To help future projects to plan successfully, here is a summary of the main challenges faced by both projects:
Time for planning and reflection is vital. If planning is shared, practitioners and artists can support each other better in settings. Reflection after a session embeds learning and develops practice.
Although the Open Sesame project ran over a period of seven months, it was not felt to be long enough, and there was not enough reflection time built in, especially for the practitioners.
Working out a way to work with an artist in a busy setting with a wide age range demands that the sessions be structured to fit in with the way the setting is organized, but also requires flexibility within the staff team so that the artist is supported, and the practitioners can get the most benefit from their working relationship with the artist.
Scheduling time away from the setting for practitioners to attend meetings or training sessions needs to be allowed for:
“It can sometimes be challenging to schedule time away from the setting but when you organise yourself and staff effectively it can be achieved.” Practitioner – Open Sesame project
Changes to staffing, absence for illness or other reasons will have an effect on the project because it will affect the relationships that are built with artists and continuity of the work. Changes are often unavoidable and hard to anticipate, but can be mitigated by sharing the project work amongst a number of staff members.
Working with freelance artists
Artists not being paid for sessions, or contributing unpaid time can get in the way of successful working relationships between artists and settings. Ensure that contracts or other clear forms of agreement are drawn up, and that you understand the mechanisms for invoicing and payment.
Artists are likely to have other commitments so be sure that their sessions and the time for planning and reflection is scheduled in advance.