Origination and Process
While an artist or a group may have an idea in mind for a project they wish to do, or an ongoing area of interest that they wish to continue to pursue, in many instances the origin of a project in a practical sense can sometimes be a funding opportunity that has come about. Sometimes this funding opportunity will not have a definite agenda, such as the Arts Council/Create Artist in the Community Scheme, or it may be issued by an agency or organization (e.g. Health / Youth / Environmental etc.) that will have objectives the funder wishes to see addressed or outcomes they wish to achieve. No origin is necessarily better or worse than any other; however, the origin of the project may determine who will lead the project initially, the initial stakeholder group, and how the next steps will be managed.
Give yourself plenty of time to research and develop your project. Space and time is needed to come up with new ideas and also a vital opportunity to build a rapport with those you want to work with. Inspiration doesn’t just drop into your lap, ideas breed ideas. See if there is an opportunity to observe or spend time with the group you intend to work with and learn about how they operate.
Explore different possibilities that may relate to your own practice or areas of exploration. Collaboration is about sharing. Often ideas will come from sharing what you do, what you are interested in, what interests you about the people you want to work with, and listening to what interests them. Building strong relationships based on trust and honesty should be at the core of your process. Be open to exploration and chance. Increasingly funding for social practice projects is often divided in separate research and realisation phases. This is valuable in that it maintains focus on research and allows potential relationships and opportunities to be explored without having to define the steps that might follow, or to have an expectation that a further project development would necessarily follow.