Collaboration In An Age Of Individuality, by David Scarborough

Written by David Scarborough, Creative Director and Team leader at Modern Painters, New Decorators.


Modern Painters, New Decorators is an artist-led organisation running a gallery, shop and studios from a shopping centre in Loughborough, East Midlands. They enable artists to re-energise the local by producing free contemporary art exhibitions, artist-produced products and creative membership schemes. MPND are known for their collaborative approach to exhibition-making and their unique volunteer development programme. The project was started in 2017 by artists and makers with a connection to the town.


Want to join our upcoming live WebinArt events with MPND? Click here to find out how to join the WebinArt community.

  • 08/12/20 (6pm) - In Conversation with Modern Painters, New Decorators

  • 15/12/20 (6pm) - How to: Work Collaboratively; Building Relationships with Artists, Teams and Organisations.


Pitchfork: Your career has involved a lot of intense artistic collaboration. What do you get out of working with other people?

Bjork: I've talked a lot about it with Arca [who worked on Vulnicura]. We talk a lot about merging—when you merge with another person, when you lose yourself—and how we don't like that merging is looked upon as a weakness. I think it's a talent that a lot of women have. They become the other half of someone. Sometimes it's looked down upon, but it's a strength. It's the feeling of losing yourself to something that's bigger than you. It's 1+1 is 3.


Bjork in conversation with Pitchfork, 2017


When was the last time you collaborated, or were encouraged to collaborate?


Collaboration is a key interpersonal skill that we each use, often on a daily basis. But how fruitful these relations are will often depend on how worthwhile we really see our relationships - and what motives are behind our creative partnerships.


collaboration

noun

The action of working with someone to produce something.

"he wrote a book in collaboration with his son"

Similar: cooperation, alliance, partnership, participation, combination



For those of us in our western, often capitalist, often progressive culture, collaboration is not always encouraged. Our desire for a quick result, for a short answer, does not allow for the complexities and subtleties of mature adult relationships. We are pushed to extremes of views, both politically and socially. Our key communication channels are built to focus on individual identities, brands or lifestyles. We celebrate the artist as an individual genius.


It is so much harder to not only prefer the other, but to work with another. Working with other people slows us down, it takes longer to complete our targets, we have to express complex ideas or emotions, we are required to develop self-awareness. We may struggle to get on with others or see or understand their point of view. We may view others competitively, wanting to access or achieve things that they are also going for. We may be precious about our own brand or work, and working with another could disrupt this in inconvenient or damaging ways.


In my mind, collaboration and the idea of ‘the common goal’ is currently a countercultural idea. A common goal is an idea of the future or desired result that a group of people envision, plan and commit to achieve. When we choose to commit to a common goal, we commit ourselves to a set of relationships and ideas. We are unable to hold onto the mirage of control that we have over our own lives.


Common goals have the ability to unite us. It’s about understanding and seeing our similarities, our commonality, and valuing or bringing worth to our differences. Research commissioned by Eden Project initiative The Big Lunch found that disconnected communities could be costing the UK economy £32 billion every year. The Campaign To End Loneliness reported that in total, 45% of adults feel occasionally, sometimes or often lonely in England, this equates to twenty million people. Authentic collaboration enables us to engage with ‘the other’, a person outside of our own gender, race, disability, sexuality, religion or worldview. The aim is not necessarily to become broad-minded, or to lose our own sense of identity, but to develop empathy, an ability to have an awareness of realities outside our own immediate concerns.



As a culture, we have so many options. When we authentically collaborate we constrain ourselves, we commit ourselves, we limit our options to a set of relationships. But this limiting of freedom is in fact liberating. We can see this when we look at our own lives; a mentor, personal trainer, teacher or parent is intentionally invited to shape a mentee, athlete, student or child. When we allow others to speak into our goals, creativity and lives, as we are empowered to contribute, shape and model the projects of others.


See more of what MPND do here -

https://modernpaintersnewdecorators.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/mpndprojects

https://www.instagram.com/mpndprojects/

Want to join our upcoming live WebinArt events with MPND? Click here to find out how to join the WebinArt community.

  • 08/12/20 (6pm) - In Conversation with Modern Painters, New Decorators

  • 15/12/20 (6pm) - How to: Work Collaboratively; Building Relationships with Artists, Teams and Organisations.


Recent Posts

See All
download (12).png
Arts_Council_England-1.jpg
download (15).png
download (19).jpeg
download (16).jpeg
download (18).jpeg
PRIVACY + COOKIE POLICY  | © 2019 CREATIVE LEICESTERSHIRE

GET IN TOUCH

Click HERE to see the contact details of our team, or email creative@leics.gov.uk

  • Facebook - Grey Circle
  • Instagram - Grey Circle
  • Twitter - Grey Circle
  • LinkedIn - Grey Circle
  • Facebook - Grey Circle
  • Instagram - Grey Circle
  • YouTube - Grey Circle