By John Hounihan
When we think of collaborations in the arts, we often think of artistic meetups – two musicians creating a record together or great stage actors tackling a big name play. In reality, though, collaboration in the arts come in a lot of different shapes and sizes.
On the administrative leadership side, collaboration is all about teaming. How do we bring together professionals from widely different backgrounds to meet the needs of an organization efficiently and effectively?
In April, Dr. Leslie DeChurch and the current MSLCE cohort dove into the world of collaboration with a day of reflection, workshopping, and activities that tested the brain and teams of many sizes. MSLCE students previously met with Dr. DeChurch during her winter quarter faculty talk, during which she introduced us to her work with teams at NASA, and we began to skim the surface on some of the teaming theories that could be applied to our work in the arts sector. This time around, things were more hands on. Theory supported activity, which supported reflection, and that process repeated with numerous examples.
One highlight brought us back to our earliest days as a cohort, as we tackled an activity that we had done on our second day of orientation. Using the lens of a team that has known each other for months versus hours gave us some interesting context into how team dynamics can affect the productivity and effectiveness of teams. Another activity gave us solid framing for culture in organizations, and as we role-played different country cultures, we could understand the role of context more deeply.
As MSLCE student Minda Cerva said, “It was a very engaging exercise that challenged us to think about the motivations of teams through context and helped us formulate strategies to work effectively with them.”
Overall, Dr. DeChurch’s seminar brought solid lessons in teaming with the perfect balance of hands-on practice and theory.