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EAT: ready to loosen belt and spread nationwide?

The Emerging Arts Trust (EAT) now has twenty mentoring partnerships up and running since the launch in March. EAT is focused on supporting emerging practitioners and artists transitioning from one specialisation to another within the film and theatre sectors.
As with yoga, flexibility is the key to creating and running the mentorship programmes. Approaches can come from would-be mentees, some of whom have clear aspirations including, in some instances, knowing whom they would like to be their mentor. Sometimes mentors make the approach, having identified someone with promise they think would benefit from a structured programme.
There are currently 37 mentors signed up with EAT, including Ken Duncum, Caroline Armstrong, Costa Botes, Briar Grace-Smith, Tanemahuta Gray, Anna Cottrell and Murray Lynch.

Sally Thorburn, EAT coordinator and administrator, explained that EAT works with mentor and mentee to draw up an objective-driven programme, designed to achieve set outcomes, that both parties can agree to. The shortest programme run so far has been a couple of months, the longest – still in progress – is expected to run for three years.

At present the scheme runs only in Wellington, with support from Wellington City Council, which has now committed funding for more programmes in 2010. EAT is in negotiations with various organisations and agencies nationwide to extend the programme into other parts of the country. It hopes to be able to offer a programme in Auckland from April next year.

Creative NZ has provided some funding for EAT to seed expansion into other regions.

As the programme has developed, a number of common threads have become apparent, such as a regular demand for business and/or financial training. EAT will investigate ways to deliver such services outside of one-to-one mentorship programmes, liaising with other organisations to create a workshop programme which could be repeated in different centres. It will also investigate the possibility of using peer-to-peer networks.

More information, for both would-be mentors and mentees, is available on the EAT website.