What do we mean by collaboration/exchange?

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In the Art/Text/Clearinghouse project we welcome a wide range of work and approaches. The central challenge is of course finding and negotiating a collaboration or exchange with someone from a different creative/professional community to your own, and in order to do so you need to clarify what you want out of the collaboration/exchange and be able to recognise what the other party might want or get out of the situation too. Do you understand their needs and point of view?

It’s important at the beginning that there is a mutual professional respect between the artist/photographer and the writer and and a degree of attraction to each others’ work: you both like what the other creates/does.

continua of exchange


There are different ways to describe the exchange and these continua produces different degrees of exchange. If you have a clear need to get a catalogue essay written or commission a set of images for a body of text you need to consider how much you will pay (see NAVA’s code of practice which quotes rates for text and illustrations from the Australian Society of Authors). But what happens if there is more of a mutually beneficial situation? There might be more room for both of you to get something out of the situation — often of considerable professional and creative benefit to both parties.

Some people will want to use the book as a summation and record of an existing body of work. You might decide to exchange words and images via a formal relationship or alternatively you might want to make a book that expresses a deeper sense of mutual partnership — often something that has been bubbling with unrealized potential between the two parties over some time. With the right situation there is possibility for risk-taking and considerable growth and enhancement of your skills, approaches, critical thinking and, of course, the final artwork.

From our experience, open communication, empathy, flexibility and give-and-take are key ingredients in any collaboration or exchange. Many exchanges occur between friends or friends of friends networks, so ask around your existing personal networks too.

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