Collective Kaupapa

Suggestions from Basement

Setting a collective kaupapa is about ritualising the beginning of a journey and laying down ways of working together that will ensure a safe, dynamic, caring and sustainable process. The collective kaupapa is great to come back to through the process, and is really helpful if delicate conversations need to be navigated along the way.

Here we have some tools that you could draw on for setting your collective kaupapa with your group, which we have developed during our own shared experiences with artists. You are welcome to use these if you’d like to. You could share them with your team (production team included) at the beginning of rehearsals and decide which points you want to actively remember and practice throughout the process if that feels like a useful thing to do!

Acknowledging People and Place

  • You could take a moment before you begin to acknowledge the indigenous peoples, lands and waters of where we are. If you are rehearsing in the dojo, your creative practice is taking place in the region of Ngāti Whātua ki Ōrākei near their important body of water named Te Wai Horotiu. We believe that acknowledging our indigenous custodians and their natural-world landmarks at the beginning of a process is an important part of tiriti partnership. You could facilitate this any way that you see fit, whether it be in mihimihi form or your own special way. If there is Tangata Whenua present in your team, then you can hand this part over to them to lead.

Agreed Values & Actions

  • As a group, you could name your values in the room and write them down. It is really valuable to talk about why everyone wants to be there, what’s in it for them that is above and beyond the product or outcome. You could continue to add to these in the rehearsal process and revisit them.  You could even create a manifesto for why and how you want to work together.

  • You could decide to practice wild trust and respect for the people around you.

  • You could agree to listen in a way that you all would like to be listened to. Equal voice = equal power in the room.

  • You could have shared meals during the process.

  • You could decide on how to deal with tensions as they arise;, we’ve found that forgiveness goes a long way in these situations! (Some companies even allow each member to have one tantrum per show with no questions asked!)

Start How You Want To Continue

  • You could create a collaborative contract / document / object about how people want to be treated and keep this visible in the rehearsal room and the performance space at all times. The idea around this is that everyone in the room adds their piece to it and collectively agrees on how they want to be treated / what is important to them and abides by it. Keep this present in the room throughout your process.

  • You could have a collective think about the intellectual property created during your process.  You may like to make a decision about who owns it, or how you will credit each other in the future for using parts of your collective creation.  There are many options.  It doesn’t matter which one you choose, it only matters that you stick to it.

Get Clear Stay Clear

  • You could get the producer to share the budget with the whole team so the co-op understands the financial situation of the project.  

  • Being transparent about money goes a long way. You could talk about who takes on the financial risk of the production. Talk about where the money is coming from and where it will be going.

  • You could write a list of everything that needs to be done in order to achieve your season goals and be clear on who is responsible for each item.

Self Care is Political (Audre Lorde said that)

  • You could assign a check-in person your team members can talk to if things get too much (inside/outside the rehearsal space). This is especially important for works dealing with heavy issues. This could be a peer support person, you can find more details around this in the Whāriki Hauora document provided by Basement. 

  • You could thank everyone who has helped out in the process in your programme! This is an easy way of acknowledging all those that have given time and energy to the work. Make sure your collaborators are happy with the way they are credited in the programme, it is important that the credit is correct. 

  • You could have  the option of a  wellbeing day if someone in your team is needing this. You may even want to set aside some coin in your budget for this!

  • You could think about what to do if a boundary is crossed or a trigger is released in someone.  How will you hold yourself and each other in moments like these?  You may want to look at some resources on cultural safety or on how to apply an intersectional framework to your process.

  • You could briefly get each company member to check in and out each day at rehearsal. This is an opportunity to see where everyone is at on a personal wellbeing level and encourage them not to only communicate about their artistic needs but also daily struggles or wins, as obviously life has an overall impact on the rehearsal room. If not everyday, then choose some point throughout the process to check in and make sure everyone is one the same page.

Ultimately, nothing is worth you sacrificing your health, wellbeing or relationships with others.   Creating something “Good” at all costs can sometimes lead to disaster, and we’re big fans of prioritising respect and treating others with care in the creative process. That’s what we reckon anyway! Hope this is helpful!

This is a living document. Feel free to send through suggestions to add that you've found useful in your process.