Connect Mentoring Programme

The Connect Mentoring Programme is intended as a learning resource tool to support organisations and artists interested in mentoring. It aims to support the varying forms ofprofessional development needed by artists working in context.

The programme was developed by Common Ground and Create and was supported and funded by the Arts Council of Ireland.


Mentoring offers professionally focused development for artists. The mentor gives the benefit oftheir experience, support and knowledge to a less experience artist. To maintain a balanced relationship the mentor’s relationship to the mentee’s project should be neutral so they can assist the mentee to resolve any issues and enquiries as they arise. The results of mentoring can lead to a deepened awareness on the part of the mentee, not only improving their understanding of their own practice but also improving their understanding of the range of relationships and stakeholders that inform and shape collaborative arts practice. On the part of the mentor, it can lead to a more reflective approach to their own work.


Common Ground initiated a mentoring programme in 2006. In 2008 Common Ground joined with Create to form a jointly managed mentoring research project. The documentation was published in2010. Through a printed booklet, DVD and supporting blog, the programme outlines principles of approach rather than a prescriptive ‘how to’. They are intended to be used together as a learning resource tool to inform artists and different organisations how to support artists professionally, particularly those working in context. Common Ground and Create co-partnered on the framework and delivery of the project. The mentoring research, supported by an advisory group, responded to the unique conditions of artists working within a community context and drew upon expertise of individuals working in the field. A number of supporting events were programmed over the term of the project such as panel discussions, presentations and workshops. Public action research forums were hosted in Dublin, Galway and Limerick.

Artists involved in the mentoring programme:

  • Musicians Pia Dunne and MarkEllison were mentored by musician Paul Roe (shared mentoring)
  • Visual artist Fiona Whelan wasmentored by visual artist Jay Koh (one to one mentoring)
  • Musician Nick Roth was mentored by composer Elaine Agnew (one to one mentoring)
  • Vagabond Review used the Connect Mentoring framework to mentor Jamie Hendrick and Jonathan Myers of the What’s the Story? Collective who were resident artists at studio 468.

“The biggest lesson I have learnt in the whole year is the flexibility to both lose ideas and take on new ones about the way this whole thing is done and can be done.” – Mark Ellison, musician and mentee

“In the process of mentoring you really have to deepen your own ability to reflect, otherwise there is a danger of presenting something that is quite facile and off the cuff…and in away that presents the mentor with the opportunity to grow artistically.” – Dr. Paul Roe, musician and mentor