Emerging Futures

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Emerging Futures is a conference for early-career change-makers working independently or within organisations in the Arts, Culture & Creative Industries across the UK.

The conference is a chance to hear from leaders, trailblazers and activists, make connections with others and exchange ideas on what leadership is and will be for the Creative sector.

It’s never too early to start thinking about leadership - you don’t need to be managing a team to be a leader and you don’t need to be at the top of a traditional organisational hierarchy.

Who Is It For?

Participants will have 2-5 years of work experience under their belt (this can include internships). You can be working for an organisation, or self employed as an artist or producer.

We know that leadership skills can develop through different lived experiences and alternative career pathways and we welcome and are committed to reflecting, respecting and greeting a diverse group of leaders.

It was incredibly inspiring and progressive. REALLY VERY PROGRESSIVE. That was amazing for me to see and be a part of.
Emerging Futures 2020 Participant
Past Events

Emerging Futures 2020

Emerging Futures 2020 comprised a two-day conference and eight workshops which took place online in September and October 2020. Running such an event during a global pandemic felt urgent and vital and important to forge forward with the agenda; creating a space for early-career leaders to engage with established leaders and peers, think about their own leadership trajectories and place the issues of the day - diversity and inclusion, climate change and power - centre stage.

Keynotes on ‘Feel the Fear and Lead Anyway’ from Travis Alabanza and 'Power: Individual, Collective, Structural’ from Madani Younis (now based in New York) tackled issues of courage and conviction. Panel discussions on embedding activism in leadership and reimagining the role of arts and culture shared strategies from leaders across the sector on how to bring new and urgent ideas to the table. Break out sessions on using emotion for change and authentic leadership gave a chance for participants to look inside themselves and align values with their work and organisations. We brought the big issues of the day to the fore; diversity, equality and inclusion, black lives matter, decolonisation, climate change, the pandemic and power. Low confidence and imposter syndrome are common within our sector so using a Clore Leadership staple session on authentic leadership to instil confidence in these early career leaders was a pillar of the event, showing that leadership does not only sit at the top of a traditional hierarchy.

A zine artist and poet were commissioned to capture the conference. Both Rose Sergent and Elmi Ali attended all sessions across the two days and creatively interpreted the content and participant interaction. The full zine, including Elmi’s poem ‘Emerging Futures’ can be viewed online.

A Clore Leadership conference in partnership with Contact, Manchester. Supported by Arts Council England, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and ArtFund.


Emerging Futures 2018

Emerging Futures: Leadership, Culture and Big Ideas was a one-day conference that took place in Manchester in September 2018 in partnership with Manchester International Festival, Future Everything and The Space.

It brought together aspiring and emerging cultural leaders, change-makers and creative entrepreneurs with inspiring creative thinkers, makers and doers. Featuring a dynamic programme of leadership insights and though-provoking debate, with the space to network and exchange ideas, Emerging Futures 2018 tackled the key issues of our time – technology, cultural democracy, wellbeing and leadership.