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Combine to Create Workshop

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On the Monday morning following Storm Arwen, the Combine to Create Collective, Programme Coordinator Elidh Brown and Findhorn Bay Arts Creative Director and CEO Kresanna Aigner gathered for a day of collective working at Glasgow School of Art’s (GSA) Altyre Campus in Alves.

Below you can read Elidh’s reflective blog on the day.

All participants were required to take lateral flow tests before attending the workshop.

Some of us had lost power and water from Friday evening for several days, and travel plans of several more folk, including our GSA hosts and facilitators, to join in-person were scuppered.

Yet the bright workshop space and the warm welcome from GSA staff on and off campus, along with hot drinks and snacks, helped us to engage meaningfully in the morning’s evaluation framework activities, skillfully and remotely facilitated by Madeline and Michael from GSA’s Innovation School.

We were joined at midday by Combine to Create Advisory Panel member Claire Mackay who successfully navigated her way from the central belt to share key skills in coaching from an action learning approach.

A lovely and unexpected lunch provided by GSA sustained us throughout the afternoon, where we took an active part in Claire’s insightful and practical introduction to coaching techniques.

In addition to these facilitated inputs, we worked together with the Combine to Create Collective on planning for 2022, sharing key info and setting dates for keeping the collective connected on a regular basis.

Altyre was equipped to enable facilitators and/or participants who couldn’t attend in person to beam in their inputs, providing my first experience of a genuinely successful hybrid meeting, not perfect, but given the weather and Covid-19, it was a relief to find this can actually work.

We worked on key elements of the Combine to Create programme, exploring what difference the invited creative practitioners and ourselves aim to make, individually, and collectively.

We were invited to consider 5 ‘buckets’, a way to help us gather insights we capture, what we make/do and/or learn that constitutes towards these aims and objectives.

These are:

  • articulating the value of creative practice
  • diversity of voices
  • collaborating with communities
  • making new work
  • imaginative engagement
  • connected creative practitioners
  • in response to Covid-19
  • positive change in communities.

GSA drew these aims and objectives from the initial Combine to Create proposal, the invited creative practitioners brief, and creative practitioners’ vision statements, inviting us to sense-check to see if they fit and feel right, and then to begin to fill up our buckets.

I look with thought, care and gratitude to what’s been achieved so far, what we’ve learned, and what we’ve put in place to support the creative practitioners to make connections with one another, us and with people and communities through Combine to Create.

Of course there are challenges, and at times, this learning journey, exploring new ways of working, can feel tough, as well as exciting.

I look forward with hope to the meaningful connections and creative conversations with people and communities yet to come.

As we all continue to gently navigate our way through the pandemic, there’s a strong sense that creativity is more vital now than ever.

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