With an increased demand on artistic programming, Common Weal recognized it could not respond to every idea or request. The organization had to be strategic in project development carefully choosing partners and artists, but also finding ways to help build capacity in the community to do their own community arts projects. The artistic team revisited the programming vision to clarify the shared values required in the development of new partnerships. We recognized that there were other advisory and training roles for the organization in supporting artists and communities. This publication was produced in response to the great interest and expressed needs of many community organizers, artists, and grassroots groups who said they wanted practical, ‘down to earth’ tools and techniques that would help them become more effective in their community arts collaborations.
With this in mind, Common Weal decided to document its model of working, based on the spirit of collaboration and a located aesthetic. The toolkit was tested through a training module workshopped to 30 individuals at a weekend retreat in Lumsden, including themes of artist residencies, cultural awareness, facilitation and conflict resolution, strategic planning and evaluation, and hands on creative collaboration activities.