My year of my mentoring bursary is over. I feel sad to move on from this. It has been a positive experience. Working with Rosalind Davis has been very valuable. Having someone to be accountable to, but who is not there to judge or measure your output in quality or quantity, is definitely beneficial to me. I will need to look towards a way in which I can find something similar.
Working on a one-to-one basis has been very different to a group experience. Groups can be fantastic, and supportive in many ways. But I have not found them as helpful as the closer relationship of a single mentor has been over this last year. For me, it takes away the fear of saying what is on my mind – about myself, about my work, about my ideas, about my ambitions. It has felt safe to say what I think – and this has led to helpful conversation and pointers to push me forwards when I feel myself stumbling.
It is not that I feel a group will laugh at me, or not take me seriously. But a group of people – however lovely – can be intimidating. At the very least it can feel hard to have your share of time and be able to really think hard about your own work, while at the same time trying to be constructive and supportive in return for the rest of the group. I like to be helpful to others but it is hard to switch rapidly from your own work and thoughts to a different mindset to encourage others.
As to progress this year – it has been slow, but I think overall it has been steady. I have begun a new collaboration which I am really excited about. I have thought long and hard about self-worth and building this for myself and not relying on external measures. I have clarified my project and what I am aiming for with this body of work.