Arts Mentoring programme review 2016/17

Thanks to funding received from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Arts Council NI PAF were able to pilot an innovative form of support to address the transition from custody into the community in Northern Ireland through our arts mentoring for people who have offended scheme.

We recruited and trained 27 experienced artists, writers, producers and craftspeople as Mentors.  There are two different mentoring pathways offering unique and bespoke support to people who have been involved in the criminal justice system and who would like to continue with their arts based practice.
First Step Mentoring:  This pathway is open to anyone who has had experience of the criminal justice system regardless of whether they have previously entered or won Koestler or Listowel Awards, or have an existing body of work.
Creative Futures mentoring: This pathway is designed to support either Koestler or Listowel Award-winners who would like to develop their practice in the community or in custody or those who have an existing body of work.
During 2016/17 all 7 mentees were matched with a mentor who worked with them on a one-to-one basis to identify the goals they would like to achieve in the arts.  In total 30 mentoring sessions were delivered to realise these goals.
Case Study – First Match
The first mentee to be match with her Creative Writing Mentor wanted to focus on, get help with writing, narrative and story-telling.  She was confident in her own ability to complete illustrations but wanted support in setting realistic goals for developing her idea of a children’s book.  This also involved a number of visits to environments/physical spaces related to her Bog theme.

Both her Mentor and PAF believed that the Mentee had shown real talent during her engagement through the First Steps pathway and as a result she is progressing unto the Creative Futures pathway to further develop her children’s book project.  The First Steps pathway provided the mentee with a foundation upon which to progress her ideas towards a publication.
The mentee, wrote
“My mentor worked with me really well and provided consistent support throughout the programme.  She gave helpful feedback and was inspirational in terms of my project content.  We have similar interest in our passion for literature, creative writing and the arts.  It was a very positive experience.”