The surveys are a great starting point for conversations!  Below are a few tips on holding space.

Sparking Conversations to Raise the Value of Artists in Every Community

DETERMINE THE PURPOSE

What do you hope to learn? How will you use what you learn?

 

INVITE THE RIGHT PEOPLE

Who has insights into the topic you hope to discuss? Artists you currently serve? All artists? Others impacted by the work?

  • Gather together artists who share a common experience, interest, or need. Host multiple meetings to help give voice to various perspectives.

  • Be inclusive in who you invite, not just your usual suspects.

  • Consider dynamics around hierarchy and power to create a gathering where people will feel comfortable sharing.

 

CREATE THE RIGHT SETTING

  • Choose a setting with ample time for discussion such as a retreat, strategic planning session, focus group, or community forum. Underscore the voluntary nature of the engagement (the process is not meant to feel obligatory).

  • Select a convenient, neutral venue with minimal distractions.

  • Get close… literally. Create a casual, comfortable, intimate space.

  • Provide food! Break bread with your artist community to build relationships.

  • Craft ground rules together to create a safe space for conversation.

  • Learn from and share stories that provide examples, context, connections, and insights. There is a growing collection of stories from artists and other practitioners from across the country throughout this website – and we invite your stories too!

 

CHOOSE THE RIGHT FACILITATOR

  • Be thoughtful about their background. Ensure they have strong respect for participants, ability to empathize and effectively communicate, exceptional listening skills, cultural competence, plus a sense of humor and ability to adapt and be flexible.

 

AFTER THE CONVERSATION

  • Build time in for synthesizing and reflecting on what you learned.

  • Summarize key insights to be shared with your board, staff, partners, etc.

  • Be accountable for the conversation you’ve started. Commit to a long-term process, not a one-off.

  • Understand that some of the implementers of next steps may come from your convening. Also share what you learned, plus any decisions points that flow from the input

Tips for Facilitating Conversations:

  • Remain neutral and LISTEN actively

  • Be comfortable with silence

  • Be mindful of power and privilege imbalances

  • Ensure that all voices are heard

  • Probe to clarify insights and learn more

  • Encourage alternate viewpoints

  • Be willing to follow where the conversation goes

  • Be prepared to hear (and value!) the unexpected

  • Keep questions succinct, relevant, and open-ended

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KEY POINTS TO SHARE: ARTISTS THRIVE…

  • Is a national tool to change current conditions

  • Imagines the world we want & helps us plan backwards

  • Built by the users

  • Is free, no log-in to the site

  • Content is customizable

  • Designed for honest self-reflection

  • Introduces shared language, standards & practices

  • Supports professional development

  • Sets the stage for conversations & actions at individual, organizational and systems levels