As Quiet Entrepreneurs, we often work alone. Could we be missing out on an opportunity to create something extraordinary by collaborating? Julia Barnickle and Julia Elmore took that chance. Their aim in working together was to capture the process of creating art using found materials at a unique London location. Watch them!
Their work together leads to insight and new perspectives — for them and for us as viewers. Those are desirable results in any joint venture!
So what can two Julias teach us about collaboration?
Collaborate and turn up the dial on your potential
The experience they gained working together enhanced their creative work: Julia Barnickle posted this as part of a video series featuring interesting London locations. For Julia Elmore, the venture was a step in understanding how important “letting go” is in the creation of temporary art — something she explores in her blog, Be Creative Daily.
When I asked them about their work together, their comments provided many inspiring insights about the nature of collaboration.
1. Collaborating means sharing ideas, resources … and more.
What the partners share has an impact on outcomes. Share information, resources, activities and goals—whatever has value for the project aims.
To make this film, Julia Barnickle and Julia Elmore shared
- time together
- skills, such as those for making video, collecting materials, and making art
- resources, such as cameras, knowledge, ideas, found materials
- activities, such as going to the wharf to explore the beach and surroundings
- interest in helping one another achieve personal goals
- the goals of spending time with someone they liked and possibly creating something special
The place and time were important, and the low tide at the time of their visit made it easier to find materials to create art on the beach.
2. People can collaborate over time at different levels of intensity.
The more partners share and the more time spent working together, the deeper the collaboration. Any single aspect of the video project could have been completed with no thought of anything greater; the power here is the persistent combining of efforts toward a shared vision of creativity.
The most intense participation for Julia Elmore was gathering material that day and creating the art. After that, she began the processes of letting go and of spreading new insight through her blog.
Julia Barnickle admits the work was moderately intense while filming on the beach. It became more so when, as video editor, she realized it was important to capture and preserve the integrity of the artist and her creation.
A wonderful opportunity
3. Success in collaboration is about goals, not tasks.
Individuals in a project who tick off items on a to-do list are not collaborating. Their project can still be valuable as a cooperative venture or a coordinated activity, but it is not collaboration. For that, you need shared goals. These can be quite general. Julia Barnickle’s goals were to film “a personal viewpoint” of an unknown part of London, knowing it could show “two friends getting to know each other better, and possibly creating something out of spending time together.” Julia Elmore’s goals were similar: “It was a case of meeting up, having a chat, some fun arting and filming and seeing what emerged.”
Something unique does emerge, and as both subject and contributor, Julia Elmore finds the video captures her creative process authentically.
4. Collaborating is fun!
Both women testify to how enjoyable the project was. It would have been a success for Julia Barnickle, whether it worked out or not, “because we would still have had an enjoyable time.” And for Julia Elmore, this was “a reminder of how much fun” collaborating can be; “I would like to do things like this more often.”
No doubt, there was pure delight in finding and aligning the music “Snowdrop” by Kevin McLeod at incompetech.com to the visual sequence of the video. We practically feel the wet sand and the breeze from the Thames, so the music provides a subtle moodiness, blending the visual and emotional.
Greater than the sum of the two parts
5. With collaboration comes greater insight and productivity.
The more closely people work together and share perspectives, the more likely they are to find new ways of seeing a problem, or to gain a new awareness or understanding. Partners notice differences, yet push through to their shared goals, gaining insight all the way. Julia Barnickle notes, “… this wasn’t like any other video I’ve filmed so far, because it involved another person. … Julia was making herself vulnerable by being filmed creating spontaneous art, so I became very protective of her and her process.”
For her part, Julia Elmore felt that “The project really kickstarted something in me.” She recognizes that she had been experiencing a creative dry spell just prior to this project: “three weeks of block on blogging lifted and I have been writing and sharing a lot both on my website and in my newsletters since.”
6. The value of collaborating reaches far beyond the project itself.
When partners are sharing and applying equal efforts, a kind of collaborative synergy arises. Magic happens. The collaborators become aware of unexpected results — beyond anything they might have achieved working alone.
Julia Barnickle and Julia Elmore stepped up their collaboration as they worked together, from their first networking, through cooperating on smaller projects, to this collaborative venture. Together they created something that has value beyond their individual needs—even for us now, in better understanding the power of collaboration.
The creation of a one-of-a-kind monster on a unique beach, with beautiful light and a gentle breeze, shows how friends support and learn from one another — leaving behind what is merely material to wash away with the tide.
Photo and video credit: The photo of Julia Elmore and the One Wheeled Thames Serpent, was taken by Julia Barnickle at Gabriel’s Wharf on the Thames in London, England. Julia’s Gabriels’ Wharf video is part of her London Cameo series of little-known locations worth visiting. Both the video and photo are also used with permission.