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.

How to Apply: 

Click the underlined text to download the documents.

1. Read the information pack (click which version you would like to view and download below):


Large Print PDF

British Sign Language video

2. Read through the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

or watch the British Sign Language FAQ video

3. Complete the application form

Please note that you cannot save and return to your application on Google Forms, so we recommend drafting your answers offline first. You can find all application questions here

or Nominate someone else: Complete the nomination form

4. Complete a very short and confidential monitoring form

For video and audio applications, please complete your personal information on the forms above and paste a link to your video or audio file.


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).

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


Our Advisors

Sabeena Ahktar

Sabeena Akhtar is a Writer/Editor and an Arts and Culture programmer working across a variety of literary festivals. She is the Festival Coordinator of Bare Lit, the U.K’s principal festival celebrating remarkable writers in the diaspora. A co-founder of the Primadonna Festival which spotlights the work of women writers, the Primadonna Prize for writing and
Bare Lit Kids, the UK’s first children’s festival showcasing the work of writers of colour. She is also Senior Programmer at the WOW Foundation. A keen advocate for Partition commemoration, in 2017 she partook in the BBC’s coverage of the 70th anniversary of Indian independence and alongside her daughter, filmed a programme on the Partition of India for children. She has since been invited to discuss the subject on various media outlets. She has published a wide variety of work including a children’s book on Islamophobia published by Hachette and a forthcoming Anthology by British Muslim women entitled Cut From the Same Cloth? She was a contributor to Saqi Books, Smashing It: Working Class Artists on Life, Art and Making it Happen and is currently working on her debut novel.

Maricka Oglesby

Maricka Oglesby is the Director of the Women’s Leadership Institute of Baltimore at Notre Dame of Maryland University, an historic institution educating women and girls for the past 125 years. She also serves as the Producer of the Women of the World Festival – Baltimore USA and since 2015. Maricka curates and executes engaging, and impactful events focused on the advancement of gender equity in collaboration with global and local partners
including the WOW Foundation in London. As a convener of women of all ages including 30+ organizations and leaders who are committed to gender equity, Maricka works to expand authentic conversations, actions, and connections.

Maricka is committed to proactive women’s issues, operational excellence, and inspirational leadership. Maricka studied journalism at the University of Maryland at College Park and has held positions at many nonprofit and educational organizations including the National
Women’s Law Center, the National Committee on Pay Equity, and the WOW Foundation in addition to other corporate experience in conjunction with her personal mission for gender
and racial justice.

Maricka is the single parent of a 10-year-old son who she is proud to be raising as a feminist.

Kym Oliver

“…An unapologetically Black, African AND Caribbean, British, Disabled, Woman, with a
wheelchair-ish case of Multiple Sclerosis”

Kym, is dedicated to illuminating their ‘lived experience’ with a long-term condition.
Examining its psychological, emotional, practical, social, cultural, structural and interpersonal effects, in order to create a blueprint for a more equitable future. She is determined to be the change she wishes to see.

Kym is a Writer (gal-dem, Spotify, AAIHS), Speaker (SOAS, LSE, Omnicom), Expert Lecturer (University of Oxford, Cambridge, KCL), Sex & Dating aficionado (Inner Hoe Uprising, Long Island Institute of Sex Therapy, Decolonising Contraception, SH:24), ‘Peer-reviewed Vegan Food Critic’ (Virgin Media) , Professional Cackler and the 'Official Goddess’ for The Triple
Cripples (BBC, Metro, Black Ballad, Vogue, AJ+) – a platform dedicated to highlighting the narratives and increasing the visibility of People of Colour, living with Disability.

A multifaceted creative, deep lover of Anime and UX design student, Kym spends umpteen hours staring at a screen talking to an invisible, future audience. Ironically, she also happens to be a qualified Personal Trainer & Integrative Health Coach, who spends most of their days
lying in bed, feeling poorly and promising themselves that “tomorrow” will be the day that they “eat better & go to the gym”…