The popular peer-mentoring programme hosted by Assemblage was re-launched in March 2013, offering a more structured format with dedicated mentors. Since September 2010, young and emerging artists have been benefitting from peer-mentoring through the Johannesburg-based visual arts organisation.
Assemblage’s peer mentoring groups are open to anyone who is serious about pursuing a career as an artist. The basic idea is simple, but powerful. A group of working artists and art professionals, practicing in a variety of media, get together to discuss, critique and advise on one another's work and concepts. Assemblage places great value on peer review and not producing work in isolation.
This new structured format, which was implemented throughout 2013 with great success, allows for a greater emphasis on the development of concepts and artwork, in relation to conceptual and contemporary practice. It will also encourage one-on-one engagement with a dedicated mentor and relationship building with your peers.
In 2013, over 45 artists went through the peer mentoring process and 12 mentors ranging from professional artists to gallerists, curators and writers, including: Gordon Froud, Diana Hyslop, Lerato Bereng, Thato Mogotsi, Maria Fidel Rigueros, Lesly Perkes, Stephan Erasmus, Michael Smith, James Sey, Usha Seejarim and Anthea Moys.
“The new structure of peer mentoring is excellent. Coming back every month, forces you to get work done. I like working deeper and deeper with people, it helps pulls the issues out. It is also good practice to present your concepts orally.”
“The feedback given from the group and mentors is brilliant - it helps to hear other people's opinions/thoughts/views.”
“The sessions made me focus my concept and thoughts and helped me to discover why I am doing what I'm doing.”
“It was great to meet other artists and understand the global/common problems that all artists experience - it is very reaffirming.”
“The sessions were beneficial and helped point me into the right direction.”
“It was so valuable to get feedback from art professionals and engage in critical discussions about my ideas.”
“The interactions with my peers and the mentors were very informative and provided lots of food for thought.”
“It is so valuable to discuss my work as part of my process and to learn to articulate to others in a clear manner.”
“I enjoyed developing trust and comfort with my group and mentors, although I never felt like I was receiving false positive affirmation”
“Meeting other people that are in the same place as me is valuable. I was given useful resources to investigate that linked with my work and where I could possibly take it.”
"Putting myself up for critique is very scary. This helped overcome my fears.”
“It was valuable to have advice from my peers and to bounce ideas off them. They challenge my thinking.”