Defining Broto's Idea of "Collaboration"

Broto was honored to participate in a panel discussion at the Nov. 1, 2017 Arts Foundation of Cape Cod event called Creative Exchange.

The topic was “Artist as Part of the Team” and, as it turns out, that idea drills into the foundational heart of Broto: That the artist can be a mutual, value-add and real-time collaborating partner to a scientist as the science is begin conducted. And vice-versa. Science can have a partner role in the creative expression of art.

From the animated discussion of the Creative Exchange panelists and attendees, what’s clear is that there is an array of ideas for the meaning and execution of collaboration — something we hope will be an ongoing and lively debate as Broto develops.

And, while we are trying to embrace all kinds of processes and methods in executing both art and science and what they do together, it’s hopefully instructive to begin with a working definition of what Broto means by collaboration.

Let’s start with words like mutual, real-time, substantive and credible. We aspire to collaborations with these qualities.

Mutual: The artist and scientist participate equally in the collaboration, with respect and openness, throughout the collaboration process. Mutuality means exactly that: how does the collaboration help each partner exceed expectations, push boundaries and innovate toward the goal of understanding climate change?

Real-Time: The collaborators work concurrently and with frequent two-way communication. Information and analysis is shared throughout the collaboration period — meaning that the scientist and artist engage in their processes with overlapping tasks and insights and “as-it-happens” timeliness.

Substantive: In innovation, content is driving the inspiration, analysis and outcomes. Substance means the highest quality science findings and the highest level of artist interpretation coming together for new insights. We want to embrace the brainiest of concepts that come from a shared commitment to content.

Credible: For these collaborations to resonate with the most skeptical of stakeholders, we need to uphold credibility: Science and Art created with the highest levels of integrity, that can be defended, replicated and explored as serious contributions to the greater debate about, in this case, anthropogenic climate change.

A Broto innovation in the creation and execution of collaboration is the “third voice.” We add the role of facilitator to help build bridges, enhance communication both inside the collaboration team and externally, and translate ideas, goals, and context.

As we develop our collaborations, especially in this early pilot phase, and explore peoples’ various interpretations for the term, both conceptually and in practice, the innovation of Broto is the “knitted together” aspects of the collaborating partners.

More often, historically, “collaborations” of art in science have been sequential. For example, science done in isolation publishes findings that are handed to an artist for documentation and interpretation.

At Broto, our starting point in collaboration has much more overlap, shared thinking, alternative perspectives and added value in both the full run of artistic and scientific methods.

The dictionary defines collaboration as a cooperative agreement toward a common goal. In our case, the cooperative agreement is the goal, with the benefits of a mutual, real-time, substantive and credible collaboration unearthing innovation, aspiration and results we might not have thought of otherwise, without this content-driven, shared process.

So, with the expectation that we will have many chances to collaborate on a definition for Collaboration at Broto, here is a first go: “Collaboration is the knitting together of disparate processes, ideas and contexts toward the goal of new discovery.”

Yes? No? What is your definition of collaboration?