Arts Emergency

A mentor pair’s story

Mentor pair pic

Kiara and Charlotte worked with us for a year as mentee and mentor respectively. Here is their take on the experience!


“I have been a mentee on the Arts and Emergency programme for about a year now, and I can say that it has helped me a lot.

I have always enjoyed the arts and media subjects and was sure I wanted to go to university some day. However I planned on studying an academic subject (not because I actually liked it) but because schools and parents would tell me that an art degree is a waste of money/time and that I would never get a job and whatever excuse they could think of. Therefore I felt pressured to NOT apply for an arts degree, because I wanted to be capable of paying the bills every month.

Now, a year after, I’m writing my personal statement to apply to media and design universities. Thanks to Arts & Emergency! They made me believe that I can study whatever I like, whether is sciences or arts.

They done this by getting to know me and what I was interested in, and matching me with a great mentor, a film maker (which was awesome!)

Since then, we have spent a year emailing and meeting up to getting to know each other and discuss how she could help me. This has opened a lot of doors for me, because it allowed me to get to know a lot of people who work in this industry, building a network of contacts at a young age – which wouldn’t be possible without the AE.

These people gave me a lot of opportunities such as, getting to spend time with them working – this made me realized how the industry really works and, learn ways to succeed in it; As well as having adults experienced to help me and give me advice about my choices whenever I needed.

Since it helped me a lot this year, I hope that this programme grows even more, and it’s amazing that I’m able to still be part of it for another year!”


“Being a mentor for Arts Emergency has been one of the highlights of my year.

Mentoring is the perfect way to volunteer if you’re an artist or freelancer of any kind. You can organise meetings one-on-one that work for both you and your protégé, you can arrange fun arts-based activities that you know you’ll both enjoy and you can share your knowledge and ideas with someone who is enthusiastic and keen to learn.

Being a mentor this year had many benefits for me, some of which I expected but some of which took me by surprise. I was expecting the joyful feeling of helping someone who doesn’t have much access to the film industry or people working in it, but I wasn’t necessarily expecting to meet a young woman, Kiara, who was genuinely talented as well as super keen (I don’t think you should only mentor people with talent, but it does help!).

I was also surprised by how it made me feel about my own career. Although I’m at a different stage in life from Kiara, I’ve put up with a lot of unemployment this year (the freelancer’s curse!) and it has forced me to question my own choices and why I wanted to be a filmmaker back when I was leaving school all those years ago… Working with Kiara, talking honestly about the choices we have to make in life and the struggles of being in an artistic field, has helped me to remember why I love it. By encouraging someone else, I have also found encouragement.

The other way in which it has been an honour to be involved is the number of new people I’ve met. Obviously there’s my protégé, but we have, together, also met with other film professionals, some of whom were already in my network and some of whom were new. Plus the other mentors and protégés who are also taking part in the Arts Emergency programme. Plus the many other interesting people Neil and Josie know…! The network is growing and starting to feel like a huge force for good that should be acknowledged and embraced by everyone working in the Arts.

Overall, I wouldn’t give up this experience for anything. It has been a thrill and a joy. I know that Kiara and I will keep in touch over the years to come and I can’t wait to see how she takes the post-production world by storm!”