This funding commitment forms part of the Transforming Leadership Fund, which has financially supported eighteen projects to deliver a range of leadership development opportunities for individuals working with museums, libraries and arts organisations. This applies to people at all stages of their careers and also includes freelancers.

The fund was launched with the aim of addressing specific issues concerning diversity in leadership roles, opportunities for “emerging and early career leaders”, and the development of executive skills at senior levels.

All the successful projects, ACE claims, will “carefully consider the diversity of their participants, with a number specifically addressing the underrepresentation of leaders from certain groups”.

Successful applications

The 18 successful Transforming Leadership Fund applications to date include:

LeaD by Access All Areas, Disability Arts Online and Manchester Metropolitan University – a career development programme for learning disabled practitioners; one of three projects supporting D/deaf and disabled leaders, the others will be led by Graeae Theatre Company and Shape Arts

Change the Record by Brighter Sound – developing female leaders and enable cross-sector learning amongst organisations, sole traders and independent producers who want to reshape the future music industry

Clore Leadership’s New Horizons programme – exploring the needs of cultural leaders at all stages of their careers, prioritising early career practitioners, entrepreneurs and sole traders, as well progression routes for diverse mid-career professionals and executive leaders

Leading Libraries by Libraries Connected – provides support for 15 emerging leaders from across 15 library services to deliver long term change, focusing on female and minority ethnic library staff

Coventry City Culture Trust – supports a diverse cohort of established, independent and emerging leaders as part of the legacy for UK City of Culture, who will co-create a management training programme to help nurture a new generation of cultural entrepreneurs who represent and reflect the city

The Jerwood Transforming Leadership Programme – identifies, develops and promotes emerging leaders from lower socio-economic backgrounds

The UK Creative Community Fellows Programme led by Derby Museums – building an adaptable cross-sector network of collaborative leaders working at the intersection of arts, culture and community development

Mags Patten, Executive Lead for Workforce Development, Arts Council England, noted that evidence gathered by the organisation suggests “we have a generation of cultural leaders with great ambition, but also great pressures bearing down on them”. The fund, she believes, is an investment in those leaders.

“By supporting a diverse range of emerging and established leaders we think we are more likely to achieve the vision laid out in our proposed ten-year strategy, of a country where everyone’s creativity is valued and high quality cultural experiences are available to each of us,” Patten added.

Alongside its funding provision, ACE has also commissioned an external evaluation of the programme. This will assess the effectiveness of different approaches to leadership development and the impact they have on the career progression of participants. It will additionally provide a chance to share its finding with the wider sector.

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