When structuring your peer mentoring sessions, giving enough time for discussion and feedback is vital.

PEER FORUM at The Photographers' Gallery, Photo courtesy Daniel Regan
PEER FORUM at The Photographers’ Gallery- Photo by Daniel Regan

Provide enough time for artists to present and receive detailed feedback but not so long that it’s too demanding for participants.

3 – 4 hours is usually optimum if just a couple of artists are presenting work, though more complex peer mentoring programmes, with visiting guest speakers / additional discussion around broader topics might take longer.

Depending on the number of people showing work 10 – 20 mins presenting time with 30 – 40 minutes for feedback for each artist should give enough time for meaningful feedback.

Ideally give group members a couple of opportunities to present over a 6 – 12 month period so they can show progress on work following feedback from the group. If you have between 10 – 15 members, 2 / 3 artists presenting per session should achieve this.

Consider in advance whether the group will use any presentation or feedback models and choose a timekeeper/facilitator for the session so artists’ slots don’t overrun.

Factor in time for refreshment breaks to help maintain the groups focus and to make space for informal conversations. These can be just as useful as more the carefully managed group feedback. (Having some time at the beginning of the session is a good way to achieve this while also allowing time for latecomers)