How to find an arts or screen mentor – and make the most of it when you do

From structured programs to coffee dates with mates, how do you find the right mentor and get the most out of the relationship? We asked experts from across the arts for advice.

My fantasy of being mentored looks something like this: I meet regularly with an older, wiser person at the peak of her powers. Maybe we meet for coffee or, even better, wine and dinner. She sees my potential and offers encouragement, along with some gentle but perfectly targeted constructive criticism. She says that I inspire her too! (There’s a lot of ego in mentoring fantasies – more on that later – and not a lot of actual hard work.) She shares her networks with me and, as the years pass, the two of us become more like colleagues and friends than mentor and mentee. Rosy glow all round. Closing credits.

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Rochelle Siemienowicz is the ArtsHub Group's Education and Career Editor. She was previously a journalist for Screenhub and is a writer, film critic and cultural commentator with a PhD in Australian cinema. She was the co-host of Australia's longest-running film podcast 'Hell is for Hyphenates' and has written a memoir, Fallen, published by Affirm Press. Her second book, Double Happiness, a novel, will be published by Midnight Sun in 2024. Instagram: @Rochelle_Rochelle Twitter: @Milan2Pinsk