“Creative mentorship” affirms mentoring as a tool of personal and professional development, strengthens the capacities of the cultural sector and provides support to prospective professionals interested in developing, networking and sharing knowledge and experience. We want to build, gather and support a community of motivated and socially responsible individuals that will contribute to the development of a society based on creativity, culture, knowledge and mutual cooperation.

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MID-TERM GATHERING WITHIN THE CREATIVE LEADERS MENTORSHIP PROGRAM: Reflecting on the previous mentoring work and planning the future

After six months of mentoring work, participants of the Creative Leaders Mentorship Program gathered in-person on 18 and 19 May 2024, in Belgrade!

The goals of the Mid-Term workshop were to reflect on the mentoring process and mentoring relationships during the past period, to boost inspiration and motivation for future mentoring work, plan future steps and inspire participants to think of new, tailor-made ways for working together besides monthly mentoring pair conversations and meetings.

The Creative Leaders Mentorship programme is implemented by the Creative Mentorship team and supported by the British Council as a part of the project “Culture and Creativity for the Western Balkans” (CC4WBs). CC4WBs is a project funded by the European Union that aims to foster dialogue in the Western Balkans by enhancing the cultural and creative sectors for increased socio-economic impact.

Reflection on the first six months

At the beginning of the workshop on Saturday, Dragana Jevtić – the Director and Founder of the Creative Mentorship organization, answered the questions from the evaluation forms which were filled out by the mentees and mentors before the Mid-Term workshop in order to summarize their impressions from the programme’s first six months. Once again, she emphasized the significance of regular mentoring pairs meetings and reminded the participants of the importance of continuous communication with mentors and setting clear goals for the next period.

Foto: Tanja Drobnjak

Dragana also spoke about the Creative Mentorship Alumni Network and why is important for the participants to be part of this phenomenal network which consists of the like-minded individuals and open space for potential future collaborations. Active participation and connections with other Creative Mentorship Network’s members are key of the success and progress, because through the joint exchange of experiences and knowledge participants can achieve even bigger results.

Workshops and Activities

Larisa Halilović – Learning and Development Senior Expert and the Chairwoman of the Creative Mentorship Advisory Board, held a workshop titled “Core Values’’ on Saturday, 18 May. During this workshop, Larisa posed questions to participants about how often they reassess their core values. Some of the key questions were: “What is the core of you as a person?”, “What is really important to you?”, “What is non-negotiable?”, “What particularly annoys you?”, and “What triggers your impulsiveness?”. Participants had the opportunity to deeply reflect on their values and priorities, and have joint introspective and meaningful discussions.

Some of the detected core values were honesty, responsibility and dedication, which showed that participants share similar values. Larisa highlighted the importance of understanding and recognizing these values as the foundation for personal and professional growth. The workshop concluded with a common understanding that clearly defining and regularly reassessing our core values is key to long-term motivation and success in any endeavour.

Foto: Tanja Drobnjak

Another Saturdays’ workshop, facilitated by Dragana Jevtić, was focused on the importance of feedback. During this workshop, Dragana explained and underlined the importance of feedback and provided space for mentoring pairs to practice giving and receiving of the feedback, in order to have more truthful, open and high-quality mentoring relationship. Through this assessment, mentoring pairs were able to recognize their achievements, identify areas for improvement and set clear goals for future work.

Svetlana Stefanović, Michael Bird and Tamara Marković shared their experiences, expressed how much the role of a mentor means to them and pointed out that through this mentoring process they also learn a lot. They emphasized that the mentorship relationship is a two-way process, through their interaction with mentees they develop themselves further, acquire new knowledge and enhance their empathy and understanding.

All present mentees agreed on how much the overall mentoring process is meaningful, inspiring and supportive to them. They highlighted appreciation for having safe space for their goals achievement within the mentorship concept, surrounded by great people and amazing energy.

Aiming to connect and strengthen the group even more, the first day was wrapped with a Networking workshop facilitated by Relja Dereta – Public Speaking and Communication Coach, and member of the Creative Mentorship Advisory Board. During this workshop, participants had the opportunity to sharpen their networking skills, engage in quick and structured conversations with different group members, get to know each other better, exchange ideas and experiences, as well as to boost their professional and personal connections. This activity contributed to the creating of dynamic and cohesive atmosphere, which is crucial for the mentorship programme success.

Foto: Tanja Drobnjak

Larisa Halilović held another workshop titled “Shaping Our Goals” during the Mid-Term gathering. She began by presenting the VUCA world, an acronym that encompasses:

  • VOLATILITY: Indicates the speed of changes and their unpredictability.
  • UNCERTAINTY: Refers to the lack of predictability of future events and outcomes.
  • COMPLEXITY: Indicates multiple, interconnected factors that make decision-making difficult.
  • AMBIGUITY: Refers to situations where information can be contradictory or unclear.

Larisa explained how these principles affect the modern world and professional environment and emphasized the importance of adaptation and flexibility under such a condition. Some of the questions Larisa posed to the participants were: “What should I think about and what should I envision?”, “Which directions should I explore and consider?”, “What would I like to understand better?”, and “What would I like to gain clarity on?”. These questions aimed to encourage participants to deeply reflect on their goals, values and development directions.

Foto: Tanja Drobnjak

During the second day, participants had the opportunity to work 1-on-1 in the mentoring pairs. After the individual mentoring pair sessions, the joint panel discussion, as a final session, provided an additional opportunity for experience exchange, collective learning, reflection on the usefulness of the tailor-made mentoring tools and boosting inspiration and motivation for future mentoring work.

The Mid-Term gathering is ended with an inspiring Street Art tour led by Ljiljana Radošević from the organization Street Art Belgrade. Through the tour from Rajićeva Street to Branko’s Bridge, participants learned interesting facts about the beginnings of the street art scene in Belgrade and Serbia, its development, and the influence of socio-cultural context.