Saturday, April 6, 2024

Learning About Creative Partners in Bulgaria!

I've just returned from Pleven, a city in northern Bulgaria, where I helped lead a week-long series of professional development workshops (called MUSE Academy) for Bulgarian colleagues working in museums and allied cultural organizations across the country.

One of the things I've been thinking about after this most recent trip to Bulgaria is how to recognize the four qualities that make great Creative Partners.

For me, the best Creative Partners are the ones that 1) Have Fun; 2) Think Big;  3) Work Flexibly; and 4) Get Stuff Done.  Below are some of the ways that the MUSE Academy fostered Creative Partners, and the four qualities below are important indicators to keep in mind when working with partners on any creative and challenging project.

1) Have Fun
My memories of working with my two MUSE Academy co-instructors, Christina Ferwerda and Jamie Lawyer, are filled with laughter.  We all really believe in working hard during our trips to Bulgaria, with extensive planning ahead of time. And yet, our work is enjoyable because we have fun together.

2) Think Big 
Our creative partners at the America for Bulgaria Foundation sponsor the MUSE Academy, and we are so lucky to have Nadia Zaharieva and Yuliana Decheva as the point people from the Foundation driving everything forward.  Nadia and Yuliana push us to "think bigger" and to create more opportunities for the MUSE Academy participants, in turn building even greater capacity in the Bulgarian museum and cultural sectors.

3) Work Flexibly
Unexpected events occur in every project I've worked on. Our time in Pleven was no exception, as a few "Bulgarian surprises" came up during our week there. Despite this, I was sure that my Creative Partners would be flexible and figure out ways to overcome any challenges rather than complaining or pointing fingers.

4) Get Stuff Done 
Можело is a Bulgarian word meaning roughly, "This can be done!"  We strive for a spirit of Можело during our week together with MUSE Academy participants -- to push against the notion of "This is not possible" and to accomplish a lot together and challenge ourselves creatively.

Here's hoping you can find wonderful Creative Partners that meet all four of these criteria when you put together your next project!

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Paul Orselli writes the posts on ExhibiTricks. Paul likes to combine interesting people, ideas, and materials to make exhibits (and entire museums!) with his company POW! (Paul Orselli Workshop, Inc.) Let's work on a project together!

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