Ideally, feedback offers wonderful opportunities for improvement in
the creative process. We get a sense of the effect of our creation on an
audience, we receive new perspectives on our approach, and we get
inspiration and encouragement for the work ahead. Everyone learns: the
person receiving feedback, the person giving feedback, and, in a group
setting, those observing the process.
Giving and receiving feedback well is not easy, however. All too
often, those giving feedback fall into judgment or giving advice, and
those receiving feedback become overwhelmed and defensive: we find it
hard not to take it personally. In an educational setting, feedback and
evaluation are usually mixed up, which leads to serious issues of
openness and trust.
I have designed these feedback formats to break through our usual
feedback patterns and to separate thinking from emotion. The formats
are artificial on purpose, so that they force us to formulate feedback
in a way which is helpful and enriching. These formats are based on and
adapted from existing feedback and thinking techniques.
This material was developed between 2009 and 2011 for peer
learning processes at the Amsterdam Film Academy and the DAS Master of
Theatre programme of the Amsterdam University for the Arts. The best way
to get a sense of how the formats work in practice is to watch A film about feedback which chronicles group feedback sessions in Amsterdam and at the Theatre Festival in Goteborg, Sweden. (included as bonus lecture)
This online course consists of instruction videos for the formats
and facilitator. I am making it available to encourage artists,
teachers and everyone else interested in group feedback. Feel free to
download and use the videos, powerpoint and handout in your own
sessions. The material is made available under a Creative Commons
attribution license, which means you can do it with what you want, as
long as you acknowledge its source. Please be aware that these formats
were developed specifically for group peer feedback sessions on
work-in-progress – if your situation is different, you will need to
adapt them accordingly. Good luck!