Castlefield Gallery has engaged Jo as an artist coach across our dedicated artist development programmes for around 2.5years now. We first invited Jo to get involved in our development programmes for artists via a scheme we co-manage with the University of Salford, 'Salford Scholars'. The coaching made such an immediate positive difference to the artists involved in that programme, that we not only made coaching core to that programme from there on in, but now seek to include Jo's coaching in all our development programmes, at least wherever resource allows.
We have had consistent positive feedback and in particular we have noticed that the impact and positive experiences of mentoring, coming after some coaching has got well underway, have massively increased. Somehow the coaching seems to lay the foundations and clear the way for an even better mentoring experience.
HELEN WEWIORA, Director, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester.
Jo Clements has been working with a-n The Artists Information Company as a coach since 2017 when she first trained to become an accredited coach with us through our Visual Arts Coaching Course in partnership with RD1st. Jo has since been working with us to offer the benefits of coaching to the wider a-n membership, providing a safe, confidential, developmental space within which to explore specific issues (either known, or as they arise), aspirations and challenges. Jo has provided vital support to those seeking change, a shift in gear and a renewed focus.
a-n The Artists Information Company
I had 3 artist coaching sessions with Jo and each one provided me with an incredibly invaluable insight into my process and practice. A huge part of my practice focusses on walking and dialogues, which is both the art and the process to draw out ideas and gain clarity, so it was great that one of the sessions with Jo involved walking around my own city. This proved to be a particularly productive session but, overall, each of the sessions with Jo were so helpful to my specific goals as an artist. Jo had a great way of raising, challenging and questioning key thoughts, beliefs and behaviours about how I perceived and approached my overall process and practice, so the sessions were really so valued in that I immediately recognised the impact they had from one session to the next in terms of being a catalyst for positive change, giving me clarity, reframing my practice, and approaching it from a clearer viewpoint. I'd highly recommend her coaching for any artist wanting to move their practice forward by gaining that clarity. Thanks Jo!
My coaching sessions with Jo were an invaluable part of my first year out of university from studying BA (Hons) Fine Art. That time is a temperamental one; you lose much of your support network and are left to fend for yourself in an industry which is largely without structure. Having junctures to reflect, assess and evaluate your own progress and make a plan for your trajectory going forward is crucial. Jo's relevant knowledge, experience and willingness to listen and challenge in equal measure, is something I really needed. I would recommend these sessions wholeheartedly for any artist or creative practitioner.
As a young artist I felt quite lost before I met Jo, I knew what I loved but struggled to refine it or see a future for me or my practice. Jo transformed my outlook on the professional world and the limitless opportunities available. Jo opened doors that I never knew existed, she helped me hone in my work yet showed me my worth and potential as an artist. I will never be able to thank her enough for this experience, she truly is a wizard!
As a recent graduate, my sessions with Jo were at a time when I was struggling intensely to adjust to an independent studio practice and to writing outside the framework of an institution. During our sessions we focussed on a particular issue of my choice concerning a specific piece of writing and I can categorically say that without Jo’s coaching and guidance I would not have been able to write a piece of such confidence and clarity that I was, and continue to be, very proud of. I found my sessions with Jo incredibly nourishing, the techniques and thinking I gained during my time with her continue to influence my practice and writings, and the opportunity to reflect and critically discuss my practice was invaluable at that time.
All the coaching sessions I had with Jo were very different, yet all really useful. I used one session to come up with a strategy to manage clashing elements in my work/life balance, and another to clarify the route new developments in my work were taking me. Lockdown hit me hard and I felt safe talking through my worries and fears with Jo and found her questions really helped me to get these into perspective. The sessions enabled me to free up brain space to have new creative ideas...
Jo’s extensive relevant experience and her own practice meant that she could give me practical advice on how to develop my practice as well as helpful crits on specific works. The sessions were designed to support me in focussing on identifying my own needs and the questions I needed to answer for myself.
Jo’s coaching helped me to stave off tunnel vision with my practice, speaking with her allowed for flexibility in my approach to creating and brought me a trusted perspective from someone with a wealth of knowledge of art and artists. In a time when I felt lost, having left uni and the guidance/reassurance of my lecturers, Jo’s sessions really helped to ground me and pushed me to continue through the harder times of my early art career.
In my first year of graduating from a Visual Arts degree I desperately needed support to further my specialist art practice. During 3 coaching sessions with Jo, I was able to fulfil my short-term goals, establish planning for long-term goals & it really helped to have someone so professional to talk through my ideas with me. For a fresh artist, coaching is a necessity to further your creative career!
Jo's coaching sessions gave me a clearer vision for my art practice development. Jo is an attentive listener, who intuitively understands and gets to the essence of individual visions and ideas. She gives well-balanced feedback and constructive guidance. She helped me to figure out what exactly I wanted to do and encouraged me to be more ambitious. Her experience, knowledge and clear thinking helped me in situations when I felt stuck and overwhelmed. I felt very safe and comfortable talking to Jo about professional and personal challenges. Thank you Jo!
I'd never previously participated in a coaching session but just talking and getting things off my chest and some helpful suggestions from Jo enabled me to develop strategies to help me work more productively and with more confidence in my art work.
Coaching from Jo was a great experience that really helped to benefit my practice. Jo was encouraging and helped build my confidence as a new graduate who felt a bit overwhelmed to be leaving education and entering the art world. Through coaching sessions, I was able to become more adaptable and open minded to my own practice which helped it to develop in ways it never had before. Jo helped me to improve my literal skills, motivating me to apply for opportunities I wouldn't have considered - this also helped me to improve my artist statement, and allowed me to gain confidence in speaking about myself as an artist.
The coaching not only gave me useful experience, but also promoted personal development - my confidence and technical skills grew. Jo helped me to understand the professional perspectives in the art industry, which you don't learn enough about in art schools. Most importantly, the coaching helped me resolve my time management skills.
Jo's excellent coaching enabled me to focus on the core elements of my work and explore ways of developing it in the future.