At this stage in the research pilot phase, we are starting to collate the data for analysis. Currently, these sources include:
- Transcriptions of feedback given by participants in open circle discussion at end of pilot phase party.
- Evaluation activities feedback collected at party.
- Transcriptions of vox pops with individual participants.
- 53 Million Artists website – both images and reflections.
- Interviews with professional and everyday artists.
A sample of transcribed feedback is given below as well as a photo of one of the evaluation activities.
“I found for my second creative challenge, having time created for this activity, it was almost like giving you the license to not worry or think about anything else. It was work time and not your personal time, so it was like this time had been created for just this one thing. I felt even as I just left the office, I was already feeling quite relaxed. I was looking at things through a different lens. There’s something in having that space created to just do something with it and not worry about the output, or what’s produced and just going with the flow of it and seeing what comes out.”
“To have the time to focus on one particular task was very luxurious so I’ve been thinking about re-structuring my day to focus on one particular task and maybe set more clear boundaries about what I’m able to do during the day with the time that I have.”
“The thing I enjoyed most was giving myself that time, allowing myself that time.”
“What I learned is that I want to do things with other people. I really enjoyed having time alone and time to reflect and be creative but something I missed was that collective opportunity to do something with other people in the office.”
Initial reoccurring themes are around having enough time and giving oneself/receiving permission to be creative. Many participants found it very difficult to make space for creativity in their lives, even when they were allocated work time to do so. However, others appreciated a sense of a ‘license’ or permission and used the time and enjoyed it once they got going. It seems that work cultures valorise a ‘busy’ mentality, reminiscent of Max Weber’s concept of the capitalist work ethic first introduced in his book The Protestant Ethic and Spirit of Capitalism.
Also repeatedly raised and questioned were issues surrounding terminology, especially the usage of the word ‘artist’. Several participants were reluctant to associate or label themselves that term as there are connotations with privilege and exclusivity, as well as professional standards. However, as Jo raised at the party, 53 Million Artists is in many ways trying to reclaim the term artist so it is not reserved for the elites or arts institutions but open to everyone. This will be an issue to further explore and unpack as we go into the analysis and writing-up phase of the research project.