Your Name: Paron Mead
Job Title: Founder, Teacher and Head of Paron School of Art
What is your nationality and background?
I’m Thai-British mix and I’ve lived across both Bangkok and across the UK. My parents are academics and creatives and so teaching and the arts have always been a part of my family’s DNA. My own professional journey has taken a few turns; I’ve worked with theatre companies, I’ve been a mentor to artists, a tutor to undergraduate students and have worked as an Art teacher at Harrow International School and DBS. My work with Paron School of Art has been, singularly, my proudest achievement.
What is your profession?
I lead the teaching and studio team at Paron School of Art. This coming summer will be our 10th year of operation! An unexpected joy is that through this time I’ve been able to bring together and work with the individuals, both in our students and within teaching team, who are as passionate about art experiences as I am. We offer curriculums in Art and Design to children, adolescents and adults in small class sizes.
What are the key skills and responsibilities of this role?
In short, the scope of our work begins and ends with an appreciation of art and a respect for our students. My teaching team and I need to both have a foundation of strong subject understanding but also the interest for that knowledge to evolve. I think something that is also important for our style of mentorship is developing an interest in our students. We want to be aware of the joys and risks that our students associate with their own art-making and to meet it with empathy.
How did you get involved in your profession?
I’ve been lucky to encounter art in such unique and inspiring spaces; from the work I did within the London gallery and theatre scene and the excellent work I have witnessed happening in schools and universities across the world. I trained as a teacher and spent 8 years gaining experience within the International School model. Opening up our art school felt like both the logical and exciting next step.
How does your role enhance the wellbeing or experience of children?
My job is to create growth opportunities through the arts. Having a child choose to spend their weekends or school holidays with us is a responsibility that we take very seriously. There’s an incredible amount of work that goes into the planning and distilling of our programmes so that every workshop feels closer to an art-event than like a typical class. Deep down I do truly believe that every single person who encounters our studio will be changed for the better in some way.
What challenges do your face in this role?
On a personal front there are challenges that are unique to the running one’s own business. I’m trying not to be a worrier. The breadth of work in maintaining our studio has been massive – but I’m also sure that it’s there to help me to understand the core values of my practice.
What do you hope to achieve within your industry?
In a very broad sense, I hope that every child has access to an education that extends them and gives them a sense of who they are. Specifically, I would like to see the profile of art education in Thailand raised. Being surrounded by art seems to be such an easy and worthwhile way to spend one’s childhood.
Who or what inspires you?
At work I am surrounded by many images and ideas, both from our research and of that generated by my students. I recently did my Master degree which was so enriching. I watching a lot of cooking shows and I’ve noticed aspects of that art form has subconsciously fed into how I am speaking about our studio art projects also!
Only a Bangkok local would know…
I think we should strive to look at the city both from the lens of high and low culture, the local and international and to allow for moments of peace and chaos. There is no single thing that defines Bangkok for me. It’s within the juxtapositions that the city really comes to life.
Paron School of Art is located in Sukhumvit soi 26 Khlong Toei Bangkok 10110
Call 089795 8765 or write to [email protected] for information on his upcoming classes or to arrange a tour of the facilities.