In 2018 we paired aspiring writer Jenna with the journalist and author Josh Spero. Over the course of the year Josh and Jenna visited museums and galleries to explore their mutual interest in the classical world and Jenna realised her ambition of getting a place at the University of Oxford to study Classics and English.
How has Arts Emergency helped you?
Arts Emergency has been absolutely amazing. They took great care to assign me a mentor that had very similar interests and had studied a very similar course to the one I was thinking of undertaking. My mentor, Josh, played a great role in teaching me about the classical world through museums and galleries. He supported and encouraged me throughout my entire Oxford application and I am so proud to call him my mentor.
My relationship with Arts Emergency did not end with my mentoring. They offered me amazing opportunities such as work experience at Quarto Publishing and The Financial Times. They supported me through a Silver Arts Award where they encouraged my love of poetry. By the end of my Arts Award, I had grown in confidence so much that I had written my own mini poetry collection and held a small poetry reading.
Even whilst at university, I constantly have contact with the Arts Emergency team who never fail to put me in contact with people who can help me pursue my interests in writing.
Has there been a best bit?
Everything has been wonderful but the best feeling was being able to tell Josh that I got an offer from Oxford because that really felt like a big moment for both of us.
Why is Arts Emergency important to you?
The staff are incredible individuals who have never failed to motivate and encourage me. I feel very privileged to be a part of their network and hope to one day become a mentor.
What has been the highlight of your mentoring experience?
The highlight was seeing Jenna grow in confidence and in her range and eloquence of thought and expression over the year of our mentoring partnership.
What would you say to anyone thinking of becoming a mentor?
You should absolutely do it if you’re prepared to commit the (small amount of) time – you’ll find that you learn as much from your mentee as they from you.
How has the experience impacted you?
It gave me a lot of pleasure to spend time with Jenna and it felt extremely rewarding. It made me want to mentor again.
Photo: Lilla Nyeki