The good people at Arts Council England have just published my paper Making Adaptive Resilience Real. (The cover is not black and white in a tip of the hat to the age of austerity, or at least I hope not. I like the Factory-style minimalism of it.)
When I made 'resilience' Arts Counselling Wednesday Word of the Week back in February 2009, I said 'This is a word I think we’ll be hearing a lot more of this year and next, in the arts as elsewhere. Enjoy it now before it gets tiresome.' (I really am an arts version of Mystic Meg, I know.) The paper is an attempt to get in before it becomes really tiresome to bring together some thoughts on how resilience has to be understood in its social-ecological sense to be more useful than persistence, and has to be more tightly linked to change: hence my phrase adaptive resilience. Based on interviews and a literature review of the uses resilience theory is being put to, I propose 8 characteristics of resilient arts organisations - and perhaps even more importantly, sectors and sub-sectors. I suggest a version of an arts ecology which stresses both individual artists and locality and recommend a much greater emphasis on adaptive resilience when investing in organisation.
I'm going to post a few excerpts from the paper on here this week, just in case you don't want to read the whole thing. You can read the paper here, and please do pass it on, test the ideas and models suggested and come up with better ideas. This is, I think, the first paper ACE have published under a Creative Commons licence: given the importance of collaboration to adaptive resilience, it seemed appropriate to everyone to publish it so it can be shared and used.
(It would be remiss, not to mention out of character, for me to fail to say I am available for speaking/training engagements relating to this subject for a reasonable though not immodest fee. You can see the things I do at the main Thinking Practice site. End of commercial.)