To help us understand how grantee teams and learning community members are developing relationships and collaborating with each other and their communities, the OCF evaluation team asked project partners to respond to an online survey about their collaboration efforts. This post highlights what we’ve learned from the survey responses after year 1 of the Initiative.

First, a little background about the collaboration survey and who responded

One representative from each project partner (the arts organization and the school/school district) was asked to respond to survey questions about relationships with their project partners, with other members of the learning community, and with key community allies beyond the Initiative. Respondents were also asked to reflect on their relationships prior to Studio to School, how those relationships changed over the first year of the Initiative, and about new relationships they developed during year 1.

A total of 37 project partners responded to the survey, out of 39 who were invited to participate. Respondents were asked to use the following key characteristics to determine their level of collaboration in various relationships:

WHAT WE’RE LEARNING

Studio to School grantees report higher levels of collaboration with their project team partners after the first year of the Initiative.

Grantees report they are collaborating more with their project partners at the end of year one compared to their relationships prior to receiving grant funding. After the first year of the Initiative, 26 respondents describe their partner relationships as fully collaborative and all project partners report their level of collaboration with each other at Cooperation or higher.

The following charts show the number of relationships reported in each level of collaboration prior to the Initiative compared to the end of year 1.

collaboration at the end of year 1

There is more agreement among project partners about their level of collaboration with each other after the first year of the Initiative.

When asked to describe their level of collaboration with their project partners, eight out of 18 teams are in complete agreement after year one. Only five teams are in complete agreement when reflecting back on the same relationships prior to the Initiative.

The remaining 10 teams more closely agree on their level of collaboration at the end of year one –within two levels of each other – than they do when reflecting on the same relationships prior to the Initiative – a difference of up to four levels.

The following examples from the survey responses illustrate how partners of two project teams more closely agree on their level of collaboration after the first year.

examples of collaboration agreement

Many new relationships – outside of project partnerships – have developed across the learning community in the first year.

Prior to the Studio to School Initiative, respondents reported 18 relationships with other members of the Initiative learning community. At the end of year one, that number nearly doubled to a total of 34. Of the 34 relationships grantees reported, 27 are new – having developed within the first year of the Initiative. The majority of new relationships – 22 out of 27 – are described as Networking.

The following diagram shows changes in the number of relationships between members of the learning community – outside of project partnerships – that were reported to be in existence prior to the Initiative compared to those reported at the end of year 1.

pre post relationships

Arts organizations collaborate with more arts organizations. Schools collaborate with more schools.

When asked who they are collaborating with across the learning community, arts organizations report collaborating with other arts organizations more often, and schools/school districts report collaborating with other schools more often. This trend holds true for collaborative efforts that were underway before the Studio to School Initiative as well as for those relationships that developed in year 1.

For the 34 total relationships reported by project partners at the end of year 1:

org school relationships by type

Studio to School grantees report over 40 relationships with partners beyond the learning community.

Beyond project partnerships and relationships with other members of the Initiative learning community, project team members report relationships with over 40 key community organizations.

These relationships include community and arts organizations, local businesses, school s and universities, other funders and companies of artists. In addition, grantees recognize individual artists as crucial collaborators for successful arts programming.

The relationships that were reported beyond the learning community fall into five categories, with arts organizations and associations topping the list.

partners beyond LC

It is clear that planning and implementing arts education programming requires strong partnerships and increasing levels of collaboration – not only between project partners and members of the learning community – but also with key allies and artists from the communities where projects are happening.

We’d love to hear from you…

  • Does any of what we’re learning raise questions for you? What resonates with you?
  • What stands out to you as the most interesting thing we learned from the collaboration survey and why?