This June, with a three-day long live event in Belgrade, Kooperativa has wrapped up the Mentorship program which started in January. Focused on combining peer-to-peer exchange of experiences and skills with an expertise approach, the program happened as part of the REG.LAB project. For Kooperativa, this cycle was a pilot project, and it was conducted in collaboration with the Creative Mentorship who is dedicated to affirmation of mentoring as a tool of personal and professional development.
In preparation for the program, an online pool of mentors was created. The pool gathered individuals from the region with various experiences, and it served as a focal point for the launch of the Mentorship Program. After the open call for participants was published, Kooperativa, together with the Reg.Lab project’s partners selected 6 mentoring pairs, based on the common interests of mentors and mentees. We paid a special attention to matching people from different parts of the region, with the idea of expanding horizons and opportunities for both sides.
The program consisted of 4 online group meetings, at least 6 individual meetings between meteors and mentees, and a 3-days-long live event in Belgrade, which gathered all the participants. This live event was the opportunity for many participants to meet in person for the first time. It opened up many favorable circumstances to exchange experience and knowledge within mentoring pairs, as well as among other fellow participants. Finally, this pilot cycle of the mentorship program resulted in several new projects and co-operations which are currently being developed by the mentees with the support of their mentors.
Throughout the program, Creative Mentorship has offered Kooperativa a much-needed framework. Even though mentors and mentees primarily appreciated the contributions from their individual sessions, the structure offered by the Creative Mentorship team was crucial in establishing good dynamics, resulting with 6 completed mentorship programs. Creative Mentorship offered extremely important guidance to us in shaping the Kooperativa’s specific mentorship program in the future.
We see Mentorship support as important to organisations, artists and cultural workers from SEE, providing them with skills that are proven lacking in the sector. Given the program’s focus on strengthening and increasing the capacities of the individuals engaged in the program, and, consequently, their organisations, by gaining new skills and gaining experience for their work on local, regional and national level, we have foreseen an important impact for diverse artistic communities on both local and regional level. Kooperativa is thus working towards ensuring the sustainability of the Mentorship program and we are hoping to making it part of our permanent program in the near future.
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The program is supported by Balkan Trust for Democracy, a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the USAID and co-funded by the European Union, as part of the open call for proposals EACEA 39/2019 Cultural Cooperation Projects in the Western Balkans “Strengthening cultural cooperation with and competitiveness of cultural and creative industries in the Western Balkans”. The Call for Proposals is entirely funded by the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA II).