Forming a Collaboration
Partnerships among arts agencies and public or private agencies that have expertise working with youth at risk benefit everyone. However, arts organizations, social service providers, educators, and juvenile justice staff each use different methods, languages, and ways of working with youth. Thus, it is very important for partners to learn one another's language; to understand the system within which each partner works; to be in agreement about program goals; and to define each group's contribution to the collaboration.
In order to develop a collaboration that is effective in solving difficult problems, it is important for partners to reach agreement on the following questions:
- What are the goals of your collaboration?
- What is each partner's contribution (financial, in-kind services, other) to the collaboration?
- What are the roles and responsibilities of each partner and of each person in the collaboration? Who will be the contact person for each collaborator, and who will be the contact person for the overall collaborative effort?
- How will you develop understanding and commitment from staff at all levels of the partnership organizations?
- How will decisions be made to change or end a program? To change or end a partnership?
- Who will speak publicly for the partnership?
- How will the collaboration share in the success or failure of
- What are the communication links?
- What process will be used to resolve conflicts?
- How will the project be evaluated?
- How will youth be involved in the planning, implementation, and evaluation activities?
- How will the youth's family be involved in the program?
We found that, by making everyone's assumptions explicit, the planning model was an effective tool to help partner agencies address these questions. For further ideas and approaches to building effective collaborations, see the pages 74-76 of the full chapter (in PDF format).