Helen Watson

Helen Watson joined Lakeland Arts in July 2008. The charity runs: - Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Blackwell The Arts & Crafts House, Museum of Lakeland Life and will open the Windermere Jetty: Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories in 2019. In her role as Director of Programming she is responsible for the care, display and conservation of all Lakeland Arts collections and the overall direction of the ambitious and nationally recognised exhibition and display programme. Whilst at Lakeland Arts, Helen has curated many successful exhibitions including the critically acclaimed The Loneliness of Lowry (2010), Sheila Fell (2011) and was one of the co-curators of Kitaj: Portraits and Reflections (2010) and Turner and his Contemporaries (2012).

Previously Helen worked for seven years at the National Galleries of Scotland starting in the post of Outreach Officer and working her way up to Deputy Head of Education. She has also been Curator at Scarborough Art Gallery. Helen has a MA in Museum Studies, is an Associate of the Museums Association and a trained Coach. She sits on the trustee board for the Peter Scott Gallery at Lancaster University and Signal Film & Media in Barrow-in-Furness.

How the Fellowship impacted me

• I am more confident in my ‘authentic’ voice and my core is stronger
• I am calmer, more reflective and can see the bigger picture with more clarity
• I am a more measured, strategic and structured in my responses and dialogue
• I have established new networks and relationships across the arts sector, broadening my existing networks to include theatre, dance and music which will ultimately enrich my leadership vision regarding artistic programming
• I have established a group of Clore Fellows who I can rely on for advice, support and friendship
• The Fellowship has equipped me with a new set of skills including coaching, NLP communication, negotiation, presentation and fundraising

How I am using my skills for change

• I am re-engaging and refocusing the Women in Heritage Leaders Network North West with the aim of having greater impact on the wider cultural sector. I have introduced the members to active learning set methodology and coaching techniques
• Looking to mentor younger leaders
• Continue a Clore Action Learning Set with Fellows to enable cultural leaders to have a support network when dealing with challenging issues
• Offer coaching for colleagues and my extended networks to enable cultural leaders to have support when dealing with challenging issues