Launch of Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown Arts Strategy

June 19, 2007

I was delighted to attend an event in Dun Laoghaire last night where Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council launched their first published arts strategy. I have to declare an interest here as I worked with the arts office to design and manage the consultation process that informed the shape of the strategy.It’s always satisfying to see a final document after a long and complex consultation process, particularly in this case as great care has gone into the design of the plan which includes a series of commissioned photographs by Ros Kavanagh. I was really impressed by the way in which the arts officer Sharon Murphy acknowledged the work of previous staff of the arts office by naming them and inviting others to contribute written material to the documentation – she placed the current plan in a context that is wider and richer than the period of time that she has been in post at the local authority. I am also delighted that Sharon has become the most recent recipient of the Jerome Hynes Fellowship and will take up her role as Clore Fellow from September onwards.
So much of the work we do as consultants is “confidential” and does not result in public documents which can make it challenging to talk about the work with new and potential clients in the absence of something “tangible”. That’s one of the reasons I started a blog and increasingly I am bumping into people who are reading even if they are not commenting. I’m wondering how other consultants find this issue of the absence of publicly available “evidence” of their work?
I will post a link to the pdf of the plan once it has been uploaded to the DLR site

3 People reacted on this

  1. “increasingly I am bumping into people who are reading even if they are not commenting..”
    You lucky thing. I wish I could bump into people who read my blog. Then they’d comment. Of course you’re right: there are only a few commenters. I guess it might be a ratio of say one to twenty: one comment per twenty readers. Would you guess the same?
    On the more serious point about how consultants deal with “the absence of publicly available “evidence” of their work?”, I’d have thought that your training and experience as a psychotherapist is relevant. Of all roles, the therapist’s is the least publicly acknowledged. The client makes the changes. Who knows what the therapist’s role has been? Even the therapist might not ‘know’.
    If you need public acknowledgment for your work, it’s probably best to move from the consultant role to the operator one. I enjoy the experience of having to put up with there being no evidence I was ever there. It’s a challenging feeling to see others identified with the evidence. Maybe it’s the mirror side of the sensation of dependence on the consultant, the lurch into dependence that clients make at a certain stage in the relationship with the consultant, the experience that exasperates me and brings the impulse to kick the client away from me: ‘for goodness sake, will you just use your own instinct and experience and stop waiting for me to come up with the deeper analysis of what’s going on…’
    There’s also the letting go of the client, the no-longer-attached satisfaction, the opportunity to move on to helping someone else.
    Evidence is often to be found in the longer term, after the work has been completed. The plan implemented and, more importantly the next major issue being faced with the benefit of the experience gained in the relationship between client and consultant. And it is distracting to be drawn away from the unknown to the almost-known, the done work.
    I’m winding myself up to say ‘who cares about evidence?’ My consultant self finds evidence a seductive distraction from the joy of looking into uncertainty and not knowing how this one is going to go. But I’ve pushed my point a little too far, I suspect.

  2. It’s not about public acknowledgement for my work Omani – it’s simply that sometimes when talking with new clients (where the assignment may require a written document) it’s difficult to show that one can write in the absence of having something that’s in the public domain.

  3. Ah hah, I see. I got it wrong. Anyway I still enjoyed writing that comment. But I used a phrase that I’d like to clarify. When I said “If you need public acknowledgment for your work…”, I didn’t mean you, Annette, I was using ‘you’ in a generic way. I must watch that.
    You are such a good writer that I imagine a single email to the client would convince them that you have all the writing skills.

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