We recognised that Dorset’s aging population could mean that young people are not staying in the county to develop it’s economy. We developed this activity to develop new and sustainable leaders and creatives in the cultural sector in Dorset.


To do this we invited 2 cohorts of people who were at the beginning of their career in the sector. Each cohort was asked to commit to a 6-monthly-meeting to:

  • Enhanced their freelance business skills (writing a business plan, self promotion and marketing, managing money)
  • Develop confidence in public speaking, pitching and responding to a brief
  • Gain knowledge and understanding of evaluation, impact and diversity
  • Develop new leaders


multi-coloured post it notes withe


Activity Impact

New Networks – Meeting each other and some more established practitioner every month for six months for a workshop has built a safe network for them.

“It has helped me to increase my network and identify funding streams and collaborators”

Profile Raised – Raised profile of participants within sector in Dorset, as they have been putting their hands up to engage with organisations that are able to employ or commission them.

“It helped me broaden my professional circle and get new work”

Increase in income – 30% Increase in freelance contracts and employment

“This really helped me to understand the world of self-employment”

Increase in Confidence – All participants said they felt more confident as a result of programme

“The network has enabled me to focus and given me confidence talking about my project to other”

Activity Outcome

26 participants
4 secured new posts / contracts
4 set up as freelance creatives with HMRC
2 developed new product
3  secured funding applications for new projects

Images are by Rachel Dunford

What we have learnt through this

  • That building and having a good Network is valuable
  • Setting Homework from each session was useful to the participants as it sets them to consider and continuous develop in between the meetings
  • There is a need for more time to apply the learning and develop collaboration
  • It is important to provide role models that are close to participants age and stage
  • The need to establish potential mentors in the sector to signpost  – We have develop a mentoring programme from this learning.


Click the buttons below to read stories of the participants of this activity

This Activity Report is a part of Culture+ Project Report.

Culture+ is a free programme of activities that supported artists, creatives, arts and cultural organisations to thrive in Dorset, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. From March 2017 to October 2019.

Funded by the Arts Council England (ACE) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).