Collaboration with imagination

Like ripples from a pond, conversations about community seem to lead to greater and grander ideas of how collaboration can change the world – from sustainable volunteering, to establishing a close-knit supply chain to support economic recovery. Recently a group of community professionals were tossing around the wild idea that cultural centres such as museums and art galleries should have some way of collaborating so that we can all benefit from the cultural riches that are scattered across the country, and across the world. Hours later, by chance, we saw that idea modelled in the real world.

Firing up a wild imagination

The story broke in national and international media: “Dutch museum achieves the impossible“. One Charles de Mooij, director of Noordbrabants museum in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, had the wild idea of reuniting the works of that wildest of artists, Hieronymous Bosch, to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the birth of ‘the Devil’s painter’. Seven years of hard work, supported by the likes of the Getty Institute, will culminate in the opening of an exhibition of no less than 39 of the artist’s 50 surviving works.

This is a triumph of collaborative working, achieving more through engaging the art community than one gallery could expect to do on its own. The key to Charles de Mooij’s success was the depth of knowledge that the ‘s-Hertogenbosch museum already possessed about its most famous son. This gave the galleries who hold the works a reason to engage with the project, as they were able to tap into a source of information about the artist and works which they had not previously accessed. Sharing knowledge freely helped to build a community determined to make this exhibition a success.

What goal could you achieve through collaboration?

Can you think of a goal you want to achieve which relies on others? How would you tap into the power of community to achieve your goals while giving back to your collaborators? We’d love to hear about your wildest ideas.