Recently, we coined the phrase ‘co-curating’ culture to respond to what’s needed through COVID-19, and particularly post-COVID-19.
We have no crystal ball and while we do enjoy scenario planning, we decided to look outside ourselves to think of culture as an art exhibition – the themes to be considered and the best available ‘artworks’ (purpose, relationships, agency, values, people, ideas) to be displayed and new ‘artworks’ to fit the exhibition to be considered and collected.
Co-curation is about reflecting on what was great in the past that you should continue, about what didn’t work that should be retired and about new things that make sense now and should become part of your new rhythm. We thought of ‘co-creation’, ‘re-onboarding’ and ‘new normal’ – but felt co-curation strikes the right balance of old, new and different – not assuming we just return happily to the status quo or steady state.
In culture, Co-curation is not done by a single curator in your gallery or museum, it’s not a one-off exhibition, it is evolving and everyone has a role to play by bringing their unique experiences and perspectives of ‘the artwork’ to the table (or, maybe better said, the wall!!).
If you’re ready to co-curate, we’ve put together a simple toolkit with just 3 steps.
Questions to ask your team
What’s our emotional state right now – share, listen, reflect, appreciate, accept.
This is important to appreciate that while everyone has ‘shared’ the experience of COVID-19 – the actual lived experiences will vary greatly, and be profoundly personal. This moment is to reflect on what’s happened, over the last few months, as individuals, as a team as a society.
What matters most to our culture, then, now always?
What mattered most on the culture map – stories of the past, plans for the future, leadership and what matters to your people each day.
What did we learn through this time that we should carry forward?
What elements of your culture, how you worked together, things you did differently.
What did we learn through this time that should be retired?
Were you forced to change or lose certain rituals, processes, meetings – and did you learn they weren’t valuable (or where better in an altered form).