I’m so excited to let you know that Viccy Adams and I* recently received Arts Council funding for a new R&D project, Spreadsheets and Moxie. There’s a short mission statement for it above.
This has been a long time in the planning, thinking, dreaming stages, so – HURRAH – we can now finally put it into motion. Over the next year, we’ll be collaborating with fellow writers and arts professionals across Britain, reading talking reading reading as much as we can, getting things wrong, getting things right, and working on new and existing models of what skills are needed to create, run and lead arts projects, and the best ways of getting those skills.
The idea behind it came from an initial conversation about how many people working in the arts field tend to be largely self-taught on certain aspects of running projects. So while we may be very good at facilitating groups, perhaps we have never actually been shown how to do spreadsheets, budgets and evaluations OR we could be whizzes with funding applications but not that confident on the creative side. Or or or… But hey, we are nothing if not versatile and somehow we manage to get by, but what if we could do it better – and with more confidence and enjoyment? Hence the title, Spreadsheets AND Moxie. Our belief is a good project needs both skills, plus a good deal of sparkle, courage and ‘just plain guts’. And that’s just for starters.
We’ve been lucky enough to recruit eight brilliant skills-sharers – step forward Clare Best, Vanessa Gebbie, Kris Johnson, Helen Limon, Lisa Matthews, Juliana Mensah, Ellen Montelius, Susannah Ronnie (née Pickering), Catherine Smith and Kay Syrad – who have already provided us with questions for our first research trip to Arvon’s The Hurst next week. Here are just some:
What does leadership mean?
Where might we be (professionally) if we were men?
What kind or styles of artistic collaboration seem to be more conducive to ‘creativity’ and why?
How do we stop being people-pleasers and develop a tougher exterior – to say ‘No’ to projects that aren’t right for us and not to worry about causing offence/never being asked to work again.
How to have a ‘presence’ if socially shy and allergic to current social media platforms? Could this be in the form of occasional blogging on subjects/writers by which/whom we are genuinely fascinated?
How do we charge properly for what we do?
- Where can we find new audiences for our work?
Sound familiar? I know I was nodding along to nearly all of them.
So the project is off to a stimulating start, even if we come back with more questions than answers. Of course, we are going to come back with more questions…. who am I kidding! However we have resources…
We’ll be sending out a survey later on in the year, so if you would like to be involved please do let me know and I’ll add you to the list – men are welcome at that stage too, but we’re keeping the main emphasis of our research to women professional writers. Also if you have any thoughts, things we should be reading, suggestions for people, places, ideas to follow up, I’d love to hear those too. We are at the initial stage of not even joining up the dots but working out what they might be… see my new Spreadsheets and Moxie file…
We’ve decided not to do a separate website, social media presence etc for the project, but will be blogging individually on our own websites. This will include not just our progress but our reading lists, our findings and any gems we pick up along the way. This project is all about sharing knowledge and skills. If you’d like to join us on the journey, please follow this blog – just type in your email in the box on the right! Or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. More soon…
(*ps I’d originally called this blogpost Voxie and Soxie = Double Moxie, but now I’m saving that for t-shirts for Viccy and I…. Do put in your orders if you’d like one too)