Establish Member Focus - December 2020

As the year draws to an end, we wanted to find out how our Establish members are getting on with the peer mentoring aspect of the programme.


We set up peer mentoring groups with 5-6 members and support them to meet about once a month. Each member has 15-20 minute slots to talk about issues they are struggling with in their work and get advice, questions and support from their peers. The members of each group are diverse and work in very different types of practice. As the members say in the following interview, getting an outside viewpoint on your practice and the accountability to keep moving is incredibly useful. These sessions are run on Zoom with facilitation provided by Establish Member Consultant Ruth Singer. Members can also access 1:1 mentoring if required too.

Jayne Middlebrook, interviewed by Sarah Perkins


Sarah: How has peer support helped you through this difficult year ?


Jayne: Meeting online has been a godsend, to help me feel connected to a creative community, even when we can’t meet in person. Peer mentoring has shown me that artists in other fields are going through similar experiences. We listen to each other and bring our own experience to the group. Someone with no experience of your practice asks a simple question ‘why?’, which gives you the space to consider your work from the outside view. Really useful!


S: Would you recommend/encourage peer support to fellow creatives?


J: Yes, definitely. It has been hard to coordinate a big group of busy people, but when we have been able to meet it has been very useful. I rely on the input of other makers and artists all the time but it’s been useful to do this mentoring with people I hadn’t worked with before. I think we look at each other’s practice with fresh eyes.



S: Which part of the WebinArt experience has been most beneficial to you & your business?


J: The peer mentoring has been really useful to me and my business. I also set up a regular accountability session with another WebinArt member which has kept us both focussed on following through on some of our goals. I will try to maintain this method of goal setting and communicating after the program ends.


You can see more of Jayne's work here - https://www.jcmiddlebrook.co.uk/


Sarah Perkins, interviewed by Jayne Middlebrook


J: Have you experienced peer mentoring before and what expectations did you have for the scheme?


S: I’ve not experienced peer mentoring before. I expected a diverse selection of practices within the artists involved. I'm just over 2 years in business & anticipated that there would be experienced business owners to draw inspiration & advice from.



J: What have been the benefits over traditional one-to-one mentoring?


S: I think the main benefit is having more heads than one advising & giving differing perspectives on subjects. Or sometimes everyone comes up with the same solution/viewpoint which then strongly reconfirms ideas/directions etc. The peer group dynamic is always positive & I always come away feeling refreshed & inspired. I hope my input has the same effect.



J: How have the sessions worked logistically?


S: It’s been difficult at times to attend planned webinars etc. It’s been mainly due to covid, the challenges of homeschooling, the pressures of family life. Most recently, time has been precious & busy during the pre Christmas period. I’ve done my very best to attend the peer group meetings & play back the webinars.


You can see more of Sarah's work here - https://www.sarahperkinsart.co.uk/

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