Connecting artists and teachers

A2:Connect was created as a way to bring artists and teachers together to create rewarding partnerships and collaborations between the arts and education. 

Proper Design was chosen by Arts Active Trust to deliver A2:Connect for South Central Wales. Based in Cardiff’s St Davids Hall, Arts Active has years of experience delivering education, community and audience engagement projects. They already knew what was needed to help connect teachers and schools with artists. They could tell us what questions artists should be asking teachers and vice-versa, so we had a great deal of experience to draw on in our approach to this project.

The core idea in A2:Connect is that both teachers and artists have ‘Opportunities’ to share with each other. The difficult bit was narrowing down how we should describe these opportunities so they would be relevant and appropriate when posted by teachers for artists or the other way around.

Working with Arts Active we created a shortlist of questions we thought would make sense and built a basic prototype of the form for a user-testing session. During the session we asked artists and teachers to complete the form while we recorded any difficulties they experienced or questions they asked. The main thing we learned from our testing was that the actual questions worked well for both audiences, but that the help-text needed to change depending on whether an artist or teacher was completing the form. We also found that a specific example of how someone similar would complete the form was particularly helpful. Our first pass at a solution had involved a lot of very convoluted non-specific language, as we tried to cover all possible contexts in a single description. That didn’t work. We realised that by splitting the form over a number of pages, we could determine who we were addressing and who they were looking for on the first page and present a form specifically aimed at their requirements from there on. We created four possible scenarios:

artist seeking teacher
artist seeking artist
teacher seeking artist
teacher seeking teacher

This worked a lot better with users completing the forms much more confidently. We added to this solution by creating four characters who would be the basis for all help text.

Jen – artist seeking teacher
Dewi – artist seeking artist
Alan – teacher seeking artist
Sian – teacher seeking teacher

A2:Connect currently has close to 100 opportunities listed and is growing every day.