Leadership project report
How my chosen leadership skills have developed
I have become more organised, not only at managing my own work but with managing a wider project and other people. I’ve also had to plan, execute, deliver and close up the project as the leader. All the work came in on deadline, on budget and the team enjoyed working together!
I aimed to work with kindness and empathy throughout the project, and feel I did so, especially looking at the feedback gathered from my team.
I developed a vision, was able to clearly articulate it and it has come to fruition.
Sourcing and contacting talent was something I was concerned if I’d be able to do, but I used my networks, got recommendations, did my research and found a perfect team for the project.
This was my first time managing a budget. I stayed within budget and was able to deliver the project with the amount of money allocated.
This was also my first time working collaboratively with musicians and visual artists, as I normally work and perform alone or do my part of a larger project independently. However, it was an easy process as the team were very talented and we were open to communicating, feedback and seeing how our parts worked together.
Through Zoom calls and WhatsApp, our communication was strong with regular check ins. The team stayed in high spirits throughout the project, celebrating each other’s work as we went along and overall we had an excellent team dynamic, despite most of us having never met each other.
How the project has developed my art form knowledge and understanding, creativity in arts practice, planning and review skills and my communication skills
Having never made a spoken word track before, this was an excellent opportunity to learn how to make one. It deepened my knowledge about writing spoken word poetry, especially with using rhythm and rhyme. It also helped me develop my storytelling abilities, particularly as I rarely write poetry that’s this long.
This project also increased my creativity. Normally, I only need to incorporate imagery within my writing. However, this time I had to imagine my writing as a visual and audio piece. Through the help of my collaborators, I was able to develop this and can take these skills forwards with my future projects.
My planning skills have advanced as I had to handle the project before, during and after the creating process. I devised the idea, created action points, set deadlines and made a project plan which I followed.
I developed my reviewing skills. For this project, I learnt to gather feedback from the audience and the team, to make feedback forms and to measure impact by gathering comments and examining how people engaged with the track.
I also built on my communication skills, as I had to coordinate multiple people and ensure everyone was clear on their roles, deadlines and how their work will be used. With my spoken word track, I also had to be able to communicate my message to the audience via the words, animation and music. To distribute and promote the work, I had to be able to articulate the message to audiences.
How well my project plan worked
My project plan was helpful as it allowed me to break down the project into a rough idea of the timeline, as well as allocating budget amongst my collaborators. It was also useful to see how we were progressing as we went along.
However, as it was made ahead of time I wasn’t able to strictly stick to the timings. This was particularly because as I am neither a musician or an animator, I wasn’t able to accurately estimate how much time that work would need. But, I did my best to allocate as much time as possible for my collaborators and they were able to work with the timings. Also, it’s impossible to be exactly and perfectly on schedule, so I was able to adapt according to how things were going.
Achievements, successes and challenges
We managed to deliver a high quality final project on time and on budget. The team all got along and were great to work with. We’ve now expanded our creative network with each other and have made new friendships for the future, with hopes to collaborate again!
I could have made a version of this project alone, but having worked together the project is much better than a solo version. It’s difficult for one art form to capture the full story and express it fully, but with a group we were able to use visual art and music as different forms of storytelling. For example, I wanted to use the metaphor of moving from planet to planet to symbolise moving house. However, I didn’t need to reference space imagery in my words as the animation used that and the music created that mood. Additionally through Nush’s sound mixing, she was able to will add layers to the piece that words aren’t able to do.
Challenges included the tight time frame and budget – ideally we would have had more time, especially for the animator as it’s a time consuming task. However, we kept the project to an achievable scale, was very clear in communicating and the team was very talented.
Also I hadn’t created a project like this before, so it was a new experience. However, I had a conversation with my friend Sugar J Poet who has made a spoken word track before. He very kindly shared his experience of working on his projects which helped me gain some clarity. Additionally, this was the first time my collaborators had worked with a poet so it was new for everyone and we were excited to take on the challenge.
I’m used to being the artist brought onto the project, rather than being the project leader. However, this turned out to be a strength. When I worked with the other artists, I thought about what I would want or need which meant a lot of questions or potential issues or confusions were resolved immediately upon briefing.
What I have learnt about working effectively with others
I learnt that clear communication was key. I chose to regularly check in with the team just to offer support as I wanted to lead with empathy and kindness. I was concerned I would need to chase people, but gentle offers to help ended up working perfectly.
I also learnt that being crystal clear on feedback and not hesitating to ask for changes. It may be tempting to not quite be happy with something but sign off on it nonetheless. However, I always politely asked for things to be refined or changed where appropriate, and was clear which my collaborators appreciated. It meant they knew what direction to proceed in and gave them boundaries to work within, which helped them be more creative.
What I have learnt from the feedback I received
I’m a strong leader who’s good at working with and commissioning other creatives appropriately, respecting their time, workload and the budget allocated to them.
This greatly boosted my confidence and belief in my leadership skills, particularly knowing that my polite straightforwardness with feedback was much appreciated.
With the feedback received from the audience, I’ve found that the topic of moving home is a deeply relevant topic on a very emotional level to many people. I received a lot of highly positive feedback for the project. Additionally, I found Instagram was the strongest platform for engagement and views. Specifically targeting relevant audiences in my network via Facebook groups and WhatsApp was also very effective, judging from the reaction and feedback.
What I would do differently in future in terms of improving the project
I would have allowed more time in the future, as it was a bit tight to get an animation done within this time, even if it was a short looping piece. I would also draft up a very rough storyboard myself to help the artist devise theirs.
Another improvement would be to factor in a “just in case” emergency pot into the budget for anything unknown that might pop up, and if nothing happened I could reallocate that money elsewhere. For example, Carolyn was briefed ahead of time that we would also need a cover image for social media and cover art when posting the track. Unfortunately, I overlooked that I also needed the artwork to appear in our publication for Sour Lemons. However, Carolyn kindly allowed her image to be used there.
I would also look into using paid advertising for social media to increase the reach.