ftwork x Take Note
supporting arts organisations, funders and local communities to achieve the greatest possible collective impact
The Take Note methodology, in development since early 2019, is rooted in a combination of on-the-ground partnership experience and rigorous research. It is designed to be responsive and flexible to meet changing sector needs, especially in these new uncertain times.
Take Note was born from first hand understanding of the extraordinary impact and artistic possibility of collaboration as well as the real and significant challenges that arise when working with others. The methodology is developed and delivered by Co-Directors Marianna Hay and Emily Webb, based on their fifteen years of experience leading small arts organisations and delivering cross sector collaborative arts for social impact projects. ft’work has been deeply involved in the conception and development of Take Note from the start, and Take Note and ft’work share the foundational belief in achieving collective change through collaboration and community action.
Take Note began its first Connect programme, fully funded by ft’work, in Lowestoft Suffolk in October 2019. The arts partnership project they are supporting unites three social-change organisations to create a dynamic, participatory community artwork as part of the seminal Lowestoft First Light Festival. This project had to be postponed due to coronavirus, and in the meantime Take Note developed and delivered their Take Away strategic coronavirus-response support package online with arts organisations across the country. Take Note recently succeeded in securing a milestone grant from one of the UK’s largest funders, the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, to support an arts partnership project working with communities with low access to the arts in Gloucester.
By the end of five years, Take Note will have designed, tested and evaluated a rigorous methodology for partnership working that will have been embedded and adapted by their partner arts organisations and funders, and disseminated by a national network of advocacy partners to sustain effective collaboration for the long term.
ftwork provided the seed funding for the development of the Take Note concept. ftwork is now working in collaboration with Take Note to provide strategic support and funding to enable Take Note’s core work and to fully fund their first Connect programme in Lowestoft.
Take Note’s founding principle is that collaboration can make our communities better connected and enable our social change sector to have greater impact. This principle similarly drives ftwork’s approach, and it is a privilege to work together to develop a new methodology to catalyse and share new ideas and ways of working together, now and in the future.
Being rooted in rigorous research and evaluation is key to Take Note’s approach, and this is something ftwork has strongly advocated from the start. Take Note’s subsequent design and development is therefore backed up by extensive research and sector consultation, and they are working with a sector-leading advocacy and evaluation partner, New Philanthropy Capital, to undertake their evaluation and impact measurement. ft’work also welcome and enable the flexibility of the Take Note model, which allows them to respond and adapt to the changing needs of communities in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
ftwork have championed Take Note from the start, and we will continue to support, fund and work alongside Take Note as they develop the dissemination and advocacy strands of their work. In doing so, together we will make the case for why collaboration is so powerful and how partnership working can be best supported and implemented to have the greatest possible social impact.
Take Note has an important ambition to influence how partnerships among community arts organisations take place in the future. ftwork strongly supports the idea of building the roll-out of the concept into its core strategy. The project has been conceived and designed as a time-limited five-year initiative. During this time, Take Note will design, deliver, embed, and disseminate their flexible and innovative partnership methodology so that it can be adapted and implemented by the wider sector. Together with their core group of strategic partners – including regional arts organisations, sector-leading funders, an evaluator and a network of advocacy organisations – they will offer a new way of working collaboratively that can be easily embedded and adapted beyond this archetypal model.