Aside from the main activity of mentoring, another activity I identified and proposed for this bursary was attendance at a number of professional development workshops and events. I have previously attended great events at the Cultural Enterprise Office on writing proposals for example and have researched other workshops at places such as Tate and Whitechapel in London who offer a range of courses. I haven’t been so successful in finding suitable courses when I have been able to attend, but was keen to use the bursary well in this way so searched for alternative courses and forms of learning.

One thing which came up recently, and fitted in quite well with my desire to further my teaching and facilitating career, was a half day course in becoming an Arts Award Advisor with Trinity. I probably would not have normally gone for something like this for a few reasons: it doesn’t fit entirely with my aims for further and higher level teaching and rather than being linked to an organisation it is more of a freelanced offer. However, I think after having participated, these factors are not entirely relevant. Despite being aimed at a younger demographic – I can see the relevance of taking people through an award or qualification; it will give me practice in this area as something I identified was my desire to offer a course which included developmental aspects, rather than offering one off or stand alone courses. There appears to be a good level of support from the training providers and by being able to offer this as an extra when completing freelance work, it will certainly be of benefit and allow me to design and deliver courses.

It was a short half day course, but there was plenty of material to take away and the on-line resources appear more than sufficient to get started. Sometimes these kinds of awards and the processes you need to go through to complete them seem a bit bureaucratic and have many steps to follow – but in reality, it usually comes down to evidencing what you are doing and showing this come assessment time. As a facilitator, I feel I have the skills to do this and feel confident I could offer this award as an extra the next time I have a chance to work with a group on a project which is not a one-off and has some more structure over a period of time.

The next step after having completed the training will be to find a suitable project/group that I can advise and take through an award and see how this works in practice.

The second thing I started was an on-line distance learning module with Node Center. They offer a range of e-learning courses usually with a curatorial interest, lasting for about 4 weeks. Lectures are done in real time online and you can connect with the other participants. The course I have signed up to is Developing a Creative Platform or Creative Organisation. This seemed really relevant in terms of the kinds of themes I want to research and develop in my practice. Interestingly there are more than 20 people taking this course from around the world with quite a wide variety of experience. I hadn’t appreciated that that would be an added benefit of participation; hearing others’ stories and learning in a group environment. I have reassessed my perception of distance learning as it appears more participatory than I first thought. The homework for this week is research based, so I will take some time to look at artist led organisations which are similar to that which I am developing to see what knowledge can be gained – it is quite exciting being a student again!