Proposed critique process by Kit Vincent
Purpose: To help each other work through problems associated with being creative and moving ahead with our work.
- We are looking for constructive comments and advice on our work
- We are looking for information on how to get our work into juried shows, publications and sales venues
- Only we as artists are in the driver’s seat when it comes to decisions about our work
- These assumptions affect the role of those seeking advice as well as those providing advice
Those of us seeking advice and information:
- Need to concisely articulate information about our work to help the group to provide a useful response
- Need to be specific about the type of feedback we are looking for
- Need to give permission to the group to offer their feedback
(See Guidelines for those seeking feedback below)
Those of us providing advice and information:
- Need to carefully observe the work presented
- Need to listen to the artist to ensure we understand the intent and the nature of the question posed to the group
- Need to inquire further (as necessary) before offering any advice
(See Guidelines for those providing feedback below)
Guidelines for those seeking feedback
Your work should be displayed to ensure that everyone in the group sees it clearly.
- It should be hung vertically or held up for the group by someone other than yourself
- If the work is small or has elements that need to be seen up close, ensure that it is circulated or made available to the group in advance of the feedback session.
1. Begin by situating this piece for the group (two minutes maximum)
- Is this new work?
- Does it stand alone, or is it part of a series?
- Does it represent a departure from previous work? In what way?
- Discuss theme/motif, composition/design/color, techniques, scale
2. What aspects of this piece are you pleased with?
3. What aspects of this piece are you less pleased with?
4. What questions do you have for the group?
(Technical advice, design/composition/ color, ideas for next piece, entering it in a show?
Guidelines for those providing feedback
- Before offering any advice, please ensure:
- You have had an opportunity to see the piece, in particular those aspects singled out by the artist.
- You are satisfied that those seeking feedback have first addressed all four questions in the guidelines
- When offering feedback:
- Your response should address the artist’s specific question, but also try to relate your comments to what the artist said when talking about what pleased or displeased them about the piece – try to preface your statement with what you heard if possible.
- Try to format your feedback as a question for the artist’s consideration; for example: “I heard you say … about your piece, would you consider trying this …?” “What if you tried ‘…xyz…’ in your next piece?”
1. Someone in the group offers to walk through the guide (interview format) with the artist. This helps keep the subject on track and relieves the presenter of having to worry about covering all the points – someone else looks after this for them.
2. Prior to offering answers to the artist’s question, the interviewer asks the group if they have any points of clarification or additional questions for the artist. This is to ensure that everybody has understood the artist clearly. Questions such as:
“Could you tell us some more about what you meant when you said…?”
“Could you elaborate more on this point...?”
3. Someone else in the group watches the time. This is particularly important when there are several people seeking feedback in one short evening.
Specifically, the time watcher:
a. Calls the beginning and the end of each session.
b. Reminds the ‘interviewer’ of the elapsed time at predetermined intervals as necessary.
4. Maximum session length – 20 minutes
a. Artist presentation – 5 minutes
b. Questions of clarification – 3 minutes
c. Feedback session – 12 minutes
5. Someone from the group takes notes on the salient points of the exchange. These hand-written notes are then given to the artist to take away at the end of the meeting.
Reprint permission granted by Kit Vincent. The process was developed by her critique group in Ontario, Canada, as a means to solidify the goals and methods for their critique sessions.