Main menu Close main menu Main menu Menu ×

Team togetherness

How we’re working to keep going in times of uncertainty

These are uncertain times. We’re heading into the unknown as a team, as a nation. But that doesn’t mean everything is beyond our control. Over the last few weeks, as things have shifted rapidly and we’ve felt increasingly unmoored, it’s been helpful to take stock of what is happening, how this impacts our work and what we can proactively do to support each other and the sectors we work in.

As a small, non-profit arts organisation with a core team of seven people (plus our wonderful freelancers!), we’ve felt the huge impact of current events.

We can no longer run our face-to-face workshops.
Our partner galleries are closed, while our audience sits at home, fragmented.
The large-scale events we had planned for Spring are prohibited… for now.

In a way, our small size affords us some agility and speed of action. At the same time, it can feel like we’re at the foot of a very large mountain. So, we’re taking it one step at a time. 

Here are five things we’re focusing on right now. We’re sharing these ideas in the hope they may help other teams like us start to scale their own mountain.

Breakfast club

Every day at 9:30 the whole team hops on a video call, brew in hand. So much has changed in just one week, but these daily check ins have been crucial to keeping us all connected. Yes, it gives us a chance to chat shop, but mostly it’s an opportunity to check in on how everyone is feeling, get some much needed facetime, and remember that we’re in this together.

Tools – At the moment we’re trialling Skype as a free option to host video calls. But we’re also investigating other free and paid platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts to see what works best for us.

Keep on collaborating

As a small team, we each have a lot to handle. And that load feels bigger than ever at the moment; with everything shifting so rapidly, we have the added time pressure of changing plans, reworking creative ideas, redesigning our programmes… But we’ve found that sharing that load helps lessen the pressure and helps us make quicker, more informed decisions.

Tools – Rather than one or two people make the contingency plans across the organisation, we’ve shaped those plans together using tools like Slack to share ideas and advice, Google docs to co-create budgets and write new policies, and Slides to co-design project moodboards. We’re also revisiting collaboration tools like Asana and Trello to see if they might be useful to us right now.

Be an open book

With things changing every day, it’s important to us to live by one of our core values – transparency. Our work is only as strong as our collaborations, so we’re doing everything to promote openness with our peers, partners and the sector. It’s so important we speak openly and honestly as a community right now so we can move forward and make positive changes together. 

Tools – Conversations are happening everywhere across our sector at the moment. We’re joining online meet-ups, virtual conferences, zoom chat rooms and new email support groups. We’ve shared some useful links in our regularly updated announcement page here.

Look for opportuniities

Yes, the silver lining is a massive cliché and it can feel a bit uncouth to be looking for opportunities in such a dire situation. But we must stay positive as a team and as a community. At times like these, art can offer us a lens through which to reflect and a space to come together (even if that means virtually) to share experiences, amplify different voices and grow stronger as a community. 

So, our work is not stopping. We’re here every day looking for ways to flip our projects on their heads and engage audiences with meaningful experiences in new ways. Yes some activities might be postponed, but we’re also excited to bring audiences in to help us start to shape what those activities might look like in the future. We’re also finding ways to make sure work gets to our artists and collaborators now, at a time when opportunities feel scarce and finances stretched.

Stay positive

When things feel uncertain, anxieties run high. We all feel it. So it’s as good a time as ever to think about how we practice empathy, create safe spaces for discussion, and also keep our language and attitude firmly in the positive. For both our team and our collaborators, we’re keeping our doors open, offering peer-to-peer support and making sure to sign off all interactions with empathy and reassurance.

Tools – We find it best to keep an open door, and allow the team, collaborators and partners to contact you in the way that suits them – be it Slack, email or the good ol’ telephone. 

Oh and cat photos… lots of those!

We’ll keep thinking of ideas to share as things keep changing. But we’d love to hear what you’re doing and how we can support each other. Get in touch with the team:


(Article hero image credit: ‘Atmospheric Memory’ by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, photographed by Richard Tymon)

Related news posts