B!G Interview – Emma Geoghan
03 August 2021

B!G Interview – Emma Geoghan

Our second interviewee of sparkly mentors is Emma Geoghan, architect, urban designer and Programme Chair for the Bachelor of Architecture at the Dublin School of Architecture. We had a great chat with Emma about being a mentor. Read on to find out more about Emma’s experience.

Why do you think creative skills are important at second level?
To think creatively is to think differently and given the scale of the challenges we face as a society here in Ireland and everywhere around the world, it’s really important that we learn to think differently about these issues. Thinking creatively is about engaging with situations or problems in an innovative or rigorous way and learning to make connections or see a pathway to a different future. I think it’s really critical that students at second level have an opportunity to learn to develop their own creative skills.

What is mentoring?
Mentoring to me is about sharing knowledge and experience in a reciprocal and collaborative way. I think it’s often conceived of as being something that is passing an experience from maybe the older generation to a student or a younger colleague, but actually for me, it’s actually much more about the opportunity to learn from each other in different ways. I’ve been a mentor and a mentee and I’ve learned equally in both situations, I think mentoring is a great opportunity, it’s a lovely way to learn.

“The biggest take away from mentoring is that we are in good hands. There are so many engaged and thoughtful young people.”

Emma Geoghan

Can you take us through the process of The B!G Idea mentoring?
I think The B!G Idea mentoring process is structured in a really, really excellent way. The students have been developing their ideas with their teachers and with The B!G Idea team and then they upload these proposals and ideas onto an online platform and I get an opportunity then to review them, to provide feedback or constructive commentary and then the students can read that and develop their projects again. Another aspect of it that’s been really good is that there are multiple mentors and so I get to see the feedback from the other mentors and learn from that and to see the other types of suggestions and commentary that the other mentors might be offering the students so it’s a really lovely learning environment for everyone involved.

What has been the most important aspect of mentoring for you?
The most important aspect has been seeing how seriously the students take the process and how well they have adapted to it. I think they come to it with real empathy and commitment. Seeing how seriously the students have adapted to the challenge and how well they have taken it on board, I think that’s been wonderful to watch.

What was your biggest take away from mentoring?
The biggest take away from mentoring is that we are in good hands. There are so many engaged and thoughtful young people and I think this project, the B!G Idea is a really wonderful platform for them to put their ideas forward and to engage more meaningfully in the challenge that we all face.

Would you have benefited from The B!G Idea when you were in school?
Absolutely. I’d have loved it. My first year in architecture school was a real eye opener, I would really have loved to have had an experience like this in secondary school which would have introduced me to creative processes, to thinking creatively, to working with other people in a collaborative way, it would have been fantastic. I’m jealous of the students who get to do it now.

Did you enjoy the mentoring process and did you feel supported through it?
I really enjoyed the mentoring process I think it is structured in an excellent way and I felt supported through the whole process.

Would you recommend mentoring to other people?
I’d strongly recommend it. I think mentoring is something that everybody should engage in at any point in their professional or their student life.

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