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Clore Leadership and Arts Council England announce series of assemblies exploring leadership and world of work

Applications open for cultural leadership assemblies launching in January 2024 in London, Leeds, Birmingham and online

As Clore Leadership approaches its 21st anniversary, it has today announced Leadership Now, a series of assemblies for cultural leaders, run in partnership with Arts Council England, to explore the complex and rapidly evolving world of work.

The impact of Covid 19, financial constraints, eroded trust, new technology and changing workforce dynamics has prompted Clore Leadership – a dynamic and inclusive resource for leaders and aspiring leaders in the arts, culture and creative sectors – to pioneer the initiative.

Launching in January, the Leadership Now assemblies aspire to empower leaders to instigate collaborative solutions, and foster a more connected, resilient, and thriving cultural leadership.

The assemblies will be curated by leaders, for leaders, to share, explore, navigate and co-create practical solutions for contemporary problems at a time when their resilience is being heavily tested. They will ask: How is the world of work changing? What are the needs of the cultural sector? What does this demand from cultural leaders? 

The inaugural assembly will kick off on Friday 26 January at Battersea Arts Centre, London, where Tarek Iskander, Artistic Director & CEO led the dialogue on sector challenges earlier this year: “The unique set of difficulties we are all currently grappling with are like nothing we’ve dealt with previously. To help navigate these waters we need a different kind of leadership… one that embraces the power of collective knowledge and skills, and that is more dynamic, more generous and more mutually supportive than what we had before.”

Further assemblies will be held at Leeds Playhouse, Birmingham’s ThinkTank Science Museum and online across February and March 2024. 

Sector leaders and provocateurs from within and outside the cultural sector will facilitate and drive conversations and insights at these events. Confirmed speakers include Shireen Shaikh, (Senior counsel – Knowledge, Taylor Wessing), Andrew Miller MBE (UK Arts Access Champion & Broadcaster) and Peter Heneghan (Founder, The Future Communicator &  Former Digital Comms UK Government & 10 Downing Street) with further speakers to be announced.

By offering online and in person events across different regions, Clore Leadership hopes to encourage as diverse range of leaders as possible, with priority given to leaders of publicly funded organisations such as National Portfolio Organisations (NPOS) and those in receipt of other grant funding.

The Leadership Now Assemblies form the first part of a wider study of the World of Work, running across 2024.  This will include:

  • Imagine it Different will gather the sector together with key stakeholders, to build on the Leadership Now assemblies and research, exploring current systems, approaches and opportunities to envision enhanced or alternative paths for arts, culture and heritage working practices.

Just three years ago, the entire cultural sector shut its doors to the Covid pandemic.   Since then, many trends have accelerated to deliver years’ worth of gradual change in a matter of months – or, in the case of home working, a matter of moments.  Post-pandemic presents a working environment which continues to shape and re-shape in response to wider drivers and shifts. 

The World of Work series will create the space for dialogue and reflection on leadership models that the cultural sector will need as new ways of working emerge.  

The outcome of the World of Work will include a series of practical actions for leaders themselves, as well as key cultural stakeholders and organisations.  As findings and recommendations are proactively shared with the sector, they will also inform the future direction for Clore Leadership’s training and professional development programmes.

Our sector often takes on the mantle of entertaining the nation or making sense of the world. We imagine, create and deliver the experiences that uplift and inspire society, offering joy in times of hardship. But where must the creative sector go for that inspiration when its own workforce is weary, leadership is constrained, and resources are spread thin?  I hope this initiative will not only bring leaders together in solidarity but also give them much needed practical routes forward.

Moira Sinclair, Chair of Clore Leadership

Across our arts organisations, museums and libraries brilliant, creative people are working harder and harder with fewer resources to make good things happen.  The frustration and stress is palpable.  We’ve heard a need to pause, breathe, reflect and connect, so we are partnering with Clore Leadership to support these assemblies.  No one is alone – by coming together we’ll gain a deeper, collective understanding of the challenges we face, and generate some creative, pragmatic, shared responses.  

Mags Patten, Executive Director Public Policy and Communication, Arts Council England

Cultural leaders cannot continue to accept working in organisational and sectoral silos, devising individual solutions to systemic problems. Collective thinking, collaborative exploration and effective exchange are essential for strategic and dynamic solutions to ensure a thriving future. Over the last 21 years Clore Leadership has inspired and equipped cultural leaders to face a multitude of challenges, and we hope this new series continues this trend.

Hilary Carty, Director, Clore Leadership

Clore Leadership, which celebrates its 21st anniversary in 2024, has inspired and equipped cultural leaders at all stages of their careers to be change agents for their communities, organisations, and wider society.  It is proud to have an alumni of over 2,600 leaders from every part of the UK.

Clore Leadership provides the highest quality training and learning experiences, continually working to ensure it contributes to an inclusive & diverse workforce reflective of contemporary society.

World of Work Key Dates

Leadership Now Assemblies

  • London 26 January (10.30-2.30pm) Battersea Arts Centre
  • Online 9 February (10am-1pm)
  • Leeds 23 February (1-5pm) Leeds Playhouse
  • Birmingham 8 March (1-5pm) ThinkTank Science Museum
  • Online 13 March (10am-1pm)

Cultural Leaders are warmly invited to attend one assembly. Applicants can list two preferences for assemblies and will be invited to attend one event, either in person or online. Every effort will be made to offer applicants their first or second choice, but this cannot be guaranteed as spaces are limited.

Any access needs will be taken into account via our application forms, so appropriate provisions can be made both online and in person. All the venues booked are physically accessible.

World of Work Research Survey, in collaboration with the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Clore Leadership are inviting leaders to take part in this survey, and findings will be published later next year.

Imagine it Different: gathering of cultural leaders and key stakeholders across the UK, Summer 2024


About Clore Leadership

Clore Leadership is a dynamic and inclusive resource for leaders and aspiring leaders in the arts, culture and creative sectors. Our aim is to inspire and equip leaders to have a positive impact on society through great leadership of culture. We provide leadership development programmes, promote thought leadership and fresh ideas through debate and challenge, and offer access to an incredible network of over 2,200 alumni. Clore Leadership was initiated in 2003 by the Clore Duffield Foundation, and is sustained by a partnership between private philanthropy and public funding.

At its inception, Clore Leadership provided only one leadership programme, the Clore Fellowship, and over the past 20 years the ‘offer’ has been expanded to include more training opportunities, including early career courses and board development as well as leadership development days, seminars, webinars, conferences and events. To offer the broadest spectrum of opinion, we commission and encourage research and provocation pieces from a rich variety of sources, keeping abreast of leadership knowledge and opinion.

Across freelancers, entrepreneurs and heads of established institutions, Clore Leadership nurtures dynamic and diverse leaders and has inspired investment in leadership on the part of governments, agencies, foundations and charities both nationally and internationally. Participants on our programmes are drawn from a range of specialisms including the visual and performing arts, film and digital media, libraries, museums, archives and heritage, and cultural policy.

June 2024 will see Clore Leadership celebrate its 21st anniversary.

Arts Council England

Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. We have set out our strategic vision in Let’s Create that by 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high-quality cultural experiences. From 2023 to 2026 we will invest over £467 million of public money from Government and an estimated £250 million from The National Lottery each year to help support the sector and to deliver this vision.

We support employees, freelancers and volunteers across the cultural sector through funding, research, events, and resources on professional development and wellbeing. We have made £116.8million available for organisations and individuals to apply for through our National Lottery Project Grants in 2023/24 plus £14million specifically for individuals through our Developing your Creative Practice programme. Freelancers and trustees are also supported through events and programmes such as Freelance Futures and Transforming Governance and we are conducting in-depth research into the cultural workforce to help us develop further support. Arts Council England is committed to working with our funded organisations to ensure those who work in the cultural sector are properly and fairly paid. (

About the Arts & Humanities Research Council

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, funds internationally outstanding independent researchers across the whole range of the arts and humanities: history, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, languages and literature, design, heritage, area studies, the creative and performing arts, and much more. The quality and range of research supported by AHRC works for the good of UK society and culture and contributes both to UK economic success and to the culture and welfare of societies across the globe.  

Metro Dynamics

Metro Dynamics has a mission to help places. Set up to provide support and advice in a different way, the team focusses on the reality of how places function and their very different sectors, stories and opportunities. Metro Dynamics work across the intervention life cycle, from analysis, strategy, project development, finance and business cases, through delivery, evaluation and monitoring. Their approach is driven by combining the best data and research there is, with a deep understanding of the dynamics of sectors, places and their communities, to advise those who lead, invest or do business in local economies across the UK. For more info and to contact the team see:  

Themes Digital Innovation Hard Skills Qualities of Leadership Sector Insights