an interesting thing…

I am currently working with several other artists on a large project that will be premiered next month.  It became very clear yesterday that one of the artists (A) has been collaborating with someone else (B) on an aspect of A’s project.  This aspect is something A is interested in but lacks expertise.  B, on the other hand, is very experienced and sure-handed with this kind of work, and produces really lovely things.   A is a professor with some authority over B, who is a graduate student.

This part of the project was finished recently and I got to work with it for the first time yesterday.  It’s got B written all over it in terms of craftsmanship and style, and in fact A hadn’t even seen the finished product before B brought it to our meeting.

What’s interesting is that, to me and to the other people involved with the project, it seems that B should be brought on as an official collaborator (meaning that B will get credit for this work and can use this project as part of a portfolio).  However, there has been no mention of B’s input, either from A, B, or the organization that is funding this project.  I was talking with some of the other collaborators about this, and we are starting to think that we might have to say something to A and/or to the organization, to ensure that B gets credit for this work.  On the other hand, though, no one really knows who did the work but A and B.  There is a lot to be said for just keeping our mouths shut.  We are going to let it play out for a while–but we don’t want to stand by and let B get taken advantage of.

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3 responses to “an interesting thing…

  1. Because I do research with humans, I have to take various courses making sure I know it’s wrong to give people electrical shocks and syphilis and so on. I recently had to watch a series of totally hilarious videos about ethics in research. The scenario you describe would make a perfect vignette for one of these videos–there was a pretty similar one, in fact. Maybe the best approach is to bring it up with B–maybe A and B have some arrangement? I can’t tell whether you are in a position of authority or not, or what the repercussions would be for you if things went really badly, but my ethics videos would argue speaking out is better than doing nothing .

    • Thanks for this! I’m in a really funny position. A is actually my boss at my administrative job, but for this project we are collaborators with equal status. There is no real authority structure for the project (which is a problem, because there are a lot of people involved and the organization gets very messy). My instinct is that I am going to have to say something, but I’m going to try to approach it gently with B (who is a friend) to see what, if any, arrangement has been made to ensure that B receives credit, before saying anything to A.

  2. Ooooh jeez…you know the way they are cuddling up, maybe B is getting something from A, that only they know.

    They have, what is called as a small-arrangement.

    I would have to really go hats-off to A here….He is an ethical champ. 😦

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