Collaborative Mentorship Initiative

NAVA are offering four paid mentorship opportunities for early-career visual arts, craft and design practitioners, specifically for those with a current project in development.

Illustration by Emily Johnson.

Image description: Two figures stand in the middle of the image in front of an orange background. Speech bubbles surround them, suggesting that they are in conversation. One figure, with brown hair and red earrings dressed in a yellow collared shirt and blue sweater, has their right hand placed reassuringly on the other figure's left shoulder. The other figure has black short and is dressed in a green blazer and white button up shirt.

About the program

The Collaborative Mentorship Initiative offers early-career practitioners the unique opportunity to work one-on-one with advising artists and arts workers to inspire confidence and self-awareness, and to build the knowledge, skills and capacity to pursue projects and goals.

This program, to be completed over four months, is based on a mutual mentorship model that provides both the adviser and early-career practitioner space to share ideas and learn from each other.

To acknowledge the contribution of early-career practitioners, they will be paid at a rate of $100/hour for mentoring sessions and check-ins with NAVA in-house support, and an additional $150 for a group induction session.

The aim of the program is to:

  • Foster greater confidence, connectivity, access, exchange of ideas and industry experience for both advisers and early-career practitioners.
  • Develop a better understanding of best practice in the industry.
  • Establish strong networks and skills for both advisers and early-career practitioners.
  • Inspire confidence and stronger capacity in early-career practitioners to pursue their upcoming project and goals.

The program comprises of:

  • 1 x 1 hour group induction session on February 16, 2021 hosted by NAVA in-house support staff.
  • 4 x 1 hour online sessions for both advisers and early-career practitioners, with dates to be organised amongst advisers and early-career practitioners.
  • 4 x 30 minute catch-ups hosted by NAVA in-house support staff following each mentorship session.
  • Access to mentoring resources and online and technological support.

Advisers and early-career practitioners will be matched based on their practices, ideas, skills, goals, priorities, and the areas they wish to develop as specified in their application.

How to apply as an early-career practitioner

Applications to participate in the program as an early-career practitioner are now open. Please read the Eligibility Guidelines below before applying. Apply by completing the quick online survey below. You will be required to provide at least one of the following support materials:

  • Current CV - PDF 1 x A4 page max, 2MB
  • Portfolio - PowerPoint (.ppt), PDF or .docx of up to 10 images or 3 writing samples, 8MB

Applications are now closed.

Eligibility Guidelines

Applications are now closed

To be eligible for the Collaborative Mentorship Initiative applicants must:

  • Identify as an early-career artist or arts worker.
  • Be over the age of 18.
  • Have begun their professional art practice, though require assistance to move forward with their career.
  • Have a current project in development.
  • Have capacity for 4 x 1 hour sessions between either February - June 2021, or June - October 2021.

Applicants will be assessed according to:

  • Suitability of the early-career practitioners’ project to the advising practitioners’ areas of contribution.
  • How clearly early-career practitioners outline what they hope to achieve through the program.
  • Demonstrated benefits of this project to the early-career practitioners’ developing career.

Preference will be given to those who have not previously engaged in a mentorship opportunity, and who have historically been underrepresented in art spaces.

About the advising arts practitioners

Rusaila Bazlamit

Rusaila will focus her mentorship on the following key areas of interest:

    • Experimentation with digital and interactive media, including: photography, video art, interactive installation and working with game engines.
    • Art and design activism.
    • Narratives and representations of CALD communities.

Rusaila is a digital designer, visual communicator, lecturer in design and digital media, an experimental artist, and an occasional art curator. She has lectured at tertiary level in Architecture, Design, Digital and Interactive Media in Jordan and Australia, and has exhibited several digital and video art projects, interactive installations, and photography work worldwide. Rusaila is the founder of Lab Tajribi | Experimental Expressions, holds a PhD in Design (2019) from Curtin University, and her interests are centred in design activism, social justice, and representations of the misrepresented.

Instagram: @rusailabazlamit 

Megan Cope

Megan will focus her mentorship on the following key areas of interest:

    • Contemporary Indigenous Art practices, protocols and ethics
    • Critical thinking and constructive dialogue in conceptual practice
    • Deep Listening

Megan Cope is a Quandamooka artist. Her site-specific sculptural installations, video work, painting and public art investigate issues relating to identity, the environment and mapping practices. She has featured in the Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art (2020), The National (2017), and Defying Empire: 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennial (2017) and many more. In 2017-19 Cope was the Official Australian War Artist. Her work is held in Australian and international collections. She is a member of Aboriginal art collective proppaNOW, and is represented by Milani Gallery, Brisbane. 

Instagram: @nutmegandhoney

Franchesca Cubillo

Franchesca will focus her mentorship on the following key areas of interest:

    • Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Leadership in the Arts: staying focused, building resilience and choosing your battles.
    • Indigenising/Decolonising your workplace.
    • Empowering others: leaving the sector in a better place than when you arrived.

Franchesca Cubillo is a proud Yanuwa, Larrakia, Bardi, and Wardaman woman from the ‘Top End’ region of Australia. She is a museum interventionist and has worked in several state and federal museums and art galleries across Australia for the last 30+ years. She is a Churchill Fellow, has a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours in Anthropology and is a PhD candidate with the Australian National University.

Francesca will be joining the Australia Council in March as the Executive Director, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts. Previously, she was the Senior Curator Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art at the National Gallery of Australia.

Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran

Ramesh will focus his mentorship on the following key areas of interest:

    • Transitioning from tertiary education to professional practice. This includes navigating opportunities: prizes, grants, fellowship, and so on. 
    • Studio based and manual (hand-made) art practices. Ramesh’s key interests include painting, sculptural and installation practices. 
    • Contextualising practice within global/non-Eurocentric narratives

Sri-Lankan born artist Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran is a contemporary artist who experiments with figurative sculptural and painting practices to explore politics of sex, the monument, gender and religion. 

Nithiyendran is represented by Sullivan + Strumpf, Sydney + Singapore and is

currently a resident of Parramatta Artist Studios, Rydalmere.

Instagram: @rams_deep69


You will be asked to either login or set up a NAVA Free account when applying.

This project is supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund.