Tips for building a successful arts workshop

Tips for building a successful arts workshop

Jon Solmundson

Arts workshops are an awesome opportunity to develop new skills and improve your practice – but they do require good organisation and a bit of know-how to set up.

We see young artists and artsworkers create so many great workshops through the Drug Aware YCulture Regional program that we wanted to share their knowledge for workshop building with the rest of WA’s regional arts sector – so we asked Ruby Liddelow, a member of the Mandurah youth performance company Riptide, how they go about it.

Riptide’s Lecoq master classes. Picture by James Breen.

Most recently Riptide ran a workshop with experienced writing coach and performance maker Dr Alan Hancock, which you can read about here.

Ruby explains that to arrive at a workshop idea, the Riptide crew take a look at the projects they are developing next and identify skill sets that could be worked on.

“For example last year we were about to launch into our first fully ensemble devised/directed project and realised our text development skills were not as strong as our physical development skills, which led to enlisting Dr Alan to assist us with those.”

Ruby Liddelow (right). Picture by Stuart Shepherd.

Once you’ve tracked down subject for your workshop it’s just a matter of finding someone who can bring the knowledge. Ruby said they turn to their Artistic Director, Katt Osborne, to recommend a relevant industry professional.

Those without an artistic director on call can reach out to their local arts groups, or other arts organisations (including Country Arts WA) to help them find the right person.

“Once we have identified a suitable professional we basically email them with our project idea, ask them if they could participate and discuss pay rights and such,” Ruby says.

“If they agree we get them to send their CV and a letter of confirmation so we can add it to our funding application to strengthen our pitch!”

Riptide at work. Picture by Stuart Shepherd.

For emerging artists who might be intimidated by the process, Ruby has plenty of encouragement.

“To any young artists who have a tiny inkling to create and coordinate a workshop or project for local youth, I would say, make sure there are a few participants interested in your idea and then just GO FOR IT!”

“Don’t hesitate to contact Country Arts [WA] to ask questions about the grant or even for recommendations on which arts practitioners you might be able to engage, how you could run your project, or how to show the outcomes… I really urge you to just send that first email and become the arts leader you know your youth community needs!”


You can check out more info about Drug Aware YCulture regional on our website here. If you’d like to talk about making an application, or other arts funding options call Investment Officer Fleur Hardy on 9200 6200, or send an email to fhardy@countryartswa.asn.au.

 

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