2015: Diane Busuttil (mentor) and Yiorgos Zafiriou (mentee)

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The DAAD RAMP conference in Hobart, Tasmania was a great success and a vital learning experience on so many levels. 

Yiorgos Zafiriou, my mentee, and I presented a summary of our working process throughout our two year mentorship partnership. Our work was validated by the two key speakers, Dr Julie Preston and Professor Erik Wapstra, who gave thorough outlines of research project practices and management techniques.  Yiorgos and I were flattered to discover that our imperical practices corresponded to their suggested guidlines and best practice suggestions.

Below I have articulated a brief step-by-step summary of our mentorship experience.  I have also provided a list of suggested ideas for further development of the program.

INCEPTION: 

I approached Andreas Jaeger regarding conducting an arts-specific mentorship arrangement.  He agreed to approve Mr Zafiriou and I although neither of us were affiliated with an academic institution at the time.

INTENTION:

Mr Zafiriou was interested to continue his research investigation in Berlin, Germany and listed his intended outcomes of his trip to Berlin, Germany.  They were:

  • to extend his performance practice,
  • engage in intellectual dialogue and ongoing discussion,
  • gain insight into the performance and visual art scene in Berlin,
  • to perform a live performance art piece.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF A MENTOR:

  • Sharing artistic experience and skills
  • Act as a sounding board
  • Provide feedback, encouragement and support
  • Merging artistic interests and developing research goals
  • Listening ie: strong person to person skills
  • Offer advice if necessary
  • Maintain a positive outlook
  • Academic and artistic exchange for mutual benefit to researchers.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF A MENTEE:

  • Committment to the set outcomes and goals
  • continued communication with my mentor
  • acive participation

CHALLENGES:

  • We worked outside of our artistic fields and took it upon ourselves to learn more about each other’s field of practice and research, ie: visual art and performance practice.
  • We communicated regularly via skype and e-mail, however, the initial contact was made face to face.
  • I gave dates as to when I would be available and when not (due to touring commitments).
  • Social media

OUTCOMES:

  • Shared knowledge of the arts and performance industry
  • Support for each other’s practice and encouragement to continue in an academic environment
  • Continued intellectual dialogue
  • Ongoing artistic support

SUGGESTED RAMP RESEARCH DEVELOPMENT:

  • Creating a connection between DAAD Australia and the DAAD Artists in Berlin programme, benefitting mentees who wish to visit Berlin for artistic research, as well as official affiliations with other organisations that would help boost the relevance and visibility of RAMP.
    • Create Networking possibilities with DAAD alumni.
    • Initiate partneships programs with Goethe Institute and other other academic institutions
  • Offer a financial stipend to cover costs of research exchange between the mentor and mentee.
  • Establish online reporting mechanisms via social media to report outcomes with other researchers.
  • An interactive website where all mentors and mentees can discuss processes and challenges.
  • Online profiles of mentor/mentee candidates
  • Make provisions for non-University applicants and Networking possibilities with DAAD alumni.