This document is a Resumé of the Seminar / Workshop at the July 2016 MARS Residency.

"Let's pretend"

Imagine that your psychosocial (PS) team has received one of the following letters – what would you do?

 

your local council authority

psychosocial music support project with local Arts Association

 

Dear MARS specialist,


we have heard about your work in psychosocial music support and we would like to propose a collaboration with our local Arts association.

Please inform us as to the information you need to formulate your proposal.


Cordially,

The Mayor

 

local agency for education development

psychosocial music support project with local Asylum Seekers' Centre

 

Dear MARS specialist,

we have heard about your work in psychosocial music support and we would like to propose a collaboration with the local Asylum Seekers Centre.

Please inform us as to the information you need to formulate your proposal.


Cordially,

The Coordinator

 

Discussion points

There is the need for a lot of information to be exchanged between the requesting organisations and the PS project team. It will also be necessary to understand the territorial relationships between all stakeholders.

Which strategies should the PS team use to obtain the information?
'Asking' may create a distance and will not necessarily provide the information needed.
 
And which strategies should the PS team use to inform stakeholders about PS projects in general (aims, methodology, possible results ...)?

Given that the context is local, the 1st approach suggested is through meetings:

  • with the requesting organisation, to listen to its requests, and understand its expectations;
  • with the beneficiary organisations (Arts Centre / Asylum Seekers' Centre), to understand territorial dynamics, to listen to requests and expectations, and to visit the location to assess context and resources (in particular potential human resources, also amongst the beneficiaries, to be involved in the project), to meet target beneficiaries and understand their needs and characteristics.

The 2nd approach suggested is the carrying out of a needs analysis, involving all stakeholders. The needs analysis report will serve as the basis for the development of a PS project proposal.

Which strategies should be used for the needs analysis (surveys, questionnaires, interviews …)?

'Making friends'

Care needs to be taken to build an atmosphere of trust, sensitive cooperation and flexibility from the beginning. In particular, with target groups from different cultures, it will be especially necessary for the PS team to acknowledge its 'not knowing', and to facilitate opportunities for  discreet  and sensitive participatory observation, in order to deepen the team's knowledge of the beneficiaries' culture. These moments may take the form of meetings together to play, to cook and eat, to tell stories …

Practicalities

It is necessary to understand what the financial basis for the project will be.
It is important to consider other potential stakeholders present in the local territory.
The PS team should also assess sustainability of any project work proposed; what are the prospects after the project's end? How can sustainability be built into the project itself?

Conclusions

The analysis of context regards not only the 'inside' organisations involved, but also and essentially the 'outside', surrounding environment. Any project development must be contextualised within the greater socio-cultural dimension, in order to optimize the project's immediate and more long-term effects, and to inform the project coordinators' decisions at all stages of development.

Let's pretend ice breaker at the MARS pilot seminar workshop (2016)