Clore Leadership Programme
Clore Leadership Programme

We are all 'Emerging' says Tom Higham

Tom Higham from FutureEverything reflects on his Clore Emerging Leaders course

Tom Higham
Tom Higham

My week with the Clore Emerging Leaders programme has stayed with me. It was only three years ago, but in the life of a (relatively) young and busy arts manager, that feels like an age. I have recommended the course to colleagues and friends constantly since, as I don’t know of a better way to gain perspective, confidence and context, as well as meet the most inspiring group of peers one will ever meet.

As we all know, the arts sector / creative economy / creative industry (choose one depending on the room you’re in) is changing, both quickly and significantly. Public funding is in decline, the cultural value debate rages on, and technology is transforming the way we live and work. I think Cat Harrison said it wonderfully well at the Culture Change Conference about the same time as I took part in the Emerging Leaders course, our generation doesn’t know any other way.

I find the most rewarding and successful projects involve intense and complex collaborations, across sectors, disciplines and cultures. Imposter syndrome is common, because you often have to trust instincts, collaborators and context. The Emerging Leaders programme allowed me to step back from the day to day, gain perspective on what I was doing and how I was doing it, and connect with trainers and peers with a huge range of backgrounds and insights. The experience was transformative, and still feels eerily current now, three years on.


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