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What Should I Do If I Want to Work With Others?

Many artists and designers work alone, but sometimes working with others can be advantageous. Often, forming a studio group gives you additional strength, enabling you to progress your career more quickly through collaborations or by forming a cooperative, partnership or company.However, working with friends or acquaintances can be fraught with difficulties. There are several factors you should consider to avoid problems.

1. When artists or designers jointly create new artworks, creative products or services, even on an informal basis, they may have a co-ownership of rights. That is why it is worth investing in an agreement drawn up by an intellectual property (IP) solicitor. Without having a proper agreement, even when working informally, disputes can arise about the control and exploitation of rights

2. Avoid putting any money into a joint venture, even in a joint bank account, before a proper agreement is in place.

3. In any joint initiative, such as a group exhibition, it is important that the project is well managed, with regular meetings and contributors adhering to agreed roles, responsibilities and deadlines.

4. Before setting up a business with others, seek advice from business advisers, accountants and solicitors. Most professionals will offer a free initial consultation before a fee is agreed.

5. To minimise the risk of failure, write a business plan together and set out your agreed objectives.

Taken from A Pocket Business Guide for Artists and Designers, by Alison Branagan. A&C Black publishers.

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