A Place For Words: Tips and Suggestions for Arts Professionals

You are likely to be involved in this kind of work as a project manager or consultant. Our hope is that A Place For Words is useful for arts professionals skilled at art in the public realm work who haven't worked with writers before, and for literature professionals who haven't worked in the public realm before. Good project management practice is key for successful projects, and the issues highlighted in the general section are important to bear in mind. Some additional tips below:

  • Spend time on planning, and setting up communication systems. Developers and architects have commercial imperatives and can work and communicate in a very different way and to different time scales than arts professionals. It is essential to build a relationship that allows those differences to be recognised and negotiated.
  • Think about how the project is presented to the participants. Don't over promise, particularly in the context of community consultation.
  • ‘Text’ is not the same as ‘literature’. For a writer, punctuation, line-breaks etc are crucially important. If a visual artist is interpreting a writer's work they need to realise this and communicate effectively with the writer, and as project manager it is essential to manage this process carefully.
  • If you haven't worked with writers before and want advice on who you might work with, browse some of the local and national organisations in the links section of this site. A good starting point is the National Association of Literature Development, a membership organisation for all involved in developing writers, readers and literature audiences, which has a freely accessible members list as well as resources and advice for members. ‘Calls’ for writers can be put out through NALD's website and e-newsletter. Literaturetraining is another great web resource for writers and a good place to advertise opportunities (at no cost). You might also want to talk to literature officers at the relevant Arts Council Office, and do some research into local literature organisations. Several regions have established literature organisations or networks. Some local authorities employ literature development officers. Other good starting points are library services (ask for the literature or reader development officer) and local literature festivals.

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