FlightLab is a free mentorship programme for creative practitioners. As a practitioner who has spent around seventeen years on his creative journey — I have a few things to share with other practitioners who might be at an earlier stage of their development and might need some support.
What kind of support does a mentor offer to a creative practitioner? I will explain the model of the mentoring programme here and comment on its significance:
The ideas you have for your project are the fundamental building block of the mentorship programme.
Creative people somehow never have enough people who are willing to listen. The programme will attempt to correct this impression.
Both, the mentor and the mentee, regularly share narratives & experiences with each other.
*For creative people who work in isolation, sharing their experiences and also learning from relationships outside the social setting is very helpful.”
I understand all aspects of the mentee’s situation to contextualise all inputs.
Nothing is more dis-orienting than input that is supposedly being offered specifically and personally without being either. I avoid that.
FlightLab is tailored for individuals to progress on their journeys and paths and achieve their goals.
With so many generic experiences available out there, a specifically tailored experience is useful.
FlightLab recognises that realistic challenges help motivate individuals positively.
Comfort-zones are the biggest hurdles in a creative process. I attempt to make the mentee feel challenged every now and then.
Challenges become productive when they are incremental in nature. The steps are thought of together.
*The milestones representing each challenge should not be too far apart or be too different in terms of their difficulty to keep the mentee motivated and driven. *
Exercises are suggested by me on an ongoing basis to help the mentee meet challenges.
Exercises are activities performed in a step-by-step way that often produces different results on being performed by different individuals.
FlightLab makes an effort to remain accessible to practitioners from all backgrounds.
The foremost problem of the traditional academy is that sometimes it pitches itself as an ivory tower that becomes too intimidating for the young practitioner to approach and seek help from.
- Mutual Respect:
Mutual respect between the mentor and mentee helps both remain receptive to each other.
A successful mentorship experience can unwind only when the mentorship and mentee are receptive to each other and respect each other.
A mentor can genuinely help a mentee if the mentee is open about the struggles and challenges they face.
Shame, embarrassment or lack of trust (private is a value that most mentors hold dear) can be real obstacles in the development of a healthy mentorship relationship.
Rigour is a subjective concept but there is an understanding of the concept in terms of time + intensity.
*Rigour (the quality of being extremely thorough and careful) reflects in the form of a firm commitment to a practice that is not easily shaken. *
Feedback cycles in a mentorship process must move forward in a predictable & consistent format.
Feedback and response should be prompt, honest and upfront. Before the next iterative cycle starts, a response to the previous cycle is helpful.
This mentorship programme is free of cost (free as in “free beer” in the free software tradition) for a few important reasons:
- The creative instinct is universally present amongst all people. Some get to develop and nurture it to be able to express it and some don’t. I personally do no believe in the myth of talent – especially the claim that we are born with it. If I can be of service to help increase the general number of active creative voices in our culture / environment (which is what we really need in 2019).
- I realised after watching the recent film ‘Super 30’ that working to facilitate and develop the potential of the privileged amongst us is not as fundamentally impactful as doing it irrespective of privilege. The IIT-education thread in the film needed to focus on the underprivileged. The area of creative mentoring does not.
- One of the main reasons why we feel that the creative life is not practical or realistic is because so few of us do it. Can I help some people overcome the daunting nature of the act of initiating a creative practice? Apply here.
- Another perspective that helped me decide the make the mentorship experience free was the difference between the concepts of ‘price’ and ‘value’ that I understood. Price is of course the agreed upon value to be paid in the form of some acceptable token of exchange. But how is this value validated by people at large who want to engage?