Action Learning

Action Learning is a form of peer mentoring.

Independent Dance and Dancers’ Career Development jointly offer this opportunity for dance professionals seeking a rigorous, reflective space to develop. The first two sets started their year-long journey in November 2016.

Over the course of a year, the peer groups meet five times to work through real-life projects and problems in a confidential space, with an experienced facilitator.

The Dance Professionals Fund is offering travel bursaries for artists based outside of London to support the cost of travelling to meetings. Please note in your application if you are interested in a travel bursary.

We will be running a third set in the future; if you would like to be part of an AL set, do get in touch so we can let you know when applications open.

Action learning sets

Starting dates
Tue 1 November, Mon 7 November, Wed 16 November 2016 (subsequent dates decided by the set members)
Professionals working in dance – artists (performers, teachers, choreographers), producers, programmers
From £18 per session; please see below for detail on cost and timing
How to apply
Please fill in and send this AL application form to by 17 October 2016


More information: 

What is Action Learning?

Action Learning is a form of peer mentoring. It is practical and focused on finding your own solutions.

A small group of six to eight peers meets regularly over the course of a year and with the support of an experienced facilitator, works through real-life projects and problems in a confidential space. Through the process, participants find individually appropriate actions (rather than prescribing what they ‘should’ do), and reflect on their development.
It is a brilliant tool for addressing complex situations and refreshing your thinking.

How will Action Learning benefit me?

Action Learning recognises the multifaceted contexts independent dance makers and arts professionals have to negotiate in their creative careers. It is powerful as a means for getting out of ‘stuck’ places, which are familiar to any creative maker.

You will:
– develop your career holistically: addressing your specific creative questions as well as overarching issues you encounter
– challenge perceptions and patterns which are no longer useful to you in a supportive environment
– forge new connections, and add a resilient support network for yourself, addressing the isolation freelance artists can experience
– use and share your own knowledge and learning
– enhance your listening and reflection skills, and learning to postpone judgement
– develop your careers and projects through emphasis on taking action

You will work with people who understand your working context, but do not have a personal stake in your work, allowing the conversation to be both specific and supportive.

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Timing and cost

Each set will meet five times over the course of a year.
A full day is ideal, to allow the group to work through everyone’s presentations; though we recognise that this is not possible for everyone, and offer two half-day sets as well.

The first date will be organised by the facilitators and then future dates will be set by the group.

Full day
The cost per session is £42, or £29 if you are eligible for concessions* (total £210 / £145)
Half day
The cost per session is £25, or £18 if you are eligible for concessions* (total £125 / £90)

The fee for all five sessions is payable in full at the end of the first meeting. If you choose to opt out after the first session, you only pay for that one session. If you choose to opt out after that, we are not able to refund the fee, as we are not able to replace you once the set is underway.
If you are not able to pay the full amount up front, please contact ID regarding a two-installment payment option.

*(JSA, DLA, full-time students, recipients of Universal or Pension Credit – proof of status required)

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Who facilitates the sessions?

The sessions will be led by Rachel Nelken, a trained Action Learning facilitator, with accreditation from the ILM Institute for Leadership and Management in London.

Rachel is senior producer for performing arts at Roundhouse, and works freelance as a project development manager at Arts Train.
Her experience as a freelancer and within arts organisations spans creative production, new music, community and youth music, new media and technology, funding, fundraising, facilitation, people/artist management, project management, cross-genre projects, diversity and engagement, individual and sectoral development.
She has worked with organisations such as the PRS For Music Foundation from its creation in 1999-2006, where she set up many schemes to support emerging artists.
Since then Rachel has worked for organisations and local authorities across the UK setting up urban youth music projects for young people, raising over £1m in funding from public and private sources.  She regularly works with and advises funders including Creative Scotland, Youth Music, and Arts Council London where she is currently based.

She is a trained Action Learning facilitator, with accreditation from the ILM Institute for Leadership and Management in London.

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I can’t come to the workshop – can I still sign up?
Absolutely. The workshop is to give people more information about what AL is like in practice, but no prior knowledge is required.
How are the sets put together?

Each group will be chosen to reflect a range of experiences and backgrounds, to enable rich, multifaceted discussion, based on information on your application form.
Do I have to commit to all five sessions?
Yes. In order to build on shared learning and maintain trust, all members should be present for each meeting. Poor set attendance impacts the energy in the set because members do not participate in each other’s presentations and are not there to feedback on actions.
Especially when projects come to a head, or deadlines approach, it can be difficult to stick to a fixed date in the diary. However, the pay-off of taking the time to pause, reflect and plan with your set more than makes up for it.
What if I change my mind?
If you decide after the first session that action learning is not for you, you just pay for that one session and leave the set.
What if there is a conflict of interest?
Before the first session, we will send you the list of names who will be in your set. If there is someone with whom you would not feel comfortable sharing a set, we will try to place you in an alternative set. This will be an entirely confidential process.
What does the fee cover?
The facilitator’s fee, space, tea & coffee, and administration. We have raised additional funds to be able to offer this at heavily subsidised ratesMore questions? We’ve compiled this handy FAQ sheet.
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Supported by Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund
Delivered in partnership with Dancers’ Career DevelopmentDCD-Logo-colour-enhanced - small

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