Empowering Women of all Backgrounds to be Leaders in the Arts

Are you interested in the arts? Do you enjoy problem-solving and making things happen? We’re looking for 16 women to take part in a paid leadership programme that includes work placements, mentoring and training.

The training programme will run from June 2020 to December 2021
Living allowance/training bursary: £12,000

UPDATE TO TIMELINE: We have been monitoring the situation regarding Covid19 and its potential impact on the Women Leaders South West programme. We want this programme to have maximum impact and to be ambitious and have therefore decided to postpone recruitment until the end of 2020. We hope this will give people time to focus on getting through this current crisis and enable them to come to the programme fresh in early 2021 with energy and ideas, in what may well be a changed cultural landscape. It goes without saying that we are all hugely disappointed not to keep the momentum going – but we will return!

What next?

We will release a new Call Out with a revised timeline towards the end of 2020. There will also be a series of Open Days and Information Sessions where we can meet each other and offer support with your application.

In the meantime, if you have any queries at all you can contact kateward@mail.com.

Updates will be posted on each partners website, as well as the Women Leaders South West Facebook page.

What if I have already applied?

Some people have already applied – thank you!! You can either:

1) request that we keep your application on file, and we will stay in touch with you about the new timeline.

2) withdraw your application and re-apply once the project resumes.

Please contact kateward@mail.com with your preference or with any queries.

What if I have online information sessions booked with the partner organisations?

These online or telephone sessions planned for 31st March and 7th April will still go ahead. They will still be useful as the programme content is very unlikely to change. It is also important that we meet you and hear your thoughts to help us plan and develop the programme.

Thanks for your interest in the programme and we look forward to meeting you later in the year.

What do we mean by leadership?

We think of leaders as people who:

  • enjoy making things happen
  • are creative
  • solve problems
  • care for others
  • motivate, energise and support others
  • take responsibility
  • have ownership of their ideas and projects
  • have skills and ideas they want to share

Leadership takes many shapes and is not always ‘from the top’. We may lead in some scenarios and not others, and at different times in our lives. Leaders, particularly perhaps women leaders, often need help to recognise their leadership qualities.
passionate about arts and culture


What are we looking for?

We are looking for 16 women associates. You may have creative ideas that you want to see happen for yourself or your community. We will invite you to take part in a leadership training programme and support you on a leadership journey.

You will be:

  • over 21 years old
  • based in the South West region; BCP (Bournemouth Christchurch Poole), Plymouth, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth, Southampton, Dorset, Devon,
    Cornwall, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Gloucestershire BANES & Bristol) which means that you live and/or work here
  • rooted in your local community
  • interested in developing new skills

You do not need a higher education qualification. You do need to have at least two years’ work experience (this does not have to have been in the arts). We are particularly interested in working with women from groups who are most under-represented at leadership level in the cultural sector including disabled women and women from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.


What can we offer?

  • A relationship with one of the partner arts organisations – to involve you in workplace experiences
  • Mentoring – a learning exchange with women associates and host organisations: The Point (lead partner); Activate Performing ArtsArt Asia Ltd.; Diverse CityKaleiderPavilion Dance South WestSouthampton Business School at the University of SouthamptonStrike a LightThe Arts Development Company. They are based across Dorset, Devon, Hampshire and Gloucestershire.
  • A Living Allowance/training bursary of £12,000 to cover ten months of training, paid in ten monthly instalments (or in line with your bespoke programme)
  • Additional support to meet your individual needs across the whole programme e.g. childcare, BSL interpretation, support worker, travel costs
  • Online and face-to-face training and career development opportunities with Southampton Business School
  • Connection with women from across the world through the WOW Foundation and Jude Kelly who started the organisation.


What will you do?

Together we will design a flexible training programme equivalent to ten months. You will either work intensively over a concentrated period, or you will work less intensively over an extended period.

1. Host organisation programme

You will be paired with one partner organisation who will be your host, but you will have the opportunity to work with the seven other arts organisations where possible. During your time with a host you might:

2. Residencies and international symposium

You will need to attend one three-day and one two-day residency to research and learn about leadership. You will meet the other women leaders of the eight host arts organisations. You will be part of an International Symposium. All of your costs to attend these events are paid for by the programme.

3. Online and face-to-face training with Southampton Business School

You will attend a series of seminars and lectures on topics such as business planning, marketing and income generation. These will be online and face to face and will be timetabled during September 2020 and June 2021.

4. Meetings

You will attend four face-to-face meetings with other women in the cohort (16 women in total across the region).


When will you do it?

Your training programme will be scheduled between June 2020 and December 2021. We will be as flexible as we can to fit around your commitments. We will work with you to design a programme and timeline that works best for you and your host partner.

  • Autumn 2020 Residency at Dartington Hall in Devon
  • June 2020 – December 2021 Host Organisation Programme (equivalent of 10 months’ training, at any time in this 18-month period)
  • September 2020 – June 2021 Flexible learning delivered by SouthamptonBusiness School
  • November 2020 One day review, reflection and future planning
  • September 2021 Evaluation residency (2 days)
  • November 2021 International Symposium (2 days)


About You

You can be employed, self-employed or unemployed to take up this opportunity. You cannot be in education. You may need a flexible working agreement with your current employer to take part.

Through this programme you might want to develop your:

• understanding of how things work in the arts
• understanding of leadership behaviours
• network of people to support you
• self-awareness and confidence
• creative and critical thinking
• skills as well as empathy
• entrepreneurial skills (particularly social entrepreneurial skills)
• practical knowledge and understanding e.g. social enterprise, business models, management, new ventures, marketing
• future direction and next steps


 How to apply:

1. Click here to read Frequently Asked Questions, which we will update regularly.

 or click here for a British Sign Language version of the Frequently Asked Questions

2. Click here to make an application.  Or Click here to nominate someone else.

3. Click here to complete a very short and confidential monitoring form.


If you have any questions or would like some assistance filling out your application please email Rosie Russell: rosie@theartsdevelopmentcompany.org.uk

All applicants will be contacted by Friday 24th April 2020.