4 April 2013
It was great to see so much enthusiasm and the range of experiences among the participants in Arts Access Aotearoa’s recent mentoring workshop, held in Wellington. As Deputy Chair of the board of Arts Access Aotearoa, I welcomed the participants – mentors and mentees – to what was the first event of our mentoring project. Many had travelled considerable distances to be there, and were willing to give their time to mentor others or to be mentored.
The mentoring project is part of our pilot Creative Spaces Leadership Programme. The aim of the programme is to help build the capacity of creative spaces by sharing expertise, strengthening their current leadership and developing future leadership.
The mentoring workshop was an excellent start and was led by Aly McNichol, the Director of New Zealand Coaching and Mentoring, who brought a wealth of experience to the day.
Commitment is inspiring
I expressed to the participants my huge admiration for the work being done by creative spaces in communities. The commitment of people working in creative spaces to provide opportunities for people to develop and demonstrate their creative abilities is inspiring. I know it is demanding work – with organisational, administrative and artistic expertise needing to be combined with the never-ending challenge to attract funding.
My experience in public sector leadership roles has shown the value of quality mentoring and the big difference it can make. Good mentoring requires particular skills if it's to be effective. It is not about telling someone the “answers”. Rather, it’s about being a good listener and sounding board. It's about sharing and testing different ideas and alternative approaches. By drawing on different experiences, horizons are broadened.
For me, the workshop demonstrated how Arts Access Aotearoa looks to work in partnership with all creative spaces. I see an important role for Arts Access Aotearoa in connecting people through strong networks. These help build capability, and enable ideas and experiences to be shared. I strongly believe that the collective strengths of our organisations, rather than fragmented individual strengths, will make the biggest difference over time.