4. Building infrastructure to support Teaching Artists

Started Thursday 26th June, 2014

As many teaching artists are a sole traders, freelancers, self-employed and project workers what infrastructure will help them build a sustainable career? How might ITAC2 identify and advance infrastructure for teaching artists across participating countries and delegates?


Sabrina Klein Sun 29th Jun, 2014 16:50pm
I'd love to share with others interested in this topic. The nascent work of the Teaching Artist Support Collaborative (TASC) of California offers some emergent ideas. The internet is an obvious piece of this answer--but how best to use it?
Eric Booth Mon 30th Jun, 2014 16:53pm
Sabrina, what are a few of the key initiatives of TASC?--of the many things a group COULD do to build upon the minimal infrastructure of the field, what is TASC choosing to invest in as the most important?
Daniel A. Kelin II Mon 30th Jun, 2014 16:54pm
Purpose. Often virtual networks are built for the potential of discussing possible ideas. But vague possibilities run their course and die early. What tangible purpose might a network achieve that will have discernable benefits for other teaching artists? If we can identify that, then the commitment and follow through will be greater, I believe.
Sabrina Klein Tue 1st Jul, 2014 10:25am
You’re absolutely right, Dan. And that’s where TASC started. Our organizational purpose is to collect our shared knowledge and resources in order to promote teaching artists as professional peers with our education, social service and community partners. And the purpose of our online infrastructure is to create and support a Community of Practice. We chose to start with our field’s expertise as being both broad and deep, to strengthen our domain of knowledge and support us as practitioners. The development of community was our first real charge.
Eric, we started with what seemed most clearly achievable—designing a platform and protocols to collect and disseminate existing resources from all over the country (vetting them for experiential viability); collecting job and professional development opportunities; and posting news and information relevant to the field as soon as we learn of it (our Facebook page is a big part of that).
Now that we have those processes down, we are expanding our capacity to tell stories of the multiple pathways that teaching artists take to find and sustain work, engage with communities, and assess the impact of their work. This year we are committed to raising funds past our seed money to develop more statewide and local leadership and convene regional face-to-face meetings to learn more from our members.
Graham Hay Tue 1st Jul, 2014 12:16pm
Perhaps before we get too general, we should audit what support is already there. Then provide critical assessment of these and looks for gaps? Build a list online that is interactive so delegates, and others can add to it? For example many years ago WA the state Departments of Education and Arts created ArtsEdge to foster links between the arts and educators, and provide support. See http://www.artsedge.dca.wa.gov.au It seems appropriate since these organisations already support their respective communities.
Sabrina Klein Tue 1st Jul, 2014 18:05pm
Good point, Graham. The challenge is the necessarily regional focus of many of these sites. If we are aiming to foster and sustain a sense of international community, we can learn from these sites, though I can’t help but feel we haven’t really figured out how to support teaching artists at scale (though clearly Korea is on to something significant with their national approach…)
Catherine Sewell Wed 2nd Jul, 2014 13:12pm
Just as social workers and psychologists have 'supervision' time and teachers have team planning and review, so too should teaching artists have working groups to debrief with, share ideas with and create with. Can we form localised practice groups?
Simon Spain Wed 2nd Jul, 2014 22:45pm
Catherine, we have monthly meeting of TAs sharing practice at ArtPlay in Melbourne. Our Artist Learning Exchange sessions are sometimes panel discussions, hands on practical workshops or special speakers ( next Thursday we have the wonderful Anna Marie Ho,m from Denmark). I would be very happy to develop this further with local TAS...we have developed a Learning Lounge in our building including a library of resources and videos of artist and other speaking about the sector. Currently this is really underused and we are keen to develop it as it falls within our City of Melbourne Arts Strategy to supports artists and build capacity of artists in the City.
Sue Davis Thu 3rd Jul, 2014 17:17pm
One simple platform for sharing learning, documentation & opportunities is a Facebook page - which has now been set up. Like the page and message me details of people who might be good to add as administrators (eg well connected, regular Facebook users) in different countries. Look forward to seeing lots of post-conference activity! https://www.facebook.com/Teachingartistplatform
Vicki Penney-Rohner Thu 3rd Jul, 2014 21:36pm
Thanks, Sue, for all your help on the Facebook page.