Process Vs Outcome when working with disadvantaged groups

Convener(s): ilana Winterstein

Participants: Simon Day, Sharon Matthews, Deepa Shastri, Aaron Minnigin, Marie Kenny, Jennifer Pearcy-Edwards, Katherine Maxwell-Cook, Jennifer Lunn, with other people dropping in and out

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

What do we mean by disadvantaged? To encompass refugee/asylum seeker groups, disabled, youth out of education, etc.

Practitioners self-impose the pressure of having an ‘outcome’. Assumption by funders/ leaders/ participants that there will be some sort of formal outcome.

Does the process sometimes block the ability to create? Example referenced of sign language captioning in theatre creating a barrier for mainstream audiences. Does the process help or hinder the outcome?

Book suggested: Chris Johnson ‘House of Games’. Deals with process, outcomes, expectations, etc.

American company ‘ City At Peace’ run by Paul Griffin. Improve your process by aiming at the highest quality outcome. Process vs outcome = not mutually exclusive. It doesn’t need to be a fight between these.

Cultural nuances – involve a mediator.

Ensure that there are support networks in place. Be honest with yourself and the group about your skills/limitations – eg. Not a drama therapist but a drama practitioner. Be honest about the things you don’t know. Ask the group eg. Cultural norms/taboos. 

Arts industry/art viewed as a commodity in the UK. Who is qualified to judge? If art is a form of expression then it becomes problematic to put a value on it. The notion of ‘good and bad’ for an outcome is problematic in itself. Should you force a process to ensure a ‘good’ end product?

Establish your own value systems at the start of a project. Allow participants to decide what is valuable, eg. Turning up regularly to rehearsals may be an achievement. Be specific to the group and group dynamics.

Identify your objectives from the start. For example the theatre project working with asylum seekers aims to give participants a sense of empowerment.

Companies who work with refugees: Ice and Fire. Creative Roots.

Create a safe space. Key to establishing confidence within a group.

Always important to have something to work towards. The process becomes more valuable if there is an end goal, eg. Performance, but be aware that performance can take many different forms eg. Video of rehearsal process.

Use Open Space. If there are language barriers could use objects to initiate open space.

Assume nothing. Make the implicit explicit. Start from the basics when beginning. 

As a facilitator really listen to what the group wants, their specifics.

Be in the process and allow it to lead the way.