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enSHRINE: Creative Tools for Organisational Policy Development

Published: 13 July 2021 Author: Lady Kitt

A bit of info about Kitt

I’m Kitt. I’m an artist with a social art / community / participatory arts practice, which I call “Mess Making as Social Glue”. Through my projects I use collaborative art making as a way of growing understandings, support and shared enthusiasms within groups. Often running craft workshops where participants make objects together, whilst discussing all sorts of stuff, but more often than not, complex challenges in our work / lives/ communities.

Over the course of several years, I’d begun to find an unexpected consequence of working in this way: frequently groups were making changes in organizational policy and procedure based on the conversations they had during these projects.

This prompted me to consider more deeply the potential for collaborative creativity and socially engaged art practices in developing organisational structures and systems, particularly those around accessibility, equality and environmental care.

A bit of info about the enSHRINE project

I successfully applied for research and development funding from Arts Council England (2020-21) and an AHRC funded commission (2021-22) to further explore these connections through the project enSHRINE, in collaboration with Sarah Li and Sofia Barton.

The project sets out to explore creative techniques for organisations to use when developing policy, particularly whilst working in consultation with a cross section of people they employ / work alongside / support / serve.

The resources below are based on this research and have been created as part of a digital commission from The NewBridge Project – thank you NewBridge!

Resource 1: Policy Change Power Object “How To” instructions and workshop ideas (Power Point)

What: “Power Object” is phrase used by campaigner and craftivist Sarah Corbett. It describes a hand-made object which reminds the maker of the power they have to create and change things around them, both physically and conceptually. In the enSHRINE Project these objects were made out of policy documents, to offer very physical opportunities to dissect institutional language used in policy making.

Why: Making these objects can form a “backdrop” to conversation about policy change (by using current organisational documents which need updating) or policy development/ creation (by taking document from other organisations as a basis)​

Specific policy application: This activity is useful as a starting point for general policy discussions and can be used specifically for conversation around health and safety, safeguarding and saver / braver spaces policy.

Link to Power Point here →

Resource 2: Policy Exchange Rates template (link to google docs template)

What: Through enSHRINE I’ve developed a “Policy Exchange Rate” template for organisations. Project “Exchange Rates” is a term I use in my work a lot.  It describes an approach to exploring, negotiating, communicating and managing responsibilities and benefits of collaborative art making. What people are offering to a project and what we hope to enjoy in return.  “Exchange Rates” are developed collectively with people involved in each project. In the past they have included things like:

  • organising access / wellbeing support
  • deciding what types of behaviours are acceptable in a project and ways in which everyone involved can support one another in these
  • deciding how people are credited for their contributions
  • exploring approaches to copywrite in collaboratively created artworks
  • finding ways for the project to benefit the local environment

The “Exchange Rates” are often presented in a simple document which is shared with everyone involved in the project / displayed in a prominent place in a relevant venue / space.

Why: For policy makers within an organisation, this activity is both:

  • A mechanism for collaboratively developing policy
  • A tool to highlight the commitment of the organization to consult on policy with people they employ / work alongside / support / serve

Specific policy application: This document is intended as an introduction to the role policy can play in supporting these symbiotic, embedded, lively approaches to internal and external organisational relationships. I think it’s particularly helpful for developing, embedding and sharing EDI initiatives.

There is a link to a google doc template here →

 

More info about the enSHRINE Project and links to other Resources:

The project has received additional funding / support from: Axisweb through the Social ARTery Pioneer programme, a commission from disabled artist led consortium Disconsortia (Stockton), commission from the Gender Research Group & Newcastle University, and support from Ampersand Inventions at Orbis (Newcastle).

Here are link to some other creative responses / tools/ resources that have been developed for these commissions

Disconsortia
Social ARTery
Newcastle University

​The project has been kindly supported through mentoring by: Katie Hickman (Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead), Gareth Bell-Jones (Flat Time House, London), Emma Beverley (Leeds 2023), Culture Vulture (Gateshead), Dr Lucy Wright (Axisweb) and Dr Alex Lockwood (Sunderland University)

​It has been developed in partnership with producer Sarah Li, artist Sofia Barton and members of community arts group DGA (Newcastle).