10. 04. 2019
In creating the structure and the budget for Art Squad, one of the core things we wanted each of the squad to have was space to explore and invest in their particular pathway. Specifically I wanted for each squad member to have actual dollars they could invest in their professional development. I’ve had this kind of support in my career and I know how valuable it is to learn and grow. So in the final Art Squad budget, each member of the squad has $1000 to put towards pursuing one or more opportunities that will support their learning, exploring and networking.
Now $1000 doesn’t go very far for regional people – it’s mostly accommodation, travel and food to attend a thing – but can be the difference between being able to access that opportunity or not.
In our first few months after forming the squad I did a 1:1 ‘skills audit’ with each squad member where I asked them about their strengths and weaknesses and about their goals and aspirations. This was the first layer of starting to nudge some thinking about PD. Earlier this year I started pushing each of them a bit more with questions like ‘what do you want to get out of this year? what are your longer term goals and what would help you get there?’ and by sharing a regular stream of links to opportunities on the squad’s Slack (#opportunities channel) to show the kinds of things they could do. I also tagged them in opportunities on Facebook if they related to their artform.
I’ve been working in the arts sector for a while now so I know where to go for information, I have personal and professional networks, I have pages and newsletters I follow that feed me information and I know what’s interesting to me in terms of which organisations/opportunities align with my creative pathway. But how do you know about opportunities if you’re just starting out? How do you know where to find useful newsletters or job listings or other opportunities? So what I’m trying to do is just give the squad access to a broad range of sources and information. Seeding some ideas. Providing some line of sight.
From my perspective as Creative Producer, the process of each squad member figuring out how to use their $1000 PD allocation also creates an opportunity to practice some of the skills needed to pitch an idea, to make decisions and to think about strategic impact. Once a squad member decides on an PD opportunity they would like to pursue they have a verbal conversation with me about the opportunity and then I ask them to write me (no more than one A4 page) a summary of the opportunity and what it will cost. From there we lock in the details together – every opportunity is different – and book/pay for whatever needs it. In my part of the process, I also need to clear it with my manager as the budget for Art Squad sits with them (in some roles and projects I’ve had direct oversight but as this is a co-managed and co-funded role it’s sometimes a bit more complicated behind the scenes). Obviously I do that bit before we pay for anything! Hah!
As the squad undertake PD, I will be adding links below to separate posts with some photos, a brief summary of what their PD was and some reflections on what they got out of it. Which should be way more interesting than me yammering on about why we’re doing – but I reckon the behind the scenes stuff IS important to know!