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Experiment #1: Step into the Laboratory - Appreciative Inquiry

Hypothesis: Facilitating conversations between colleagues and artists outside of our ‘normal procedures’ helps us to better understand the value of our work and our roles.

#10Experiments kicked off with two sessions to present the project and gather ideas for future experiments; the first involved Bow Arts colleagues, and the second enabled conversations between project managers and artists who work on our education programme.

The sessions were an acknowledgement that we, as an organisation, a team, and individuals, already have many of the tools and resources to further unlock and release the potential of artists working with schools, so it made sense to start the process by turning inward. They were a deliberate effort to step back from ‘delivery’ and the modus operandi of communication, and to gain a different perspective on our work and individual practices.

 “I feel empowered by discussions like this…they help me to step outside perceived and actual hierarchies in our organisation and feel able to contribute my ideas and experience in a real way.”

We used the Appreciative Inquiry technique to mine and reflect on our strengths and motivations; to both celebrate our achievements and think about how we could build on them. These conversations created a springboard from which we could consider future experiments. These ranged from playing with evaluation practices and creating forums for sharing practice to transforming a school hall into a beach and giving children and young people a greater say in the direction of projects.

“So many possibilities. Love hatching up all the ingredients, and all the endless combinations these could be. Who, what, when, how, scale, places...”

“Given the opportunity, people are quite interested in and driven by the theory behind our work, which makes me think that they actually want more time to develop their understanding of their jobs and the potential impact they can have.”