There’s an iconic scene in a certain horror film where a freaky kid turns to Bruce Willis and says ‘I see dead people’. Well, I see
Try Your Hand at Mentoring - Digital Media Specialist
Interview with digital media specialist Eleni Stefanou about following your heart, mentoring and her photography side-project. Stefanou took part in mentoring programme led by Pitch It! earlier this year alongside residents from Netil House and Hackney Downs Studios including Julia Nagle, Kat&Bee, Arthur Le Fol and Lauren Baker.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
ES: I work in social media at the British Film Institute. My job is to communicate about the organisation's activities through social media channels and to create online content that celebrates film culture.
What inspired you to become a mentor?
ES: I had an informal mentor at work who I owe so much to. I wanted to see if I could support someone in a similar way and find out what the process could bring out of me; could I develop new skills or discover aspects of my personality that I hadn't yet encountered.
How did you find the experience?
What was most challenging?
ES: Trying to find the right balance between guiding my mentee and just being someone that she could bounce thoughts off of. I didn't want to dictate how things were going to go or make statements like 'this is what you should do' or 'this is how it's done', but at the same time our meetings needed structure, especially at the beginning when we were still getting to know each other. I had to take on more of a leadership role because of the mentor/mentee dynamic, but I still wanted to leave loads of room for my mentee to express herself and co-direct the project. Finding that balance was tricky.
What was most surprising?
ES: At the end of the nine weeks, my mentee told me that she felt more confident. She revealed that she almost turned back before arriving at our first meeting, and through Pitch It came to realise that she can do things that might seem scary at first. I was really surprised and moved when she told me. This was the moment I realised how important it is to have someone who believes in you. They might not be able to get you a job, but if they can help you build you confidence that's pretty priceless.
Would you recommend being a mentor?
What else can society do to increase diversity in the creative industries?
Did you always know you were destined for the arts/creative sector?
Tell us about your sideproject Women with Tattoos?
ES: Women with Tattoos is a photography project that kind of does what it says on the tin: it explores and documents the artwork that women have tattooed onto their skin. It started as a one-off photo series with the intention of breaking down people's prejudices and preconceptions. It's now expanding into a blog, which will feature more images and interviews. It's also an opportunity for me to meet amazing people and hopefully empower them through photography.
If you ruled London...what would you decree?
Why London for you?
ES: London is a place where you can discover and shape your identity without the social pressures you might find in other parts of the world.
To find out more about Pitch It! and register your interest as a mentor, check out the website and email Isabel: firstname.lastname@example.org