The Art of Collaboration

Catherine E Kerrigan
2015 Conference

Collaboration, as a word, is used to describe a wide range of activities, from individuals working together to major ventures involving many organisations and even cross-border alliances. Yet, it is not really clear what constitutes collaboration when it comes to organisations and there are many examples of failed collaborations, such as the Ohio Arts Alley (Rhoades 2014, p. 101). Despite this, cultural organisations are faced with increasing demands to collaborate: from government, funding bodies and participants. These demands arise because successful collaborations deliver through by reducing costs and maximising resource utilisation. So how can we ensure that any collaboration we take part in succeeds? Drawing upon a systematic review of library collaboration, this paper defines organisational collaboration and identifies the characteristics of successful collaborations and the challenges faced when organisations collaborate. It describes how other cultural organisations, such as art schools, might learn from the collaborative experience of libraries from Australia and overseas.

Download Full text PDF (163.07 KB)

About the author

After 16 years in the UK, Catherine Kerrigan returned to Australia in 2009, whereupon she retrained as a librarian.  She joined the Adelaide Central School of Art as their librarian in mid-2010 where she manages the library and teaches information literacy.  She is also a PhD student at the University of South Australia, researching collaboration in libraries to identify those characteristics of libraries that lead them to collaborate with each other, rather than compete.  Catherine is a member of ARLIS/ANZ and presented a paper on information literacy for art students at their 2014 conference.