Ceramics and Architecture
When we first set up the studio, there were five of us, and we already knew each other. We very quickly realised that we would have to take the finances of our venture very seriously, as we had a hefty rent to pay compared to the tuppence the previously landlord charged us. We quickly drafted a ‘User Agreement’ which would form the basis for new members of our co operative to join. It is very simple; a back-to-back agreement with our lease, that includes an exit strategy, some stipulations that you can’t be a production potter (that would use too much of the resources) and some other bits and bobs, like agreeing to attend meetings.
Now we have ten members, and want to make our arrangement more robust.
First we met with Cultural Enterprise, who have an amazingly useful website with allsorts of information for small creative businesses. We had a very useful and inspiring chat with them, which led to us thinking that instead of writing a whole ‘constitution’ from scratch, we could use the existing user agreement and make it more robust.
The meeting helped us get more clarity on the issues; what is our group about? Do we want to make money? Are we tied to the space, or would we disband if the studio was unavailable? It was suggested that we should go to an event called Collaborate For Success, which was hosted by Creative Edinburgh [there is sooo much helpful advice out there if you go looking for it and know what you want]
Anyway, the event was held in the lovely Hawthornden Lecture Theatre in the undercroft of the National Galleries complex on the Mound. I arrived late, just as they were setting out beer, wine and nibbles for about 100 people. (Un)fortunately only 40 people used their free tickets, so there was rather a lot of wine! It was an excellent event, it’s a shame that more people didn’t use their tickets.
The main things that stuck out to me were the need to establish a GOAL for the group, even if it is as simple as ‘make pottery and share facilities’. Then you all need to be working TOWARDS THE GOAL. If one person is not working towards the goal, it’s completely pointless and destructive for them to be a member of the group. You wouldn’t believe what simple logic this is, and yet…
There were very interesting and diverse speakers, such as the CEO of an app consortium AppyNation, who work together to release and market games, and a lawyer who often sees the messy ends of collaborations gone wrong! The lawyer had some great tips for spotting problems before they occur.
Although we have come a long way since early 2011 – when we got the keys to the studio – we’re really only just starting, and I feel like we have an opportunity to make a really great group. I mean, we already HAVE a really great group, but we should be pushing our good points to make sure we can get more facilities and be in a position to get some much-needed funding!
Wordy post. Have a picture!