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ECU Mentorship, Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2021. Photo Julie Gordon

ECU Mentorship with Mikaela Castledine

Thanks to ECU’s partnership with Sculpture by the Sea, Visual Arts students have the opportunity to gain practical experiences in the arts.

Artist Mikaela Castledine expressed that she was “really enjoying the mentor program. It is one of those things that happens as you get older, you realise you have learnt so much stuff and you are overflowing with information that you just want to impart to others. Sadly for the mentee they have to put up with listening to it all!!”

While the mentorship program calls for a minimum number of hours and focusses around Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2021, I do see it more as a long-term arrangement. It feels like an introduction, a way to connect and make friends but I see the greatest value of a mentor is to tell you stuff when you actually need to know it. So while some of the information I tell Erin now will sink in, I hope that in the future, if she is starting to make sculptural works or she wants to enter Sculpture by the Sea, she will contact me and ask for specific advice or help with a submission or a list of possibly useful contacts or anything she needs.

Mentoring is not a one-way process, I will also learn from Erin and we will both be enriched by the program.

I think of it being like the process of osmosis where a high concentration of an element in one area will flow across to another area until they are more or less equal. It is a kind of balancing of the universe which is a nice thought.”

When asked how the ECU mentorship would impact her career, ECU mentee Erin Kilbane commented that “the Sculpture by the Sea Artist Student Mentor program has been so beneficial to me. It has been such a privilege to spend time with Mikaela Castledine, she has been so generous in sharing a wealth of information that has taken her thirty years to acquire.”

With the mentorship already 80% complete, with four sessions conducted, including their initial introductory meeting, Erin commented, “during my time with her (Mikaela) I have learned strategies to improve my current art practice and identified skills I will need to improve. She has given me an in-depth understanding of what to expect when I graduate, and try to find my own way in the art world.”

Erin was already a Castledine fan, having seen her mentor’s work ‘Feral’ her favourite sculpture at Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2018 a few years back. Erin says of Castledine’s work that she was drawn to it as it “has a strong sense of narrative, and her process of making gives the work a sentimental quality and yet her creatures appear other-worldly at the same time.”

Erin is currently studying a Bachelor of Contemporary Art at ECU, and intends on becoming a practicing artist upon graduation.