Vicky and Fanni
Vicky and Fanni

If You Can, Visit Twice!

Through their collaboration Taking Our Place/Making Our Place Tandem Europe participants Fanni Nánay (Artopolis Association - Budapest, Hungary) and Vicky Holliday (Creative Scene - Dewsbury, United Kingdom) aim to find universal tools to build a new, more sustainable model for building art projects with communities. Thinking global and going local, Tandem placements allowed them to deeply engage with each other's methods and context. Take a look at their tips to capitalise on every aspect of Tandem placements in the following timeline!

Tandem Methods-in-Action

Tandem methods-in-action: Placement, Job shadowing, Tea Talk

Tandem Placements are a vital part of Tandem partnerships. Each partner can take up to ten days of placement to visit the other, which adds up to twenty full days to strengthen and deepen the collaboration. Placements are a wonderful opportunity to spend time together with your partner. This time allows partners to immerse themselves in the context of their collaboration and project, allowing them to learn, understand and anticipate even better what they need to do to make their project a roaring success!

Job Shadowing is a great way of getting to know your partner and their organisation in their professional capability. By following them, sitting in on their meetings, accompanying them on visits to locations, you learn about their aspirations and challenges. Observations are useful to both of you, you may learn something you would like to implement at home, they can benefit from your insights and opinions.

Through Tea Talks you can engage with a broader range of individuals connected to your partner. These people can be colleagues, professionals from other organisations, members of the community the project is addressed to. The fact is, even if the descriptions you receive about people from your partner are fantastic, they don’t measure up to actually hearing someone relay their own experience to you!

Vicky and Fanni decided on multiple shorter placements instead of taking extended long ones. One of the reasons they chose to do so, was because neither of them could be away from work for ten whole days.

Dividing their time turned out to be an advantage. They each felt more comfortable during their second visit, because by then they already knew the location, which eliminated a lot of the small anxieties one has when visiting a new city. Additionally, after reflecting on the first part of the placement, the second one can be planned and organised better. Finally, the fact that you can experience two different phases of your project is also a big win!

Tips & Tricks from Fanni and Vicky
  • Learn in context! By seeing and observing each other’s work and processes you can learn more than by just having meetings and talking. Different perspectives come through better on the spot than via Skype!
  • Shadowing makes both of you more aware! As a shadow it you try to be invisible and take notes. Whatever happens, it not presented especially to you, so you have more freedom to experience nuances, everything becomes more sharp.  The shadowed person still takes notice of you. As a result they may reevaluate the work/meetings/life balance in their day.
  • Drink tea and talk! Tea talks are very important because they allow you to meet a much wider range of people and gain insight through their opinions of the work.
  • Schedule, but don’t over schedule! Your partner will still have work to do, make sure they have time to be on their own. Take the opportunity to explore together, you might be surprised by what your partner finds interesting in your town!
  • If you can, visit twice! The second time you visit, you will feel more comfortable, as not everything is new. It is also great to see more than one phase of the same project!
  • Reflect on your experience! Not just as a visitor, but as a visited person too. Giving feedback to each other on your impressions will lead you to inspecting your work methods and processes. And you might come away with new ideas to improve them!

What was your Tandem Placement like? Please share your experience with us!