Partnerships – By @PugheScarlet

By Scarlet Pughe 


Partnerships – A reflection on Alex Meck, my dissertation and my experiences.


Creative partnerships are very much like romantic relationships. You find someone who sees the world the same way you do; you feel that spark of connectedness; you start building something together; and you try to hold on through the inevitably bumpy ride, where deepening familiarity can either strengthen your bond or tear it apart.

We work in diverse ways, approach problems differently, and react to conflict in distinctive ways according to Annis and Nesbitt in their book “Results at the Top”.  They suggest that men are fact based in their approach to work whereas women have a greater memory capacity and perceive things more deeply. When problem solving, women tend to define a problem in broader terms and examine a wider array of potential factors before going into solution mode whereas men tend to define the problem and begin be eliminating issues. They suggest this is why women prefer to talk out problems and men want to dive straight in to solve them. There tends to be a large amount of generalisation in all these types of analyses however psychologist David Myers suggests that “in-group bias is the tendency to favour one’s own group: “In high schools, students often form cliques – jocks, preppies, stoners, skaters, gangsters, freaks, geeks – and disparage those outside their group.”  

It is suggested therefore that men are probably more likely to pair with other men and likewise with women. Logistically, at an early career stage there should be roughly enough of each sex to go round equally however years down the road, with a lack of available women it is likely there will be fewer all-female partnerships. Fewer relationships will mean that women are less likely to prosper in the industry.

The threat of partnership break ups through basic differences or home pressures from existing spouses or partners as they see their loved ones perhaps travelling the world and sharing intimate thoughts and experiences together as they become increasingly bonded as a pair. Perhaps a male will think it inevitable that the partnership will break up for the woman to start a family. Can the new mum manage unsociable working hours alongside her family? Would she want to? For how long?

Why do men want ‘boys nights out’ and girls the same thing? Because ultimately they feel most comfortable with members of their own sex. Successful male creative pair Abdou Cisse and Akwasi Tawia Poku reinforce the intimacy required to be successful. They suggest looking close to home to find a creative partner, ”We have known each other from the age of 6 and we are friends first. That means we can be real with each other. Be on the same team. Being in a duo is like being in a marriage; if your goals are aligned, you can both work towards something.” To stay together they insist that your goals need to align and if they don’t, you need to talk about how you can support each other to achieve what you both want. “Many pairs split up because there is no discussion about what they want out of the partnership and their career aspirations become different. Partnerships should be produced organically. You should enjoy coming up with ideas together it should not be forced”.

Female creative pair Claire and Emily are work colleagues, roommates and best friends. “Codependent? Maybe! But also fun, because every night is a sleepover party.”

Unmarried, they believe that keeping their partnership fresh and fun must be the same as keeping a marriage together. ”Keep the magic alive: Articulate your feelings, go on dates, maintain your own interests, tell each other how pretty the other is, don’t go to bed angry, tell each other how pretty the other is. Normal stuff. Totally normal.” 


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