COMPLETING A PROJECT
A significant value of social practice projects is the relationships that are formed over their lifetime. As these relationships develop, new opportunities may present themselves for projects to continue, develop and evolve. This may continue for years, decades and even a lifetime. However, not every project needs to do this and not all artists want to or can work in this way.
Whatever the reason to bring a project to its conclusion, it is important to bring closure to the exchange and complete the project in a satisfactory way for all.
Most projects of scale will involve the production of a report. Typically, the purpose of a report is simply to provide the reader with an overview of what occurred, the aims and objectives of the project, who was involved, what were the outputs and outcomes, as well as the final set of accounts. Sometimes a report template will be provided. Any published evaluation of the project, or a synopsis of your evaluation would likely be included. It may be useful to include testimony from project stakeholders attesting to the value of the project and their experience being involved. This represents valuable qualitative information to supplement more quantitative forms such as audience numbers, hours worked etc. As the importance of diversity and justice become increasingly recognised, the monitoring and recording of demographic information such as the age or ethnic profile of stakeholders may be useful to ensure a more equitable distribution of resources on the part of funders in particular.
Preparing for Handover or Wrap Up
The dynamic and evolving nature of social practice projects mean that schedules may often be affected by delays, unexpected events or other factors. Whether handing over or wrapping up, bringing projects to a conclusion point involves some basic housekeeping such as the following:
Notice of handover/wrap up to line management and collaborators
Distribution of artistic outcomes
Re-assignment of leftover tools or materials (eg to another project)
Destruction, transfer or safe storage of project files
Preparation of final accounts and payment of all outstanding creditors
Completion of a report
Ending and exiting a project can be difficult. This area of practice is often quite rightly criticized for short-term thinking. Projects are started, relationships developed, only for the project after having created expectation and an appetite for more, to end with no plan for what would follow. As such, it is vital that the end and exit be discussed and those flags raised at the very start of a project.
The psychology at play within group dynamics is as relevant in social practice contexts as much as any relationship. In order that the experience of closure is positive and affirming for all, it is worthwhile to plan carefully how the final parting can be facilitated. Marking the occasion in a celebratory way through a collective recognition event or decompression activity can be very nurturing for all stakeholders, all the more so when they themselves have a part to play in designing and hosting the event or activity. Some events/activities may involve reflection, reminiscence and ritual letting go/moving on.
In situations where conflict may have occurred, a final acknowledgement of achievement despite the challenges encountered, or how those challenges were overcome, can be of great benefit.
Many stakeholders may wish to keep in touch following their experience of working together. For children and young people it is recommended that the exchange of contact details with their peers be consented to by parents or guardians.