Alexandra Parry: on working with others

Alexandra Parry, a London-based artist who has been working collaboratively for years, is hoping the following tips will help other artists to consider what steps to take to start a successful collaboration.

  • If you are in a studio with individual spaces and you are looking to share tools, materials or ideas there are many ways to create networks that will help you to do this. This could be a noticeboard in a communal space within the studio, an email mailing list with contacts of all the studio holders, a Facebook group or organised socials or meetings.
  • If you are looking for spaces to join and make stuff there are many options in the UK. Hackspace is very affordable and allows for flexible membership. There are spaces throughout the UK and abroad, which will give you access to a range of tools and equipment as well as a social network.
  • If you are setting up a group take some time to think about how it will work and what processes you will use to help the group run. Jo Freeman’s Tyranny of Structurelessness is great food for thought when thinking about these issues.
  • If you are setting up a group, have a look at other groups in the UK and abroad. There are many groups who share space, collaborate on creating work and ideas or provide a shared platform to show or sell work. Have a look at the website groups and spaces for inspiration.
  • If you are heavily involved in a group and are struggling to cater for your own needs, or you feel like your voice is getting lost, there are many ways to deal with this. Look for methods that encourage everyone’s voices to be heard. This will help prevent isolation of individuals in a group and help ensure that no one becomes overwhelmed by the group.
  • Socialising and informal get-togethers are as important as formal ones. There are many different ways to do this. At RARA we brew and drink beer! We also go on trips outside the studio as a group. Through taking time out of the studio where the aim is not to make something or because you are being employed to do so, allows time to nurture friendships as well as providing time for education and furthering conversations.

You can listen to the entire audio of our interview with Alexandra below.

Alexandra Parry is an artist based in London, whose practice is focused on social relationships between humans and their connection to the material world; her work is often event-based and takes place in public spaces. Currently she is a member of RARA, a co-operative workspace in Clapton as well as Collaborative Research Group, an arts based 18 month educational programme.

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