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Using the Toolkit - Case Studies

Is this the best it can be? is a toolkit that can be used by anyone delivering arts and creative learning through collaborative or participatory projects and programmes.

Developed by ArtWorks Scotland, the ideas and approaches featured within the toolkit have been developed through collaborative engagement with artists, professionals from other sectors and participants working in this area.

We have gathered together a number of case studies from organisations who have been using the toolkit, to share their experiences and top tips for getting the most from the resource.

Ballroom Babies - Toolkit Case Study

Aberdeen Performing Arts’ ‘Music Hall Babies’ project delivers free bi-monthly workshops during a baby's first year. The project share their experience of using the "Is this the best it can be?" Toolkit Compass.

Highland Youth Arts Hub - Toolkit Case Study

HYAH was established as part of Time to Shine, Scotland’s national youth arts strategy, and is exploring new partnerships and different ways of engaging with young people. Project manager Stacey Toner shares how she approached using the "Is this the best it can be?" Toolkit.

National Theatre of Scotland - Toolkit Case Study

‘Shift’ was a co-production between the National Theatre of Scotland and CultureNL. The "Is this the best it can be?" Toolkit helped both organisations arrive at a democratic approach to working together.

See Think Make - Toolkit Case Study

See Think Make (STM) is the development and training agency for Arts Award in Scotland. This case study explores how they used the "Is this the best it can be?" Toolkit to provide a robust, simple framework for planning discussions.

Stoneyburn - Toolkit Case Study

A community heritage project in Stoneyburn saw Generation Arts collaborate with an illustrator and a storyteller. The project used the "Is this the best it can be?" Toolkit to develop shared goals.

Templar Arts and Leisure Centre - Toolkit Case Study

The "Is this the best it can be?" Toolkit helped two organisations - an art and leisure centre and a primary school - make sense of two relatively divergent aims when delivering pupil workshops.

Toonspeak - Toolkit Case Study

Toonspeak, a young people’s theatre organisation, used the "Is this the best it can be?" Toolkit to run a partnership development day, generating useful conversation and planting the seeds for future collaborations.

Whale Arts - Toolkit Case Study

A program of events, activities and workshops, centred around a Horticultural Hub at Whale Arts in Edinburgh, used the "Is this the best it can be?" Toolkit to capture feedback more effectively, to aid evaluation.

Top Tips for Using the Toolkit

Drawn from these case studies, the following tips have emerged:

  1. Include all partner organisations from the outset
  2. Don’t be afraid to adapt it to suit your needs – tools not rules!
  3. Don’t view it as extra work, but as a framework for a process you should be following anyway
  4. Be organised – reflection is key, so ensure you set aside time for this
  5. Continual checking in with the toolkit at different project stages will make the final evaluation easier as you’ll have a lot of reflection already captured
  6. Be patient – effects of the toolkit aren’t obvious straight away
  7. Be open minded – the toolkit enables difficult discussions and can present unexpected opportunities
  8. The more you use the toolkit the more natural it will feel
  9. If you are talking together and establishing a clear collective vision of your project, then it’s working!
  10. Have plenty of tea, coffee and biscuits on hand!