Working effectively with others
Throughout this project, I have worked with 4 very different types of people: my brother Max, my best friend Sophie, the teachers at school, and Wiltshire Creative arts advisor Clare.
Working with my brother
My younger brother and I get on most of the time, but not always. However, once I explained to him how important this project is to me and why we need to make the most of materials we can find for free in the environment, rather than buying everything, he was really helpful. We decided to go and look for pinecones on Southampton Common and set off on a long walk armed with an empty rucksack in search of pinecones. A lot of the pinecones were wet and damaged but then we found a different area of the Common which was much drier and together we collected loads. I am so glad I asked my brother to help me with this, as while I could have done it on my own, we actually had a very fun afternoon.
Working with my friend
Like many people, Sophie was not very familiar with how much work goes into Arts Awards. When I explained what I was doing, and why, she was really keen to help. She is very organised and I actually learnt quite a bit from her, especially with her love of lists. She was great at providing a fresh pair of eyes on my plan and putting the finishing to my speech. This was one area I was quite nervous about, but practicing in front of my friend and getting feedback from her (mainly to speak more slowly) gave me the extra confidence I needed on the day. She helped me set up, and while I was giving my speech and talking to everyone, she stood on the bench net to me showing off the examples. Her support meant a lot to me, especially when she was the first to put her name on the sign up sheet.
Working with teachers
While all my contact with my brother and Sophie was face to face and verbal, with my teachers I decided email was the most efficient way of contacting them as they are very busy. This would also provide a record and evidence for my portfolio. From the first time I mentioned it, Mr Guille was brilliant. I would email him questions and he would either reply or we would catch up face to face at regular intervals (see correspondence in the photo gallery above.) My tutor was also very supportive and it really gave me the extra confidence I needed to speak in public when he emailed me just before the event and said: "I just wanted to say a big congratulations from me for all the organisation and effort you have put in to this. It looks excellent and I am sure that everyone who takes part at the weekend with thoroughly enjoy it." No-one has ever congratulated me on my organization skills and as this was one think I was looking to improve I was over the moon that someone I respected had noticed and commented. I also emailed another teacher and asked if she would help with the photography, and even though she did not reply, she did turn up on the day to help me set up, helped with photography and even took part in the activity.
Working with Wiltshire Creative
Over the past two years I have worked with four different arts advisors and I am very grateful to Clare who has helped me with Unit 2. I have really appreciated her advice and guidance, and although Coronavirus has meant we have not met face to face, I have appreciated her email support (see above) and for taking the time to do a Zoom call with me.
What I have learnt
Different approaches work with different people, and I think I have got the balance right. Adults seem to prefer email, whereas I could not imagine emailing Max or Sophie. But it is always useful to let an adult know you have sent them an email, and this prompted them to speak to me. I am not sure I would have had the confidence to just go up and speak to them and ask for their advice otherwise.
Problems during the workshop
While I was originally worried that no one would turn up, the sign up sheet allowed me to plan and prepare equipment for all those who said they wanted to take part. However, on the day more people turned up but I was delighted to welcome them. I had layed all the materials at the front, and in my speech had said come up and collect from the table, but later regretted this as there was a mad rush at the start. I quickly gathered up the equipment to hand out one at a time. My quick thinking initially prevented people taking more than one activity, but at one stage we did run out of paintbrushes. I then had to leave the activity and went in search of some and left Sophie in charge. I soon returned with extra brushes and I walked around the table handing them out. People were very enthusiastic and worked sensibly, so when some had finished their first decoration, I allowed them to come and take another. The only problem with this was that some people ended up with three decorations, while others only had one.
If I was doing this again...
If I was doing this again I would probably be stricter with numbers and set up individual work stations and I would have handed out materials rather than getting people to come to the front and collect them. It also felt a bit strange asking people for feedback. In future I would ask a teacher to ask people for feedback as it might have encouraged more people to write something. Nevertheless, I did receive 17 post its with really nice comments, which was amazing. The feedback included: "this was really fun"; "great idea"; "I have never made such amazing things" and "thank you Evie."