in a collaboration and learn how to negotiate.
• Assuming the power of Equity, how are artists and arts organizations
that have experienced marginalization understood in collaboration?
• Respecting the collaboration? – What do you set up at the beginning?
• Are we aware of the time commitments?
• Collaborations as INVESTMENT vs. COMMITMENT, how is it materialized?
Collaborative agreements could:
• Involve / include each collaborator adding to portions of the contract.
• Support listening to desires and wants, staying present.
• Enable talking freely and respectfully is important.
• Assist in defining together the collaboration.
• Aim to remove perceived barriers, not create them.
• Advocate for what we believe.
• Turn discomfort into inquiry.
• Consider all ideas, take risks.
• Call people in not calling them out.
• Support how we come to agree to…
Collaborative agreements should consider the following questions which
were addressed:
• What and how do we make them?
• How do we encourage risk-taking leading to acquired confidence in building
a contract?
• Do we create a method of assessing “success” and “failure”?
• Why are we doing this? – Is it clear?
• Communicating and honouring each others role in the “successes and
“failures”.
• How do we market our collaboration?
• Understanding/communicating the purpose.

41

Making Space for Inter-Generational Collaborations
Knowing the history of those in an organization and the contributions of
generations of artists in collaboration is an important part of connectivity
in the arts. How do we arrive at inter-generational connections in the arts?
Looking outside of our genres for answers and support could influence the
spontaneity required for meaningful experiences.
• The strengths lies in cultivating practice inter-generationally.
• Being genuine to mutual benefits and the potential to learn collaboratively.
• What are you both making space for?
• Offering access to conferences, tickets, data, sources, networking.
• Applying for funding on behalf of a emerging/mid-career artist.
• Free internships, involve cultural sharing demographics.
• Booster better relationship with youth and adults.
• Execute mentoring the next generation NOW?
Creating distinctions in the potential work and importance of Inter-generational
collaborations, the workshop sought to also consider if there was a difference
between mentorship vs collaboration?
Traditional Mentorship

A Collaborative Mentorship

• Guided, learning maybe
directed ONLY towards the
mentee
• Time / space is offer the
mentorship
• One on one not related to?
• Perceives one person has
knowledge
• Hierarchical
• The do…

• Learning from each other
• Time and Space created together
• Knowledge sharing
• Structure of exchange in the
field
• Everyone is knowledgeable
• Vertical
• The how….

42

What Does Collaborative Partnership Look Like?
Arriving at clear concise aspects of collaboration can be challenging.
Participants noted that there should be a willingness to compromise, being
willing to ask/to offer empathy while being open to new avenues towards a
collaborative process that is transformative. Through a series of questions
they arrived at the following:
• Co-production, everyone benefits/win-win.
• Building, nurturing and supportive relationships that aims to dismantle
power dynamics.
• Self perception should drive to processes of Self actualization (artists/
organizations).
• Transferring/sharing skills can include bartering.
• Using social media to add value.
• Resource sharing – know your resources.
• In collaborations for every NO explore 5 ways to a YES.
• Maximize on the potential investment collaborations can offer.
Through the use of a Liberating Structure entitled TRIZ, we explored how
looking at worst case scenarios could offer suggestions for a better outcome in what two collaborators may actually desire.

The Gathering: Arts Organizations Promoting Pluralism. May 2016.

43

Horrible Collaborations

Meaningful Collaborations

• Clear purpose / Total
commitment
• Effective communication
• Transparency
• Intersectionality
• Find suitable model
• Curiosity - the ‘Why?!’
• Generosity and Openness
• Critical path / deadlines /
outcome
• Create practice of working
together
• Agreement on intended
results
• Being inspiring/looking to be
inspired
• Transformative interaction
• Organizational buy-in
• Delegation / building of person’s
capacity

• Don’t listen to the other,
self-serving
• Narrow targets, convenient
• Opportunistic – superficial
inclusivity
• Disorganization / no timelines
• Abusing of one’s connections
• Miscommunication
• Lacking in enthusiasm
• Hidden resources, nontransparent
• Withholding information /
access
• Dictatorial / micro-managing
• Using bad language /
stereotyping
• Poaching – staff / board
members / ideas
• No boundaries

Values of Collaboration – Stating the Story…
Lastly, the workshop explored how to use the power of story telling to
heighten the collaboration. Suggestions came about using social media as
a tool to strengthen your collaborations by cross promoting and sharing
images, information etc. Being particular also about when the information
goes to Social Media sites. There are simple yet effective ways. This potential
of collaborative story sharing can:
• Provide a voice via access to spaces and places unfamiliar.
• Build, sustain, heal disjointed communities.
44

• Offer an opportunity to explaining our practice holistically (social narrative).
• Articulate change in the field and your place in it….
• Communicate the value of collaborative practice.
• Work collaboratively may have allowed for change in one’s organization.
• Express publically the values that collaborations bring to Canadian society,
e.g., finding links to art and quality-of-life.
• We believe, we feel, we understand, we are moving towards, we need
to… we see,
• This Collaboration is relevant because…
Workshop II: Building Collaborative Practices (November 2016)
Be mindful that the expectations with many presenters are in fact centered
on collaborative opportunities and community interest aimed at broadening
horizons and facilitating processes while engaging the changing demographics
with the arts. Responsive ways of collaborating for presenters involves
collaborative transparency, values and how to share their particular focus
to the arts and social issues to challenge stagnant cultural funding models.
Building Relationships
Spend time learning about each other while making an attempt to know
the other acts presented in the theater and also ask about the timeframe
it takes to build a partnership and collaboration that is meaningful. Making
sure the audience is right is also a part of the collaboration and the artists
have a role in making that possible.
• Messaging is important to creating a collaborative partnership. How can
you create it together with a presenter?
• How can a presenter in collaboration also include an approval process
for marketing?
• Arriving at the reason for your collaboration with the presenter and coming
to the mutual understanding of needs together.
• Developing outreach suitable to the show should also be collaboration.
45

• Presenting is about also knowing the value of your work in a community,
engaging with your audience.
• Is your work created for their needs?
• Finding alliances of a cultural army through alliances.
• Follow-up its importance to acknowledge the work you did together.
• Maybe a debrief and impact report could benefit both presenters and
also your field.
• WIN THE AUTHORISERS – what are the relationships and impact statements
for the work you did together?
• Realize the presenters and theatres are in a community and that their
communities matter.
Communication Strategies With Presenters
Investment in the community of the presenters – what does this look like?
How do you engage in that activity collectively? How can you provide/
create the framework that is accessible for the presenter and audience?
How in collaboration do you transfer knowledge to the presenters and
audience? What is the knowledge of the unknown in collaborations with
a presenter? Never create communication pieces alone, create a meaningful
experience as both the presenter and artist. How do you use the Internet
in your partnerships? What is the importance of telling and creating with
presenters a social media strategy? How to assist presenters in finding “the
audience”?
Creating messages together and also having everyone say the same messaging
that is important:
• What is the central message?
• Do you know our philosophy? Does everyone know the answer?
• No one should leave without getting an answer.
• How can writing with passion help facilitate the work you are doing with
the presenters?
• THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF WORDS – sentence with a rhythm.
46

• What’s the language you use in communication with presenters?
• What’s your story in the collaborative relationships with presenters?
• How can collaborative practices with a presenter be moved forward with
the common understanding ?
• Make the collaboration fun: when and how do you interact with the physical
space?
Workshop III: Curating Collaborative Performances And Engagements
(December 2015)
Considering the time logistics in your collaboration:
• Timing of grants and impact on developing relationship for collaborative
partnerships
• Which organization assists artists and provides support for: rehearsal
space, design, dramaturgy, video recording, and promotion
• Knowing clearly whom the collaboration will assist and the values they
can achieve.
• What of touring works done collaboratively? Are there royalty issues?
Visa/permit considerations? How can organizations collaborating arrive
at a consensus?
Collaborating Administratively:
• Can foster lean administration, use of operating to network/ build
relationships, international collaborative ventures
• Finding common theme to work on, e.g., advocacy, social activism,
human rights
• Making connections and building relationships - takes time! Allow it to
happen
• How can the use of internships be helpful in supplementing while collaborating eg., Theatre Ontario, Metcalf Foundation, Ontario Art Council
access/career development

47

Workshop IV: Collaboration In Practice Scenarios / Tools Towards Meaningful
Engagements
Collaborative practice is also like creating a meaningful experience on the
spot…it’s live, it’s responsive, and it is about creating space for growth.
Collaboration is very much about a dialogue, sharing of stories involves
learning and understanding of how partnerships evolve, with an investigation into how multiple platforms can be a basis for engagement. How can
your collaboration be atypical to expectations? Collaborators should
understand change in demographics, between age, race and ethnicities.
Advance planning actually helps in understanding the goal of collaborating and also the measurement of success. Continual development of
the artist over a long period of time and also the mediums for which
they can get the collaboration out into the wider community is the focus
for theatre/community stake holders. Understanding the impact. The big
question of what happens when collaborations end? How do you continue
the meaningful engagements to make them sustainable, leaving knowledge on either side of the collaboration? Arrive at making collaborations
exponential. Presenter, artists and community relationship in collaborations,
should explore various ways of connections.
Important parts of collaboration:
• Understanding artistic program development, promotion and education.
• Artistic vision + strategy/ direction + education = Your Audience.
• Consult the community – “everybody’s in, NO one out”.
• Every inception of the basic goals should be allowed to grow, should be
reflective of change: change in the creation, practice and engagement.
• Defining success must have qualitative and quantitative indicators.
• Reciprocal relationships require clearly articulated mutual benefits/common
goal and broad scope.
• Allow your collaborations to open up networks – expanding audiences,
artistic experience, exchange of expertise, create best practices, maximize visibility, stimulate cross-pollinations.
48

• Getting trained and informed of the needs for community engagement
in your collaboration?
10 Key Success Factors:
1. Both partners must give.
2. Plan for it.
3. How do you identify potential partners?
4. Develop a plan.
5. Establish process and secure team buy-in.
6. Define success.
7. Getting a fair deal.
8. Is it not about saving money?
9. Make sure to allocate resources.
10. It is mission driven + must add to your value proposition.
* Facilitated over a six months period, workshops began in October and
ended in Spring 2016. CPAMO conducted four workshops under the explorations of Building Collaborative Practices and findings coincided with
research and documentation on collaborative practices with summation
featured in the NASO Meetings Report and this document.

The Gathering: Arts Organizations Promoting Pluralism. May 2016.

49

Section IV: Addressing Collaborative Information,
Disclosure and Permission
Here we have the form created to support seeking permission mentioned
in Section I (Methodology of Practice). As a template this form could act as
a starting point when looking at the nature of how a disclosure of information and permission can be achieved. CPAMO took into consideration the
rights of:
1. Using the information of the interviewee.
2. Right to publish this information in a public forum.
3. Using the information in the public forum of Social media or in e-news
formats. The paragraphs below can form the basis of your agreement.
[Name of Organization/ Artist] would like to thank you for being willing to
be interviewed for the Research. It is important that we enter an agreement
around the use of the information you provided during your interview, which
will act as information and findings in [date of report, book, findings etc.]
POLICY
[Name of Organization(s)/ Artist] will not disclose personal information
or that of this interview [i.e., e-mail, contacts and organization] to anyone,
including his/her employer(s), without your prior consent.
a) Names will not be mentioned unless consent is given by signing this form.
b) If you may not agree with the terms of this agreement, an agreement
with terms of reference or a memorandum of understanding maybe
be
created collectively.
c) Any information shared here will ONLY be used for the research and
report and for no other reason by the organization. (If the information
is to be used outside of the research, permission will be sought by
[name of Organization(s) / Artist]).

50

AGREEMENT
For consideration that I acknowledge, I consent to the recording of my
statements and grant to (Name of Organization(s))(the Company) and
Company’s assigns, licensees, and successors the right to copy, reproduce,
and use all or a portion of the statements (the “Interview”) for all purposes,
including advertising and in perpetuity under the following:
(i) Provide an understanding that will guide in the creation of this report;
(ii) To contact me for further clarification on the documentation and
information in this report;
(iii) To disclose this interview and it’s finding in a published and publicly
assessable report to funding bodies, other organizations and on Social
Media platforms.
I grant the right to use my image and name in connection with all uses
of the Interview and in agreeing waive the right to give or approve the
final process leading up to the publication of the report. [If the interview
subject does not wish to waive the right to inspect the final work, strike
that sentence and arrange for the interview subject to provide approval].
I may revoke the consent provided herein, in whole or in part, by providing (Name of Organization(s) / Artist) with ten (10) business days upon
signing this agreement or before (Date).
Participant’s Signature:

___________________

For (Organization(s)/ Artist

_____________________

Date:
___________________
[Feel free to add other signatories or info]

51

Section V: Annotated Bibliography
Bhaskaran, Vivek. “How to Tap Into the Collective Intelligence of Your
Workforce.” eWeek26 May 2010. Print.
In our current landscape of workplace environments, harnessing collective intelligence should be a vital part of any organization’s planning and
strategies. Aspects of putting this into practice include (i) collaboration—
specifically through use of the internet; (ii) competition—but in a way that
encourages employees to work hard as opposed to cutting corners to get
ahead; and (iii) rewards and incentives—which can work to promote both
collaborative and competition productivity in the real world.
Boehm, Mike. “Study sends ‘wake-up call’ about black and Latino arts
groups’ meager funding” Los Angeles Times. 12 Oct 2015. Web.
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-diversityarts-study-devos-black-latino-groups-funding-20151009-story.html
This article is a response to “Diversity In The Arts: The Past, Present, and
Future of African American and Latino Museums, Dance Companies, and
Theater Companies,” a study conducted by DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland. It highlights the main points
of the report (which can also be found in this bibliography) and adds
anecdotes from an interview with Michael Kaiser, the current leader of
the institute. Kaiser explains that the report was published as a ‘wake
up call’ for donors and smaller arts organization indicating that the
solution to financial disparities is to “let weaker organizations wither
so that the strongest ones can grow.” Another solution includes smaller
organizations collaborating with better-funded mainstream organizations
“by co-producing star-powered productions of well-known titles with
small companies of color in their communities.”

52

Centi, Micheal et al. “Creating Learning Organizations Through Shared
Space.” Prepared by Peabody College at Vanderbilt University. n.d. Print
https://my.vanderbilt.edu/michaelcenti/files/2013/07/Shared-Spaces.pdf
Through the use of studies, this report examines the trend of sharing space
among not-for-profit organizations. The main objective of this trend seems
to be the desire to better serve the community, as opposed to for cost
efficiency. It has been found that organizations that share space improved
their effectiveness in the following ways: “cost saving, improved quality,
increased visibility in the community, increased morale and collaboration.”
With money saved, organizations are able to create new programs for the
community, or hire new staff, thus creating jobs within the community.
Recommendations for how to implement a successful shared space are
included in the report, such as choosing an organization with similar mission,
values and/work place culture, and having an exit strategy in place in case
things don’t work out.
Coldwell, Will. “Art collectives help students get their work noticed.” The
Guardian. 03 Apr 2013. Web.
https://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/apr/09/art-collectivesget-student-work-noticed
Collaboration is a popular option for recent arts graduates, as many form
collectives as a way to have their work stand out. The article quotes a few
members of visual arts collectives, who agree that the process is beneficial
because it allows for ways to step outside your work, to make connections,
and to form a strong foundation. It is also noted that, with the use of digital technology, collaboration is easier than ever, as access is widened. The
result, according to interviewees, is an increase of opportunities.

53

“Diversity In The Arts: The Past, Present, and Future of African American and
Latino Museums, Dance Companies, and Theater Companies.” Prepared by
DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland. Sept
2015. Print.
https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/2455148/diversity-in-thearts-the-past-present-and.pdf
This study conducted by the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the
University of Maryland provides a brief history of the current landscape
in which small to medium sized arts organizations serving historically-marginalized groups in America (particularly African Americans and
Latino communities) are struggling to survive, as they are less secure than
mainstream organizations. The report indicates that “the majority [of
these organizations] are plagued by chronic financial difficulties that place
severe limits on what can be produced, how much can be produced, how
many artists are trained, and how many people are served.” The report
cites one of the main issues for this is the inability for these organizations
to cultivate individual donors, who make up more cumulative funds than
government funding. The following recommendations are offered: (i) build
stronger boards that lead arts organizations of color; (ii) invest in management education and effective staffleadership; (iii) prioritize great art rather
than new buildings; and (iv) encourage responsible philanthropy that promotes
long-termgrowth and fiscal health.
Funnell, Antony et al. “Remix: Technology, Creation and Participation.”
Future Tense. 18 May 2014. Audio.
http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/futuretense/remix:-technology,-creation-and-participation/5447620
Antony Funnell, host of podcast Future Tense, and guests Amber Naismith
(Animal Logic), Lauren Nemroff (Google Cultural Institute), Dr. John McGhee
(College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales) and Allegra Burnette
(Museum of Modern Art) have a panel discussion about arts and technologyat the Remix Summit in Sydney, Australia.There is an opportunity to
54

collaborate in the arts by using technology, however it seems that this collaborative process needs to be facilitated by exterior organizations, such
as Google, who are in the technology sector. That said, arts organizations
have collaborated well physically for years.Furthermore, everything that’s
going on really in the arts space with technology is really a bit of an ongoing
experiment, but it’s important to utilize it in some capacity, because “it
means you can get material out to the public a lot quicker, that you are
actually more relevant as well, the quicker that you can get it out.” There is
a need to education surrounding tech programs, in post-secondary school
especially, for creative individuals, thereby eliminating a need to addition
technicians. The use of technology in art has a way of attracting younger
generations, but one drawback is the expectation people have that “when
[they] look at art in this digital world they not only want it to be interactive,
they want it to be immersive.”
Galenson, David & Clayne Pope. HuffpostArts& Culture. 02 Dec 2012. Web.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-galenson/collaboration-inart-ii_b_1930264.html
Professors David Galenson & Clayne Pope outline the collaborative success
of visual artists Gilbert Proesch and George Passmores before making
three predictions—(i) “successful collaborations will be based on a shared
praxis” i.e. either experimental or conceptual; (ii) “most collaborations will
be conceptual;” and (iii) larger and more diverse artistic projects will have
a more likely collaboration rate.
Guillamet, Laia & David Roca. “The Double Face of Collaborative Art: The
Exchange of Theory and Practice.” InterArtive. n.d. Web.
http://interartive.org/2013/10/collaborative-art
Collaborative art was seen widely in the early 70s, particularly by performance
artists, including those of historically-marginalized groups, in support of
social protest. This type of collaboration raises the visibility of these groups
and ultimately establishes support of identity on both an individual and
55

group level. In creating this social dialogue, a learning environment emerges—
one that “[allows] the development of knowledge and tools that contribute
to the ‘empowerment’ of the group to which these efforts are directed.”
Furthermore, collaborative art projects encourage the development of “a
network of relationships between members of different groups that coexist
in a given social context but which are subject to significant constraints that
prevent them relate differently to imposed by tradition and stereotypes.”
Gupta, Amit. “Artist Collaboration Fuels Creative Exploration.” Huffpost
Arts& Culture. 22 Oct 2013. Web.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amit-gupta/artistic-collaboration-_b_
3763586.html
CEO and Founder of Tenlegs (an education-bases tech company in New
York) Amit Gupta uses examples of numerous notable duos—Walt Disney
& Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol & Jean Michel Basquiat, Jackson Pollack &
Lee Krasner, and David Byrne & Brian Eno—to outline that, despite the
initial reasoning for the collaboration, the process always sparks a new
creativity that would not have existed otherwise.
Kitchener, Amy & Ann Markusen. “Working with Small Arts Organizations:
How and Why It Matters.” GIA Reader: Vol 23(2). Summer 2012. Web.
http://www.giarts.org/article/working-small-arts-organizations
This article indicates that small organizations often “foster artistic expressions
not adequately served by larger organizations,” which naturally includes
historically-marginalized communities (who are often underrepresented).
It is also noted that the work of these organizations “often challenges the
dominant concepts and definitions of art, artistic quality, and value.”
Despite this importance, the report indicates that small non-profit arts
organizations are often undercounted which “reinforces under appreciation” and subsequently perpetuates underfunding, especially among ethnic, non-Euro-American, and low-income community-serving arts organizations. Underfunding is also attributed to the difficulty in stating quantifiable
56

impact. Recommendations for supporting these organizations include (i)
“offering flexible funding;” (ii) “including specialized cultural expertise
in review processes;” (iii) “offering technical assistance and fostering
peer learning networks;” (iv) “helping to define appropriate outcomes
and approaches to evaluation;” (v) “working with intermediaries;” and
(vi) “learning from other non-profit sectors.”
Kelly, Maura. “Does Artistic Collaboration Ever Work?” The Atlantic. 25
Jul 2012. Web.
http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/07/does-artistic
-collaboration-ever-work/260319/
Using the notable collaboration of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat
in the early 1980s as an example, author/freelance writer Maura Kelly
examines whether collaborative artistic practices work well. Though it has
been stated that “when it is pure art or self-expression or a deeply original
idea that needs to be developed, solitude serves,” Kelly distinguishes between
working independently and working in absolute solitude. She contends
that successful collaboration is dependent on the stage of the project—
specifically at the beginning, or the ‘idea-generating’ stage. Most artists
can benefit from the dialogue associated with collaborative practices.
Kolsky, Esteban. “Five Benefits of Using Collective Knowledge.” Stone Cobra. 16 Jan 2014. Web.
http://www.stonecobra.com/five-benefits-of-using-collective-knowledge
This article describes “collective knowledge” as “using social networks to
create, maintain, and provide access to knowledge heretofore unavailable.”
The goal is building a “knowledge ecosystem” that benefits an organization, as people who are particularly knowledgeable on a certain topic
can weigh in despite the fact that they aren’t directly involved with that
organization. That said, the information must be open and accessible,
meaning collaborating members should be willing to offer insights freely.
The article cites five ways organizations can benefit from collective knowl57

edge: (i) “access to-the-moment expertise;” (ii) “validation for their actions
and knowledge;” (iii) “feedback for their products and services;” (iv) “reduced
costs through indirect outsourcing;” and (v) “source of knowledge to augment
and improve repositories.”
Lyman, Peter et al. “Culture 3.0: Impact of Emerging Technologies on Human Resources in the Cultural Sector.” Prepared by The Cultural Human
Resources Council. Oct 2011. Print.
http://www.culturalhrc.ca/research/digitalimpact/Culture3.0_Executive_
Summary_and_Recommendations.pdf
Because digital technologies are becoming increasingly more relevant, this
report—through the use of literature review and consultation with 250
arts practitioners and cultural workers—aims to assess its impact on the
cultural sector, address its challenges, and provide recommendations take
advantage of the opportunities it offers. Many subsectors are already
embracing digital technology as part of their branding and production.
Subsectors that aren’t able to fully embrace it as part of production are
still active in terms of using it for marketing purposes. The levels of digital
adoption by each sub-sector varies. It is generally recommended that
“improvements in existing mechanisms and the creation of new ones
are needed to improve digital skills across all employment levels of all
sub-sectors.” Specific areas of interest include business skills learning
modules, digital business and marketing skills, continuous learning workspaces and leadership, mentorship programs, and collaboration tools.
McNally, Owen. “Struggles Of Historically-marginalized Artists Described.”
Hartford Courant. 18 Oct 1993. Web.
http://articles.courant.com/1993-10-18/news/0000003265_1_mainstream-art-cultural-diversity-haitian-art
This article tackles the issue of historically-marginalized artists being unable
to make it into mainstream art, causing them to burn out and eventually
leave the field or relocate. One main issue is mainstream organizations
58

representing historically-marginalized groups without having consultations
from members of those groups. This was recognized as a problem in
Hartford, CT, resulting in the creation of a plan of action that stressed
the importance of education, calling it “a key tool in enriching the mainstream with cultural diversity.” It was noted that, due to the increasingly
diverse market, arts organizations would have to change and accommodate in order to avoid dying “just as symphonies have died and ballets have
died around the country.”
Miranda, Maria. “Small is beautiful: artist-run collectives count, but they’re
facing death by a thousand cuts.” The Conversation. 23 Mar 2016. Web.
http://theconversation.com/small-is-beautiful-artist-run-collectivescount-but-theyre-facing-death-by-a-thousand-cuts-52684
Discounting the myth that artist-run centers are solely meant to serve as a
starting point for emerging artists, this article argues the necessity of ARCs
throughout an artist’s career. The most important benefit cited is that ARCs
“point of connection for artists, audiences, ideas and projects.” As a result,
they provide invaluable opportunities for the community in which it is located, especially its historically-marginalized members. However, because
funding agencies don’t always recognize this importance, ARC are often
underfunded. This article advocates for fair funding practices in regards to
non-hierarchical and collaborative organizations.
MIT Sloan Executive Education. “Will collective intelligence change the way
we work?” MIT Sloan School’s innovation@work Blog. 03 Apr 2016. Web.
http://executive.mit.edu/blog/will-collective-intelligence-change-theway-we-work#.V8h_Nz4rJ-U
Collective intelligence is most rapidly expanding through the use of the
Internet. Through real time connections, it’s possible for humans and
machine to “act more intelligently than any one person, group, or computer
has acted before.” In organizational structures, this type of collaboration
leads to a flattening of traditional hierarchies. As a result, there arises a
59

“paradox of power,” meaning when the leader gives decision-making
power to the group, they subsequently gain a different type of power.
That said, the article suggests that leaders will not become obsolete,
but rather just need to focus on developing specific qualities such as
vision, encouragement, and inclusion. One challenge cited in the article
is the fact that some groups are not as smart as others, which is dependent
on factors such as “the degree to which all group members participate
equally, social perceptiveness within the group, and the number of
women in a group.” Issues also arise when herd mentality is in play.
Thomas Malone, MIT organizational theorist, describes benefits of collective
intelligence including the fact people are more motivated, hardworking,
often more creative, and able to adapt to changing situations more easily.
Moosajee, Saad. “Advantages Of Collective Collaboration in Online Art
Collectives.” Envato Tuts+. 17 Aug 2010. Web.
http://design.tutsplus.com/articles/advantages-of-collective-collaboration-in-online-art-collectives--psd-9979
While this article offers benefits to joining an art collective (i.e. access to
unique critiques, ability to create a fusion of styles, being part of a community,
etc.), it’s truly illuminating insight is how virtual relations have impacted
collaboration. Online art collectives have the advantage of including
members in remote locations, thereby allowing participation of unique
styles.
Novick, Rebecca. “Please, Don’t Start a Theater Company!” GIA Reader:
Vol 22(1). Spring 2011. Web.
http://www.giarts.org/article/please-dont-start-theater-company
This article opens by explaining that while the amount of nonprofit theater
companies has increased over the past few years, funding has decreased.
One reason cited for the increase of companies is the lack of jobs in theatre
for emerging artists, prompting them to create their own work. This article
provides some suggestions to combat the issue, the most important being
60

an urge for flexible funding possibilities. As it stands now, funders have
constrained the structures of companies, missing that “because organizations
do different work, they may need different structures to support their work.”
Olivia, Sandy & Cindy Scott. “Collaboration and Co-Location: How
Two Nonprofits Are Beating the Recession and Helping More People.”
onPhilanthropy. 28 Jun 2010. Web.
http://onphilanthropy.com/2010/collaboration-and-co-location-how-twononprofits-are-beating-the-recession-and-helping-more-people
This article serves as a case study for two organizations in Long Island,
NY—Nassau County Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Coalition
Against Child Abuse and Neglect—who came together create a new center
called The Safe Place. Their collaboration was successful both economically
and in terms of community impact. The article cites collaborative fundraising
and strong communication as a major benefit of the center, as having a
compelling joint story and telling it effectively was necessary to keep the
endeavour afloat.
Orsi, Janelle. “How Nonprofits Can Share Down Their Costs (Part I).” Sharable. 21 Jan 2010. Web.
http://www.shareable.net/blog/how-nonprofits-can-share-down-theircosts-part-i
When not-for-profit organizations collaborate, it’s typically with the intention
of jointly delivering services, which is attractive for grant makers, as their funding is thought to have a higher impact. This article suggests additional ways for
collaboration, aside from the traditional objectives. Sharing space is the most
relevant form of collaboration, and can even be done with partners who don’t
necessarily have similar missions. This is ideal, as it “creates opportunities for
cross pollination, incubation of ideas [and] greater visibility.” Additional forms
of collaborations include combining functions, sharing physical items, and
sharing bargaining power. All of these forms of collaboration are good for
saving costs but also expanding operations.
61

Penn, Joanna. “7 Benefits Of An Author Collective.” The Creative Penn. 05
Aug 2012. Web.
http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2012/08/05/author-collective
Written by a member of Triskele Books, an author collective in the UK, this
article highlights some of the benefits of collaboration in the publishing industry (though these concepts are not exclusive to only publishing and can
be considered on a broader arts landscape): (i) “independence” – the ability
to have freedom, but with the comfort of unity; (ii) “identity” – motivation
to be strive for the higher standard associated with the group; (iii) “support”
– opportunity to learn from others and improve; (iv) “Twelve-eye principle”
– multiple people fine tuning work to perfection; (v) “networks” – higher
chances for outreach and opportunities; (vi) “finances” – ease on monetary
strain due to shared resources; and (vii) “trust” – growth based on “ trusted
opinions and valued integrity.”
Poole, David & Sophie Le-Phat Ho. “Digital Transitions and the Impact
of New Technology On the Arts.” Prepared by the Canadian Public Arts
Funders (CPAF) network. Jun 2011. Print.
http://www.cpaf-opsac.org/en/themes/documents/DigitalTransitionsReport
-FINAL-EN.pdf
This report summarizes the current digital transition and outline its impact
on the arts, as well as supply recommendations for change regarding public
art funders. Social media is used commonly among the sector in three ways:
“helping to bring audiences to performances and to artworks by matching
art to people who are looking for it, providing a platform to create art and
carry on dialogue and debates around communities of interest and giving
organizations tools to listen to the public and build arts awareness.” General
findings include: digital technology is utilized more efficiently in sub-sectors
which are not live in nature, consumers are not willing to pay for arts online,
and many funders are looking to switch to an online application process.

62

“Racial Equity in Arts Philanthropy: Statement of Purpose.” Prepared by
Grantmakers in the Arts. 20 Jan 2016. Print.
https://www.giarts.org/sites/default/files/GIA-racial-equity-statement
-of-purpose.pdf
American granting agency Grantmakers in the Arts put out a statement
declaring their dedication to increase arts funding for African, Latino, Asian,
Arab, and Native American artists. The reasoning behind this decision was
based on evidence proving that “sustained racialized public policies and
institutional practices … have resulted in unequal access to resources.”
Because all people have a right to celebrate their culture, and because
artists have a unique ability to resolve societal inequity and injustice,
funding underrepresented artists this has become a priority for the agency. They have created a list of actions to achieve this objective, including
“intentionally [considering and selecting] members from ALAANA populations for the GIA board of directors and staff.”
Rosenblatt, Lauren. “For historically-marginalized artists in Pittsburgh, race
plays a factor in the hunt for funding.” PublicSorce. 11 Apr 2016. Web.
http://publicsource.org/investigations/for-historically-marginalized-artists
-pittsburgh-race-plays-factor-hunt-for-funding#.V3T-9mQrLjA
This article highlights the uneven distribution of funding available to
historically-marginalized artists in Pittsburgh, PA, but notes that the issue is
not specific to that region. Referencing the disproportionate gap between
the percentage of the population represented by individuals of colour verses POC working in arts organizations, it is suggested that grants tailored
to specific historically-marginalized groups is a necessity. That said, sometimes artists of colour feel “pigeonholed into representing ‘her blackness,’”
and often have a difficult time obtaining general grants. Furthermore, once
the power dynamics in the art world are understood, solutions are possible,
provided that they originate from within the community.

63

Segedin, Leo. “Making It: Race, Gender and Ethnicity in the Artworld.”
Segedin. 26 Jan 1993. Web.
http://www.leopoldsegedin.com/essay_detail_making.cfm
This article looks at the difficulties historically-marginalized artists experience
while trying to “make it” within the art world, which has a tendency to be
very outwardly racist, sexist and ethnophobic. Attempts at diversity are often
offensive, because they are usually not coming from the group in which
they represent (i.e. they are often filtered through a colonialist perspective). The article cites a history of exclusion regarding who defines “quality
art”—art critics had very seldom included anyone other than wealthy cist
straight white males. Work outside of what was created by these groups
(i.e. that of historically-marginalized groups) became considered low quality, thereby excluding it from prestigious galleries and museums. In other
words, “no area of modern intellectual life has been more resistant to recognizing and authorizing people of color than the world of the ‘serious’
visual arts.” In a slow changing environment, there conflict among historically-marginalized artists who must choose between attempting to “make
it” in the mainstream art world which is resistant to accept their works, or
to be content making works outside of the mainstream, where they will
not be attacked for presenting work that is “too ‘ethnic’ on the one hand
or too personal, emotional or political on the other”—an unjust criticism
that is voiced much too often.
Scutari, Mike. “What Can Other Cities Learn from the Advancing Black
Arts in Pittsburgh Program?” Inside Philanthropy. 03 Jun 2014. Web.
http://www.insidephilanthropy.com/arts-education/2014/6/3/what-canother-cities-learn-from-the-advancing-black-arts-in.html
By focusing on the “Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh” program funded
by The Pittsburgh Foundation and the Heinz Endowments in Pittsburgh,
PA, this article indicates the benefits of targeted funding, as well as what
other cities can learn. It lays out successful aspects of the program (i.e.
“identifies the ‘root causes’ of a traditional lack of funding” and “speaks
64

to the impact of these problems”) before outlining the important objectives programs like this should adopt: “(i) build the careers of artists; (ii)
increase the sustainability of cultural organizations that focus on black art;
(iii) build community awareness around the black arts sector; and (iv)
support connections to ‘larger and predominantly European-based arts
organizations.’”
Scutari, Mike. “There’s a Disparity in Arts Funding Along Racial Lines.
How Can It Be Fixed?” Inside Philanthropy. 19 Apr 2016.
Web.http://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2016/4/19/theres-adisparity-in-arts-funding-along-racial-lines-how-ca.html
This article reacts to the evident national problem caused by lack of
resources and disparity in arts funding for historically-marginalized artists,
which is directly related to seemingly unconscious discrimination. Major
factors cited include (i) inability to retain exceptional in-house talent, as
they often find higher-paying jobs at larger organizations; (ii) lack of diversity on grant-making panels; (iii) granting panels overthinking allocation by
only rewarding money to projects that explicitly deal with issues relating to
ethnicity and/or culture, as opposed to general works by POC; and (iv) “the
perverse notion … that people are being reverse racist by creating their
own cultural provide grants for “general opportunities,” as opposed to only
project specific grants, as this would allow for artists to improve their skills
before embarking on specific projects.
Sherwin, Brian. “Collaboration in Art — mutual respect, mutual work,
mutual exposure.” Fine Art Views. 21 Aug 2011. Web.
http://faso.com/fineartviews/34275/collaboration-in-art-mutualrespect-mutual-work-mutual-exposure
As implied by the title, the tangible benefits to collaborative artistic practices
include a mutually created work that gains mutual exposure for all artists
involved. The process of completing this work becomes important, as it
requires respect and an open mind from both artists, as well as the setting
65

aside of egos. Brian Sherwin—an art critic, blogger, curator, artist and writer based near Chicago—asserts that art is always somewhat of a conversation
between the work and the artist, meaning that collaborations simply extend
that conversation to involve the work and multiple artists, as opposed to just
one. Collaborative art can be a powerful experience, as “each artist will likely
inform the other on how to improve the direction of the combined effort.”
Siegel, Beth et al. “Measuring Collaboration: The Benefits and Impacts
of Nonprofit Centers.” Prepared by The NonprofitCenters Network and
Tides. 2011. Print.
https://www.tides.org/fileadmin/user/ncn/Measuring_Collaboration_
Executive_Summary.pdf
This report is the first impact study of shared non-profit facilities (also
known as “non-profit centers”) in the US and Canada. After providing an
overview of non-profit centers, citing benefits (e.g. revenue generations,
productivity, community infrastructure, etc.), and citing impacts for people,
place, and society (e.g. more community members served, revitalization
of surrounding area, environmental improvements, etc.), the report lists a
number of key findings that inform how organizations are taking advantage
of this type of collaboration. The most important finding is that “centers
produce tangible positive impacts—increasing the availability and quality
of services to local residents, supporting the revitalization of economically
distressed areas, and promoting the broader social welfare through applying
sound environmental design and operations, and serving as a catalyst for
improved public policies.”
Smith, Sarah E. K. “‘Working in the Space Between’: Understanding Collaboration in Contemporary Artistic Practice.” Reviews in CulturalTheory.
01 Nov 2012. Web.
http://www.reviewsinculture.com/?r=97
Reviewing the work of Grant Kester, Queens University Professor Sarah
E.K. Smith comments on the recent growth of collaborative practices,
66

describing it as a “paradigm shift within the field of art.” The shift is broken
down into the move toward collective production and the changing focus
to processed-based work (particularly those with audience participation
in mind). Furthermore, Smith highlights that collective projects produce a
different form of knowledge that can only form based on the participants’
unique personal experiences. She concludes by quoting Kester, who explains,
“thorough evaluation of collaborative art can reveal a more complex model
of social change and identity.”
Sullivan, Patrick. “Sharing Spaces, Costs.” The Non Profit Times. 02 Dec
2014. Web.
http://www.thenonprofittimes.com/news-articles/sharing-spaces-costs
While this article explains many benefits of shared space arrangements, it
is also one of the few that outlines some of the obstacles. The main issue
cited is, understandably, scheduling of common spaces such as meeting or
conference rooms. Challenges can easily arise in situations where there are
no set rules in place. In agreeing to share space, sometimes an organization
becomes a landlord for the first time and thus may be inexperienced with
handling such conflicts. Other times, however, if both organizations have
equal power in the collaboration agreement, it’s easy to get stuck during
conflict resolution. This issue can be combatted with proper planning and
documented procedures, which have been agreed upon be all affected
partied, in place.
Thomson, Kristin et al. “Arts Organizations and Digital Technologies.”
Prepared by Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.
04 Jan 2013. Print.
http://www.pewinternet.org/files/old-media//Files/Reports/2013/PIP_
ArtsandTechnology_PDF.pdf
Using a survey that polled 1258 arts organizations, this report confirms
that “cultural organizations like theater companies, orchestras, and art
museums are using the internet, social media, and mobile apps to draw
67

in and engage audiences, provide deeper context around art, and disseminate their work beyond the stage and the gallery.” Key Findings include:
technology use is pervasive in arts organizations, social media allow new
forms of audience participation in the arts, and technology expands access
to the arts. New challenges with the digital include getting tech funding
and bringing staff up to speed. Arts organizations agree the technology is
very useful to their organization, however there are negative aspects, including
that digital technology negatively impacts the experience at in-person events.
Woodard, Benjamin. “Rogers Park Art Collective Would Help Lonely Artists, Organizers Say.” DNAinfo Chicago. 9 May 2014. Web.
https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140509/rogers-park/rogers-parkart-collective-would-help-lonely-artists-organizers-say
This article serves as a call for artists to join a new arts collective in Chicago’s
Rogers Park to combat the issue of artists in the area working in isolation.
Incentives cited for joining are twofold—there is a benefit to the artists, in
that they may gain inspiration and motivation, as well as a benefit to the
community, who have the opportunity to be exposed to new works and
who may gain inspiration themselves.
Documents produced by funding and/or researcher agencies that suggest
collaboration promotes equity in the arts:
Louis, Skye & Leah Burns “Arts& Equity Toolkit.” Prepared by Neighbourhood Arts Network. n.d. Print.
http://avnu.ca/avnu/uploads/2014/03/NeighbourhoodArtsNetwork_ArtsEquityToolkit1.pdf
Mathur, Ashok et al. “Equity within the Arts Ecology: Traditions and Trends.”
Prepared by the Centre for Innovation in Culture and the Arts in Canada
(CICAC). Oct 2011. Web.
http://www.cpaf-opsac.org/en/themes/documents/CPAFEquityWithintheArtsEcology-FINAL-EN_000.pdf
68

“Supporting Cultural Advocacy, Policy, and Equity in New York City.” Prepared by New YorkCity Cultural Agenda Fund in The New York Community
Trust. n.d. Web.
http://www.nycommunitytrust.org/AboutTheTrust/CollaborativeFunds/
NewYorkCityCulturalAgendaFund/tabid/729/Default.aspx
Torres, F. Javier et al. “Advancing Equity in Arts and Cultural Grantmaking:
Perspectives from Five Funders.” GIA Reader: Vol 23(1). Winter 2012. Web.
http://www.giarts.org/article/advancing-equity-arts-and-cultural-grantmaking
Yoshitomi, Jerry et al. “Cultural Equity Dialogues: Artistic Marginalization.”
GIA Reader: Vol 23(3). Fall 2012. Web.
http://www.giarts.org/article/cultural-equity-dialogues

The Gathering: Arts Organizations Promoting Pluralism. May 2016.

69

Section VI: Workshops on Collaborative Practices
2015-16

70

71

72

73

74

75

Section VII: CPAMO Mandate and History
Board Of Directors: John Ryerson, Farwah Gheewala, Alicia Rose, Sheniz
Janmohamed, Perry Voulgaris and Astrid Ho
Administrative Staff: charles c. smith (Executive Director), Kevin A. Ormsby
(Program Manager), Victoria Glizer (Program Assistant) and Venessa Harris
(Report Research Assistant).
Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO) began officially
in 2009 as a movement ofIndigenous and racialized artists seeking opportunities to engage with presenters across Ontarioand to enable presenters
to develop constructive relationships with Indigenous and racializedartists.
However, there was much that happened before then to get to this point.
In 2002, the nowExecutive Director of CPAMO, charles c. smith, began
meeting with artists and presenters to get asense of the issues, challenges
and concerns in the arts communities and to understand what mightneed
to be done to promote more diverse performances on stages across
Ontario. It wasn’t until apartnership between Ontario Presents that CPAMO
received its first grants from the Ontario TrilliumFoundation and the
Canada Council for the Arts. Following this, CPAMO was successful in
receivinggrants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Ministry of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation (as it wasthen). These funds, mostly administered
by Ontario Presents, were for projects to support building arelationship
between Indigenous, racialized artists and presenters – a process that started
in January 2010.
At the center of CPAMO’s work is the belief in pluralism as a way to move
beyond simplyacknowledging culturally diverse arts organizations. CPAMO
seeks to achieve an energeticengagement with diversity and actively seeks
to build relationships based on understanding acrosslines of artistic and
cultural difference. CPAMO works to establish a new paradigm of pluralism
wherewe do not leave our identities and beliefs behind, instead we hold
76

our genuine differences not inisolation, but in relationship to each other. This
level of understanding is achieved through dialogue,revealing our common
understandings and authentic differences.
In this context, CPAMO has functioned as a network of Indigenous and
racialized artists involved intheatre, music, dance, visual and literary arts.
CPAMO’s overarching goal is to help foster the creation of high quality art
from diverse backgrounds and support its presentation on all stages in
Ontario. Toachieve this, CPAMO is committed to a grassroots approach,
always shaping its programs andactivities from the members needs. Over
the past five years CPAMO has engaged a significantnumber of arts organizations, artists, facilitators to provide very successful workshops.
CPAMO has been involved in six principle activities:
1) Coordinating public forums/Town Halls on pluralism in the arts
2) Providing showcases of Indigenous and racialized artists
3) Coordinating professional development opportunities
4) Engaging in networking activities within the arts
5) Conducting research and promoting member activities
6) Delivering presentations at conferences and other forums.
CPAMO believes it must be a catalytic entity to support change for Indigenous
and racialized artistsand arts organization, in the arts sector and in the
broader community as well.
Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario
www.cpamo.org
Instagram and Twitter @cpamoontario
Facebook search for CPAMO

77