I recently read an article about creative online collaboration. An Australian University hosted a study in 2005 called the Omnium Project: Creative Waves, which was a 7 week study into the online collaborations of creativity within the mix of students, faculty, art practitioners, and writers of all variety both local and international wherein all team members worked together on a project while none of the members were from a similar location or background. The study meant to further explore how the artistic field has changed in the last ten years from an individual perspective into a more collective and collaborative effort, despite obvious difficulties in such endeavors due to distance, cultural, and geographical differences of mindset. It seems that visual and communicated art are considered to be of greater value when groups of people work together, in lieu of the more traditional singular output methodology. Use of the Internet has facilitated such efforts by making universal collaboration more easily accessible.
Collaboration is important in that the efforts of a whole team working towards a common goal, and thus inspiring and challenging the individual members, helps promote a greater end product with a more universal appeal and depth. Despite the more accepted past method of the individual’s role in art as the creation of an expression of their own reflection, collaboration allows for outside views and options that both challenge and greater quantify the end product of the individual or group. What remains a key question, especially in America, is whether such a collective effort thus nullifies or lessens the value of the individual artist.
The collective effort in the artistic field faces a common problematic factor, which simplifies into whether the individual is emotionally ready to accept the criticisms of others within the goal of betterment. Often the root of this problem is less the ability to deal with criticism, which is a common issue when working with and pleasing the client, but rather the ability to judge the merit of the person or group with whom the critique evolves and their status and relevance with which to offer such judgment and suggestion. Additionally, it would seem that the collective effort, as a whole, would need to be set within the confines of a hierarchical balance of final say, individual involvement and workload, and final relevance to the client.
As many who have worked the corporate mindset of group projects can concede, there is often a small set within the group who contribute the largest factor the final result. This study agreed that within the artistic field a leader is necessary to assure a pertinent output at the finality of the group effort. A collective effort is ideal when examined from the outside wherein a group of diverse fields comes together to better an idea or project, however it does not insure that a proper and effective outcome can or even will be achieved.
Within the article, there were two analogies made that really hit home and made a great impact on my mindset of the issue. One was a chemical analogy that stated, “Sodium Bicarbonate and Citric Acid are two important chemicals having specific importance. But when they combine (or collaborated) with water….BOOM..”(3).
The second reference made use of kitchen recipes to the collaborative and collective effort.
“Take large amounts of raw information and creativity.
Add a good dose of intelligence and maturity and combine well.
Leave to stand somewhere inspirational until the mixture has formed into a solid foundation.
Once set, add as many more complimentary mixtures as you wish and combine carefully.
Immediately sprinkle with equal amounts of cooperation, tolerance, and open mindedness.
Seal the mixing bowl tightly and shake well. Warning. Mixture may become volatile.
Leave to stand again (preferably in a bullet proof vault) until the mixture has solidified.
 Bennett, Rick, and Vince Dziekan. “Creative Waves – International Online Student Design Project: Working with the most interactive community of designers we have (n)ever met.” (2005): Designs on E-Learning International Conference Proceedings: The University of the Arts, London, England. University of New South Wales: Omnium Research, n.d. Web. 29 Jan 2013. <http://omnium.net.au/assets/downloads/papers/2005_elearning_collaboration.pdf>.