Nova Iskra and Creative Mentorship (Serbia) visits CRU Cowork (Portugal)

Author: Nova Iskra

The thematic focus of our p2p exchange was mentorship, especially one dedicated to the actors and professionals from the creative sector. We used the opportunity to understand and map the potentials of the hosting hub in order to raise awareness on the value of mentorship and create guidelines for development of the future mentorship program for the hosting hub (CRU).

From the side of Nova Iskra as the visiting hub, we also brought along one of our longest-standing community members Creative Mentorship, and their co-founder Dragana Jevtić. This program was developed in Serbia 8 years ago as a bottom-up initiative, from the need which was recognized by initiators. Since then, through every new cycle and new generation of mentees and mentors, the program has been further developed and improved. Creative Mentorship promotes mentorship as a way of lifelong learning and exchange of knowledge and experience between established professionals, mentors and emerging professionals, mentees. So far, 5 cycles of the program were realized with more than 250 participants. Our network represents 250 ambassadors of the idea of mentorship, knowledge and experience sharing, and mutual support.

Through knowledge exchange the specifics of their creative ecosystem was identified, and provided needed insights about the specific needs of their community. This created a baseline for a co-creation of a new and fresh mentoring program which would be tailor made in accordance with the specific local economic and demographic context of the Porto city.

Aside from the visit and meetings within the CRU cowork, the agenda included visits of several local creative hubs and creative organizations, such as PINC UPTEC, Porto Design Factory, several Bombarda neighborhood businesses (Porto’s arts block) and other portuguese important stakeholders, as creative industries’ experts/agents. The aim of these visits was in the relation of expansion of international networking relations with ideas to boost the potential for the future project collaborations.

On Thursday, October 8th, an informal event, presentation and discussion with the coworkers of CRU was organized. Dragana Jevtić, co-founder and director of ship organization and Nana Radenković, co-founder and program manager of Nova Iskra Creative Hub shared their experiences and insights on benefits and values of mentorship for creatives, with the aim to inspire community and support CRU founders to create and implement CRU Creative Mentorship program targeting specific needs of creative community in Porto. Event was organized in the outdoor area of the coworking, having in mind COVID-19 related measures, and in an informal and open atmosphere. Examples of good practices were exchanged with the focus on the real challenges and relevant experiences.

The next day, October 9th, a public event was realized with the topic “Creative Mentorship for Creative Leaders and Entrepreneurs”. The program put a focus on various topics around mentorship and its specific value for personal and professional development to the upcoming leaders in the field of culture, art and media. At this event, we had an opportunity to meet interested professionals and future professionals from the field of arts, culture and creative industries in Porto and shared our knowledge, experience, passion and enthusiasm.
During the visit we have experienced working in another creative hub, shared good practices and engaged in learning experiences and knowledge transfer for a period of 5 days. We co-created and presented a joint public event and informal presentation for the communie of the hosting hub and explored possibilities of future cooperation projects.

The plan is to continue to support CRU in the implementation of the new Creative Mentorship Program in Portugal. In order to do so, Tânia and Dragana agreed on the continuation of this peer-to-peer learning scheme beyond the timeframe of this Creative FLIP Program and Tânia is looking for financial support that allows them to finish the knowledge transfer process and to kick-off the pilot Creative Mentorship Program in Portugal in early 2021. Nova Iskra Creative Hub is happy to provide any necessary support in this process, also Nova Iskra continued communication with the Design Factory HQ initiated and inspired after the Design Factory Porto visit organized within the P2P program.

In conclusion, this program of exchange had a big impact on us, reminding us on how much we should value physical meetings and exchange between representatives of our organizations even in these challenging times.

This peer-to-peer exchange was made possible through the P2P program run by the European Creative Hubs Network and Goethe Institut as a part of the CreativeFLIP project, with funding from the European Commission.