Part of our research into partnerships in the ASC! project consisted of conversations with artists, academics, representatives from ASC organizations, and representatives from major funders that support ASC partnerships. We conducted 48 semi-structured, one-on-one interviews with different participants from across Canada.
In these interviews, participants were invited to reflect on specific ASC partnerships they had been a part of, as well as developments and issues related to ASC partnerships in the field as a whole. Interview questions were modified depending on the interviewee’s background and emergent themes. Sample questions included:
Please describe this project: what were its original goals and final outcome?
What partners participated in the project? Why were they chosen and/or what were their motivations to participate?
How did the partnership come into being? Who initiated it?
What were the major successes and challenges for you across your whole experience with the project? (communications, scheduling, logistics, budget, etc.)
- What contributed to the partnership’s success?
- What methods/strategies did you find effective to overcome these challenges?
Project planning in partnership
Describe the planning process:
- Who was involved?
- What processes did you use?
- How long did it take?
- How was the project governed?
What was/is the fiscal or contractual arrangement that you have with your partners?
Which partners were involved in the creation and monitoring of budgets?
Have safety or ethics ever become concerns in a project? How do you handle these?
What are strategies that you use when engaging in cross-cultural work?
Do you work with a community translator?
Is there a process of preparation or introduction for facilitators entering a community?
Stewardship and Sustainability
How long do your partnerships generally last?
What are the benefits and challenges of sustaining long-term partnerships?
In long-term partnerships, do partners’ roles in the partnership tend to evolve over time? Does the process of project planning change?
Evaluation and Assessment
How did you measure the impact of the project? What methods did you use?
When working on a project in partnership with other organizations, do you usually do some form of evaluation together?
Did your internal assessment process differ from your reporting to funders/financial supporters?
[Question for funders] What forms of evaluation and reporting does your funding agency seek from recipients of funds upon the completion of a project? Have you found particular methods to be more effective than others? What difficulties have you encountered
What resources were needed to support the project, and what were the sources of these resources?
What was the extent of funders’ involvement in the project? Do funders influence the nature of the project?
[Question for funders] What criteria/protocols need to be evident in funding proposals that involve partnerships? How does your funding agency (and/or peer juries) evaluate proposed partnerships between ASC and non-arts organizations?
Partnerships in the field of ASC
Can you speak about the evolution of partnerships between arts and non-arts organizations and individuals in the context of community-engaged arts over the last eight to ten years? In what sectors are you seeing the most fertile collaborations?
What do you see as the major challenges in the creation, operation and evaluation of partnerships between sectors?
[Question for funders] Does your agency actively promote possible partnerships or provide resources to support their creation?
What is your advice to other artists or organizations contemplating or newly launching ASC partnerships?