Second online pilot of the Global FemArt Artists Circles

Second online pilot of the Global FemArt Artists Circles

The second online pilot of the Global FemArt Artists Circles from the 6th to the 17th of April 2020 was a new and highly stimulating challenge that resulted in a successful and fulfilling experience for the participants and the facilitator, exactly as the first face-to-face pilot. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic circumstances, Materahub decided to carry out the 3 sessions as online mentoring sessions with 6 enthusiastic female “artpreneurs” willing to internationalise their creative businesses.

These experimental online Circles sessions were unexpectedly engaging and productive for everyone lasting even more than 3 hours. As one of the participants’ stated, “The organisation and realisation of these online Circles sessions guaranteed the opportunity for each single participant to learn, improve, listen to their peers, compare their own entrepreneurial approach to those of other “artpreneurs”, exchange opinions, experiences and advice made the difference for the real success of the sessions.

The opportunity for the participants to share, discuss and revise their opinions, experiences, views and suggestions was the most highly productive outcome of the Circles as a whole and they were grateful for their peers’ inputs that contributed to implement their work.

The whole process worked very well in Italy, the online experimentation was very successful and the period of total standstill due to the pandemics created some favourable factors for the circles such as the greater predisposition of the participants to self-analysis and willing to improve, as well as the great desire for confrontation and dialogue.

Global FemART as a good practice in the Report on “Gender Balance in the Culture and Creative Sectors”

Global FemART as a good practice in the Report on “Gender Balance in the Culture and Creative Sectors”

By Anna Ochmann

We are delighted to announce the publication of the Brainstorming Report on ‘Gender Equality: Gender Balance in the Cultural and Creative Sectors’, in which Global FemART project is included as an example of good practice.

This document is the end result of a Brainstorming Session which took place at Goethe-Institut Prague (September 4-5, 2019) as part of the Voices of Culture event focusing on Gender Equality. During the Prague session four focus groups were created that worked on jointly identified priority issues. These were: Equal access for women to the labour market and leadership positions; Gender stereotypes, representation and role model; An end to sexual violence; Systemic gender discrimination.

Anna Ochmann, the president of ARTeria Foundation (the partner organisation  in Global FemaART project), was engaged in the work of the second group on ‘Education&Training:  Gender stereotypes, representation and role model’. The report is structured around the above-mentioned four topics. Each one is introduced in a specific chapter highlighting the problem, outlining action that needs to be taken as well as specific examples that serve as “good practice”.

This Brainstorming Report was presented to the European Commission at a Dialogue Meeting in Brussels, Belgium on the 6th of November 2019.

You can find the information about the project Global FemART (with a description) as an example of good practice (page 39).

In 2007 the European Commission set out  three strategic objectives in the European Agenda for Culture and also two tools for cooperation in the field of culture at EU level were introduced: the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) with EU Member States and a Structured Dialogue (SD) with civil society. Under the OMC, experts from ministries of culture and national cultural institutions meet a few times during a 1.5 year period to share good practices and produce policy manuals or toolkits, which are shared widely throughout Europe. Through the Structured Dialogue, the Commission maintains a regular dialogue with civil society – stakeholders provide key ideas and messages to ensure that the voice of civil society organisations is heard. One strand of the Structured Dialogue has taken the form of Voices of Culture.

First group of women artists and creatives took part in Artist Circles in Poland

First group of women artists and creatives took part in Artist Circles in Poland

By Wenancjusz Ochmann

The Artist Circles are the unique methodology developed by partners of Global FemART project with the aim of helping female artists and creatives to strengthen their entrepreneurial skills, supporting them in marketing their artistic activities and extending this internationally. The methodology is based on a series of meeting in small groups with a mentor. The participants have the opportunity to discuss their problems, do exercises and set their goals for the future. Mutual support is very important in the process.

In December 2019 and January 2020 four meetings of Global FemART Artist Circles were held in Poland. All meetings took place in Zabrze in the Kurort Qultury  Gajowa 9 near the headquarters of the ARTeria Foundation. The Polish facilitator was Wenancjusz Ochmann. He is a trainer, mentor, academic lecturer and musician with 25 years of experience in running workshops and training courses for adults, mostly in the Creative Sector. He prepares training and workshop programs to help artists and representatives of CCI to develop entrepreneurial and soft skills. Wenancjusz Ochmann has created and implemented several projects funded by the European Social Fund, among others for women in the artistic sector, to enable them to return to the job market after a maternity break.

Seven female artists and creatives completed the whole process in Poland.

Information on the subject of Global FemART Artist Circles was disseminated over two months before the first meeting using various methods and channels.

The first session was organised on Monday, 16th of December 2019. The entire first block of workshops was based on exercises breaking barriers and promoting communication in the group. And also two exercises were done to help participants create a vision for their businesses and how to internationalise them. The participants discussed about challenges, tasks and opportunities in the context of achieving goals.

The second session was organised on Friday 27th of December 2019. This session focused on setting SMART goals, which sparked discussion among the participants. For some, setting goals was difficult. The facilitator explained the Flow Theory. After the break, a discussion began about what motivates us to work and how we reward ourselves and about Flow Theory. The participants discussed challenges, tasks and opportunities in the context of achieving goals and then they continued working on their International Action Plans.

The third session was organized at request of participant on 6th January 2020. This time the emphasis was on internationalization. The PESTL model was discussed, which triggered a discussion on copyright.

The fourth and final session was organised on 28th January 2020. We returned to the discussion about challenges, tasks and opportunities in the context of achieving goals, especially the internationalization of our activities. Final Soft Skills Assessment Forms were completed and progress made was discussed.

Between sessions, some participants were in contact with the facilitator via e-mail. In addition, the participants were in contact with each other. There was an automatic self-help initiative. In addition, the participants formed a closed group on Facebook. The participants had access to materials between sessions. They could take their exercises home.

In general, the methodology contained in Artist Circles has proven itself very well in Poland.

Global FemaART multiplier event in Poland

Global FemaART multiplier event in Poland

By Wenancjusz Ochmann

The multiplier event in the Global FemART project in Poland was organized in KURORT QULTURY Gajowa 9, in Zabrze on Friday 25th October 2019. The programme was very intense but also very interesting and varied.

Anna Ochmann, president of Arteria Foundation, welcomed guests and participants at the beginning. Then there was an introduction to the Global FemART project and a summary of the preliminary results of the “Global FemArt Competence Framework” in Poland and selected countries of the European Union was made. Next, three presentations were made: Bogusława Bębnik presented “Advantages of being a woman-artist. Abstract image or realistic photograph?”. She is a psychologist, career counsellor and trainer. She has over 15 years of experience in career counselling for various groups of clients. She is particularly keen on working with women entering the labour market. She is a licensed moderator of Design Thinking, WenDo trainer, and assessor of Vocational Potential Analysis. She has been involved in projects supporting women on the job market, including those professionally related to the cultural and creative sector. After this Anna Lewicka showed “Road to artistic career – opportunities and threats in women’s art education.” Anna is a psychologist by education. She has been working closely with business for over 14 years, providing coaching, mentoring, and training in the area of personal development and professional competence. She works for companies and organizations as a trainer, psychologist, psychotherapist, consultant, analyst and professional advisor. She implements projects in the field of professional and interpersonal competence development in  group and individual processes.

Then Wenancjusz Ochmann from ARTeria Foundation presented the introduction to Artist Circles™ and the Global FemArt ACADEMY (Learning and Network Platform). He also said a few words about “Global FemArt – the women that drive the creative industries.” – the report for policymakers planned to be produced at the end of the project.

Before the break Katarzyna Kuczyńska-Budka shared her own experiences in the speech “Passion and work. Why is it worth following your dreams?”. She is a local government official, passionate about social communication, a Gliwice councillor, a mother, the wife of a politician. For 17 years she has been working in administration. She is the author of the first programme for seniors and a programme for young people in the Silesian Voivodeship. Thanks to her involvement, the first Rada Działalności Pożytku Publicznego (Council for  Activity for the Benefit of the Public) and the first provincial participatory budget were created at the regional level. She advocates strengthening cooperation between the third sector (non-governmental organisations) and the administration and the broadest possible participation from civil society.

This part finished with the summary and discussion with speakers and all participants moderated by Wenancjusz Ochmann. The conclusions and recommendations were presented.

After coffee break, the female artists and creatives shared their experiences in the context of the Global FemARTproject aims and also they had an opportunity to show their art and creative works. The day finished with time for networking.

In sum 22 participants took part in the multiplier event in Zabrze – 19 women and 3 men. Most of them represented the cultural sector (for instance: vocalists, musicians, painters, etc.) and creative sector (fashion designers, graphic designers, architects, ceramic artists). Some of them already run economic activities, some of them work as freelancers or they are thinking about running their own small enterprise. They were first of all interested in the internationalisation of their work, which was a totally new idea for them, and also in support that the Global FemART project can offer.

ARTeria started to register the participants over a month before the event giving them also the possibility to show their own work during it. 12 female artists and creatives decided to take part in the presentation, so we organized ‘small art fairs’ at the end of the event.

The multiplier event in Poland was very highly evaluated by participants and it allowed ARTeria not only to disseminate the project idea, activities and aims, but also it was a great opportunity for discussion. The participants defined particular elements which need to be developed to help them develop their businesses, and they were also very interested in the activities in project. Lack of self-confidence to develop a business was very often emphasized by participants – it was recognized as a main barrier in internationalising their careers (together with lack of knowledge about marketing, and lack of knowledge about law regulation in different countries). Networking is also a very important challenge – in this context they were pleased to have the opportunity to show their artistic/creative works and discuss them.

Generally they recognize the project as very important and useful because they have very limited previous experience in conducting a business, or working as a freelancer in international context (this is also connected with lack of international contacts or knowledge how to start).

They also evaluated the event, presentations and possibility to discuss very highly. Most of the participants declared an interest in taking part in Artist Circles, and they were also interested in the on-line platform.


1st pilot of the Artists Circles in Matera, Italy

1st pilot of the Artists Circles in Matera, Italy

The valuable and inspiring experience of Global FemArt training pathway started at Materahub on the 10th February with the 1st pilot of the Artists Circles carried out with 5 enthusiastic female artpreneurs willing to internationalise their creative businesses and including:

– one interior designer and decorator from Matera with her personal brand “Simona Cuscianna”, specialised in freehand painted decorations on walls and baby interior design, collaborating with Baby Interior Design based in Milan;

– one Italian teacher of a social enterprise involved in a pilot and innovative project named Wonder Grottole aiming at engaging people and tourists from all over the world to rehabilitate the historic centre of Grottole in Basilicata. By creating a new community, the project has captured the attention of Airbnb in 2019 to promote the Italian Sabbatical project that has opened the doors of Grottole to the world.

– two young sisters, a user experience designer and a trainer, who established the Cozinha nomade in Trani (Puglia region) that is a “social eating” experimental space where foreign and local “food nomads” (as they call them) are supported, trained and incubated in a stimulating environment to become new professionals within the food sector.

– one president and co-founder of Associazione all’opera that is a no-profit association based in Matera supporting and training young people in order to promote and contribute to social development through the planning and implementation of interventions of social inclusion.

The main results achieved by this first Artists Circles piloting sessions can be definitely summarised though the key words stated by the participants: Awareness, Self-efficacy, Prioritising, Pragmatism, Strategy, Vision.

The participants’ strong will to learn, improve, listen to their peers, compare their own entrepreneurial approach to those of other artpreneurs, exchange opinions, experiences and advice made the difference for the real success of the sessions.

The first session was already a great personal discovery itself for the participants as the confidential environment established encouraged their self-reflection and self-belief. The opportunity to tell and share their own experiences, visions and values to set smart and feasible goals disclosed their own potentialities to become aware of their successful achievements on a national level and to visualise the milestones of their businesses internationalisation process.

The opportunities provided in the second session to analise their personal and professional stories and the strengths and weaknesses of their future plans made them even more motivated and committed to improve their skills and determination to plan an effective internationalisation plan.

The last session gave all participants the opportunity to reflect and visualise their own business internationalisation plan through the Creative Project Canvas and finally to review and gather what implemented and learnt in their International Action Plan.

As a participant wrote, the most successful outcome of these first Artists Circles sessions was that “after 3 sessions only, I have improved my assertiveness, my self-efficacy, self-awareness and networking abilities”.

This is also the best reward for the Global FemArt partnership and Materahub.

The Global FemART Artist Circles™ in the UK

The Global FemART Artist Circles™ in the UK

In Sheffield, Inova Consultancy hosted the first piloting phase of the Global FemART Artist Circlesfrom December 2019 to January 2020. Over the course of four sessions, seven amazing and inspiring ladies came together to discuss their experiences and challenges in developing their creative business and how they would like to go international.

These sessions were attended by a diverse group of women, all working in the creative field. Among the ladies were painters, a writer, a light installation artist, community artists, art teachers, a bespoke textile artist and a mixed media artist. During the sessions, each of the women developed their own International Action Plan, to help guide their journey to internationalise their business.

All of the women were very positive about this experience and expressed how the Artist Circles™ had helped them personally and with their business plans:

The exercises and support have helped me to develop my business plan and ideas” – One of the main aims of the Circles methodology is to provide participants with support in their development, both personally and professionally.

Good to feel less isolated as an artist”;

It was good to meet other artists and connect over similar fears/confidences”;

Talking with other artists and sharing ideas in a safe space was really helpful and inspiring – these sessions bring together ladies with a similar background (artists and creatives) to network and support each other in their development.

Taking random thoughts and dreams and guiding them into achievable, practical steps”;

Encouraged me to think BIG and not limit myself” – Once the sessions have been completed, participants should feel more confident in pursuing their goals in a manageable, SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound) way.

Overall, the first piloting of the Global FemART Artist Circles™ in the UK has been a huge success! The UK, Poland, Italy and Spain will be hosting a second round of the Artist Circles™ in 2020, so like the Global FemART Facebook Page to keep updated!