What you need and where to get it.
For many of us working in Arts and Culture the word “resources” is nearly always preceded by the phrase “a lack of”.
Indeed, in the last three years the comment I’ve heard most is “can you not scale it down?” But if I scale it down its not the original vision anymore is it? I mean who wants to climb a steep hill to see the possible field when you know it should be the highest mountain with an excellent view of the promised land?
But we, as artists or as entrepreneurs, look at where we want to be with a career or a start-up or a show or whatever and we look at what we have and we compromise, or worse we spread what we have too thin. (For anybody interested in Lean business models, beware the pivot that is really a compromise).
Before you do that ask these questions: What do I have? What do I need? Where can I get it? Who do I ask?
Mostly people think of what, when they think of resources. The what is very, very important and it informs so much of what we need to do. But the greater resource is people. I don’t mean that in any kind of warm fuzzy way. People we know have skills we (and sometimes they) don’t know about, and they have contacts (networks) that can bring us in front of the person we need to be in front of, and they have passions and creativity of their own.
A colleague of mine – a theatre director – recently mentioned that he’d attended the family Christmas gathering and realised that after 18 years his family still had no idea what he did. I suspect that anybody working as an artist has had that experience. But ask yourself this, do you really know what the other people around the table do? Do you know what their skills, their passions and their networks are like?
There are usually more resources out there than we know, and they’re seldom where you’d expect them. Do the inventory.
And don’t forget to inventory yourself: because the greatest resource you need in a creative organisation or career is resilience. Don’t overstretch it.