a-n members Kate Buckley, Anna Hart and Helene Roberts have launched The Hour, a new coaching collective offering dynamic, one-to-one support specifically tailored to artists. The Hour works with artists of all disciplines including visual artists, writers, musicians, performers, choreographers, architects, curators and designers.

Buckley, Hart and Roberts, who are based in Lincolnshire, London and Cardiff respectively, were all trained as coaches on the a-n Visual Arts Coaching Course in 2017. Since 2016, a-n has trained 20 Artist and Arts Organiser members as accredited coaches through this two-year course, in partnership with RD1st. Roberts and Hart are also coaches on a-n’s current Coaching programme.

Coaching offers a safe, supportive and confidential developmental space within which to explore specific issues, aspirations and challenges. It can help artists to identify purpose, blocks, gain insights and take action. Coaching concentrates on where the artist is now and how to get where they want to be in the future in order to achieve creative dreams and goals.

In each 60 minute session the artist identifies the focus of conversation, while the coach listens, reflects and asks questions. Often this results in the coachee discovering resources that they already have. As Buckley puts it, “Artists are experts of their own experience. Coaching gives you the space to realise what you have available.”

Roberts continues: “Coaching provides a space to focus on your thinking processes, art practice and emotional landscape. The role of the coach is to ‘hold’ that space and ask questions that expand, explore and deepen that process of thinking.”

The Hours recognises that artists often don’t have that space. “Artists do a lot of lone working and often feel pulled in many directions, fulfilling many roles beyond their artistic practice: managing social media, website, sales and admin,” says Buckley. “Coaching creates a space to reflect and to focus,” she adds.

Coaching can help bring vital support to those seeking change, a shift in gear and renewed focus. Hart explains that it can assist with “working out what the things are that limit us and begin to dismantle those barriers.”

Buckley, a multidisciplinary artist, is also a founding member of the artist-led collective General Practice and a curatorial director of Slumgothic. “Working within artist-led groups there’s a lot of mutual support,” she notes, “but it’s often focused on the group’s aims, so artists can lose the macro view and the wider perspective of their own practice.”

Roberts explains that artists, as visual thinkers, tend to respond well to coaching. “As coaches the way we formulate questions encourages metaphorical thinking,” she says. “Artists automatically have a more spatial and visual way of thinking and coaching encourages a non-linear and expansive view.”

All three coaches come from collaborative art practices and backgrounds. Hart has worked with artists for twenty-five years, since 2007 as founder and lead artist of AiR, alongside teaching in universities and community settings, while Roberts is an artist, curator and director of international arts organisation tactileBOSCH.

Outlining the benefits they themselves have gained from their receipt of coaching, The Hours trio variously describe its positive effects including personal and professional growth, learning to become mutual and ‘self-coaches’, returning to their own practices after years working with and for other artists, and a renewed energy.

The Hour coaching sessions are offered remotely, with contact currently by either phone or video call, making sessions flexible and accessible. Sessions are one hour long, working through a six-month series with one session per month.

To celebrate the launch, The Hour is offering a 10% discount to all a-n members, valid until 31 October 2020.

To find out more visit www.thehourcollective.org or call Anna on 07977 094 330

Image: from The Hour Instagram