The Generosity Game

19 August 2010 | 0 comments

I’ve been taking part in a two-day symposium on talent development in Edinburgh. Today I chaired a panel featuring David Jubb (BAC), Nick Sweeting (Improbable), Anthony Roberts (Colchester Arts Centre) and Andy Field (Forest Fringe). The Generosity Game was designed in response to a provocation from Tassos Stevens (I believe he triple dog dared me). I was thinking about ways in which we could get away from the panel format (in itself a cultural institution) to something which addressed the themes of the panel – organisational generosity, strategic altruism and the messy business of developing artists – in a playful, open & constructive way. I’d really like to play it some time, and maybe see it as something that could develop and grow.



This is a game for:

- 20 – 40 people who have a vested interest of some kind in good art being made, shown and enjoyed (artists, producers, directors, makers, funders, civil servants, interested parties, philanthropists)
- an artist or group of artists
- a critic

The people are divided loosely along categorical lines, depending on what it is that they most regularly do. These groups are combined into four teams of 5-10 so that there are representatives from each category in each group.

The artist then gives a short presentation to the group about themselves, their work, and their needs.

Each group has to combine the resources at their disposal to make the most generous offer to the artist that they can. They have ten minutes to do so.

- Resources must be actual resources that each indvidual could deploy in real life – an artist’s time & creative support, a venue’s audience, space or technical team, a philanthropist’s money.
- There must be one resource given by each member of a team, and only one.
- The resources will be deployed to the artist over a year which will play out month by month. All the resources can be given in January, or spread out however the group sees fit.

The group is encouraged to think collaboratively and ingeniously about what combination of resources might best serve the artist over the course of that year.


The groups take it in turns to present their offer to the artist.

A group presents it’s offer month-by-month through a year of work. The artist is free to ask questions about the resources, and to imagine themselves using them as the year progresses. At the end of the year, the artist has to present a piece of work to the whole group (created along the lines of the Imaginary Theatre workshop run by Tassos Stevens and Andy Field) utilising the resources at their disposal.

The critic then reviews the piece. Stars may be awards if so wished.

The next group then takes its turn and process repeats until all four groups have offered up their generosity, four pieces of imaginary work have been made, and four reviews composed.

There aren’t any winners or losers, it’s not that kind of game.

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