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Cyber Space Shenanigans #ADA

Pauline Bailey is a visual arts practitioner and an ADA Mentor.  Here Pauline re-counts the drama that she encountered when communicating and connecting with people and projects in different places.

I was pleased to be asked to mentor on round 3 of the Culturehive Audience Diversity Academy, though a little apprehensive initially with it being my first time.  I’ve been mentoring for a few decades in a variety of contexts within education, employment and the cultural and creative sector, but this is my first baptism with mentoring online and quite ironic given that I had almost completely disengaged from having a digital presence for most of 2018 due to feeling overwhelmed by the information overload.

Deciding what to write has been a bit of a challenge as I was struggling to work out what real impact I was having on my mentees, and in the midst of too much it was more difficult for me to get my head around everything.  We had what felt like a good start. My fellows were able to articulate the context, rational, aims and objectives etc for each of their experiments and I had a good idea of what they were planning to do.

However, once I’d left the UK for The Gambia to deliver the Daughters of Africa Foundation programme, I felt as though I’d stepped into a French farce, and unable to fulfil my role as a mentor.  What should have been very simple turned into a nightmare because of the very bad and extremely slow Wi-Fi connections in the area I was staying.  In addition to this I was involved in filming at various sites, (three locations per day spread over ten days of my month-long trip). This obviously required moving about a great deal and included co-managing and supporting both sets of our volunteers from UK and The Gambia which made it impossible to do what I’d planned for my ADA Fellows.  So, a very frustrating time for me and I’m sure for them too!