As we enter into a new iteration of the Creative Spaces Mentoring Network, we would like to share one final interview with mentee Brenda Darling around the topic of her experiences and learning with the 2020-2021 iteration of CSMN!
1. What motivated you to sign up for the Creative Spaces Mentoring Network?
Alumnae Theatre Company ‘s facility needed many upgrades and improvements from sound and lighting systems to accessibility. We didn’t even know what it might cost or how to find out. We asked the Creative Spaces Mentoring Network whether they could find someone to help us in create a request for proposal to upgrade a theatre facility.
2. Who was your mentor?
3. Were they a part of the same industry/arts discipline as you? If not, were you still able
to learn things applicable to your situation from your mentor?
With experience that extended from theatre and opera set and lighting design, to renovation and design of contemporary theatre facilities to leading the Faculty of Fine Arts at York University, Phillip understood our situation immediately and could recommend exactly what we needed to do.
4. How did your one-to-one meetings take place? What kind of structure did your meetings have?
Due to the pandemic, Philip Silver and I have spoken for many, many hours, but we have never met except over Zoom. Our discussions were guided by the practical steps in developing a “Request For Proposal”. Often our next meeting would be arranged once I had completed my assigned research.
5. How did the knowledge gained from having a mentor, or how did your mentor directly, help you solve a challenge or issue you were having with your creative space project? Briefly explain the issue or challenge and how your mentor was a part of solving it.
To begin with, I had intended to write an RFP requesting a costing for every upgrade we’d dreamed about for our perfect facility. I hadn’t realized how much a consultant would charge for pricing our many options. Patiently, Phillip talked me through the cost implications of some of the more elaborate, most unlikely dreams. I removed them from the RFP: why pay to price something that we were definitely not going to undertake?
6. Over the last year, how much has your knowledge of creative space projects changed and how much of that would you attribute to the mentoring network? Do you have more confidence moving forward in your project?
I have gone from 0 to 99 in my ability to prepare an RFP, thanks to my mentor. Best of all, the basics of this this new skill can be used in multiple situations large or small, in or out of the arts, for many years to come. I also know it well enough that I could instruct others.
7. Would you recommend this program to someone who was in your position a year ago? If so, why would you?
This seems to be an ideal program in which to accomplish a specific challenge or project which requires practical steps to complete.
8. If someone wanted to make the best use of the Creative Space Mentoring Network, what would you recommend to them?
If the project is outside your experience or abilities, so much the better, especially if you intend to do all the leg work, and will rely on your mentor for just advice and guidance.
– Brenda Darling, Past President of the Board for The Alumnae Theatre Company
We look forward to continuing the Creative Spaces Mentoring Network in 2021-2022!