Artists, collaboration and risk-taking: useful insights from Margaret Heffernan

February 6, 2014

There’s a very useful article over on the Huffington Post by Margaret Heffernan called ‘What Are the Arts For ?,’ one section of which contains a trenchant encapsulation of the challenges faced by those working in the contemporary arts:

Successful artists are the most tough-minded people I know, able to contain and manage uncertainty, risk and experiment. With no guarantee of success, they work night and day to create something no one’s ever seen before for an audience or market they can’t be sure of. They do so unstintingly, tearing down what they’ve done, rebuilding, revising, reworking, pushing to make the work better, funnier, more moving, clearer, more challenging. They don’t stop until they’re satisfied and even then they’re driven to improve, often without reward, incentive or applause. They’re experts in what all of us need to do: pay attention to the thoughts of others, pick up and elaborate on them, experiment with them, take risks with ideas and own the task of making them better.

With the way arts organisations and funding mechanisms seem to be favouring collaborative endeavour, this is particularly relevant.  And the idea of being prepared to take risks with new ventures, new works and new ideas has resonances for all of us championing contemporay music.

Read more in the article itself online here.