Understanding the nature of social change and planning together has proven extremely useful. More on these meetings soon!
Reflecting on our methodology and planning for the evaluation process at the start - this is just the right setting!
We particularly like the above evaluation slide presented by Synergia Ltd who synthesised outcomes from the projects in previous funding rounds.
And, yes - we too think that talking about 'raising awareness' is just too vague to be considered as impact as such - any activity in our field would raise awareness as a byproduct - so why stop here?
Let's rather start with the most daring outcomes and test our project against them. This is just what we know at this point of the project... but will collate and collect more thoughts and data as we progress. Our future posts will measure our progress against the same parameters.
1. Build change capability
The organisational analysis we will carry out about our activity will uncover what leverage points can be addressed to enhance the system change capability.
2. Change professional and service practices
Community development - to take into consideration all citizens!
Disability service providers - to test what constitutes authentic community participation - as opposed to token participation.
...and no - driving a person to the public pool, waiting on the sideline for them to finish their swim and driving them back home does not constitute community participation - get real!!
3. Build inclusive environments
One of our partners is an organisation that provides support for clients of the mental health system. A number of their clients are artists who report varying degrees of isolation. Some of this isolation is self-imposed as they battle with social phobia and communication challenges - however in discussion with them, their support worker understood that joining an artist group with the right support would make a significant contribution towards their goal of participation... except there is no artist network in our region. Partnering with Creative Waikato proved effective in kickstarting this artist network. The disabled artists joined in to help gather names and information about local artists, collate contact details from various sources in the community and planning the first sessions.
Unintended change: at first, our community partners perceived that because we are working with disabled artists, our focus is on disability - they asked "what will the next meetings focus on?"... This was a great opportunity to clarify that - ahem... we are working to build an artist network with the help of all artists... nope - we are not focused on disability but on topics that are at the core of professional art practice - like getting your work in the best galleries and exhibitions!!!!
4. Challenge entrenched social and cultural norms
Working side by side on creative projects, people will experience first hand the value of human nature - by knowing each other more, we will reduce negativity, fear and the negative attitudes that go with prejudice as well as provide marginalised people with healing and participative experiences.
Our research will document what the thoughts, attitudes and behaviours accompany this collaborative experience. We will collect the data that shows what the success elements are that enable this to happen - or what barriers prevent this 'raprochement' from occurring.
We will test how both parties come closer to closing the gap in attitudes. It is a movement that involves parties on either side to engage on the bridge and move towards each other.
5. Mobilise partners
Our community partners are enthused! The work produced by ARTS2GETHER encounters will provide the backdrop for a National Community Hui about Using Creativity as a Community Development channel!! Our artists' work has secured a home and will represent a cause!
Those disability service providers that 'get it' welcome collaboration with our project - we have a common goal! More on this later.
6. Foster dialogue and debate
Our materials will be presented to engage actors and agents of change with the questions that matter.