A £6m fund aimed at nurturing diverse and multi-skilled leadership in museums, libraries and the arts has been launched by Arts Council England (ACE).
The Transforming Leadership fund will provide grants of between £150,000 and £1m to enable career development providers in England to create and trial leadership programmes that support diversity and address skills gaps in the sector, as well as supporting emerging leaders at an early career stage.
The fund will run until 2026, a time span that ACE hopes will enable it try out a “range of new ideas and approaches”, carry out long-term evaluation and develop a strong evidence base for effective practice.
Helen Parrott, the arts council’s senior manager of skills and workforce, said the fund came about after research carried out by ACE identified leadership development as an area of the workforce that was “in real need of attention”. She said: “Leadership is critical. If you get that right, a lot of other things will follow.”
Parrott said that, rather than being prescriptive, the fund would be open to a “broad church” of organisations – including museum services, universities and trade bodies – in order to support a wide variety of different projects. “What we’re looking for is evidence of impact so that we have a much better idea in future of investments that work.”
The fund draws on two reports published by ACE last year: Changing Cultures: transforming leadership in the arts, museums and libraries; and an evidence review of leadership, workforce development and skills in the arts, creative and cultural sector. Parrott said the fund would favour applications that addressed the specific issues raised in these two reports.
Expressions of interest should be submitted to the fund by 12 noon on 7 February. Successful applicants will then be invited to submit a full application in March.
A news analysis on the upcoming generation of museum leaders will be published in the February issue of Museums Journal.