(This post draws heavily upon the experiences of Paul Macalindin as described in his book Upbeat, which chronicles his inspiring work with the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq. To read more posts in this series go to the March to August 2017 Blog Archive on your right.)
'This year, I had every video evaluated by an NYOI tutor plus someone completely independent, to be sure we had the right people. I even insisted that all YouTube applications be set to public viewing so that applicants could see and hear why successful players had been accepted.'
From Upbeat: the Story of the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq by Paul Macalindin
Individual communities, businesses and other organisations can be poisoned by excessive secrecy and the rumours and uncertainties it creates. For collaborations that are excessively secretive, this poisoning is often terminal.
Trust is difficult to create within communities and organisations, etc., but it is even harder to create between them. They possess different cultures and competing agendas and often harbour resentments arising from current animosities and bad experiences. Throw excessive secrecy into the mix and trying to create trust can become a vexing repetitive nightmare made more tortuous by the chatter and gossip from multiple secrecy fertilised grapevines, which seek and generate multiple rumours and create ever-increasing uncertainty and discomfort.
To avoid the negative effects of excessive secrecy, collaborations must work hard at attaining levels of transparency and openness that are even more challenging and ambitious than those normally aspired to within single communities and organisations, etc.
This is why Paul insisted that YouTube auditions were set to public viewing. He knew that the NYOI was built upon delicate collaborative foundations which spanned the globe and diverse national and regional cultures and interests. He also knew that within these foundations sensitive informal grapevines were ever-ready to thrive upon gossip and transform it into damaging false assumptions and uncertainties.
It was not sufficient that the NYOI and its network of partners did things fairly and independently; they needed to be clearly seen and heard whilst doing it.