The Art of Partnering

Art of Partnering

Great to see this new publication from King’s.

Partnering is an art as well as a science; and above all a lot of hard work – but as this publication shows it can really make all the difference. As I know from my last job, the headline summary is bang on:

“Partnerships enable cultural organisations to reach broader audiences and increase the quality of their work, but there is a lack of coherence in what is understood by the term ‘partnership’ across the [cultural] sector.”

I did some work on the WWI Centenary at the British Council so I was struck by the challenges pulled out in the ‘Centenary Partnership’ case study:

  • Managing differing expectations when working with different partners.
  • Managing resources – how to manage resources to get the best from them?
  • Doing so much – the sheer volume. Organising it all, getting the relevant information, getting everyone on board and then ensuring that they deliver.
  • Being sensitive about the subject – making sure the language is correct. Subtle shifts in knowing how to talk about things.
  • Difficulty in maintaining quality across such a large programme with limited staff.
  • Others are also doing so much that it can be hard to build publicity. They can feel invisible while there are so many things going on.
  • People using platforms to promote their own ends.

This about sums up the perils of cultural partnerships; and indeed pretty much any kind of organisational partnership – internal or external, it takes commitment.

But as I learnt at the British Council, through London 2012, Derry/Londonderry City of Culture, Glasgow 2014 and many others; when the UK educational and cultural sector (with all our peculiarities and personalities) works together – we are truly world class.

And the launch – fittingly partnered with the BBC – was held in a world class venue…

Bush House


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