The Clore Programme for Leadership in the Arts

Clore’s Leadership Programme – a note

The Clore programme, founded in 2003, is explicitly for leaders – in the arts – with some experience behind them. A 7-month programme, it aims to provide opportunities for its two dozen fellows per annum with a bespoke programme of intensive leadership courses, workshops and other learning opportunities, mentoring and coaching, a three-month placement in another (different) organisation, followed by research (and later) execution of a major project of their own design. (It later spawned sister programmes – for social leaders).

An expert report (1) evaluating its performance (in 2013, ten years after the start of the programme) commented on the fact that in the arts sources, roles and even locations are becoming less specific and more collaborative as a result of the interactivity of the internet, and innovation more common, faster and more invasive. It also raised questions about the impact of the two dozen Fellows whom it supports annually, and the number of qualified candidates that it did not include.

Driven in essence by the reach of the Internet, the programme had been seeking to increase its emphasis on the leadership of creativity (as such) – by broadening its perspective – in a world in which boundaries are more fluid, sources, roles and locations in the arts less circumscribed, more flexible and less predictable, life more complex and insecure; but sharing and more collaborative. [I picture prize-winning students producing multi-media ten minute playlets at the National Theatre every morning for a week. Or Hull hosting a poetry competition for children inspired by the Royal College of Art.]

For the future of the programme, proposals included:

  • More emphasis on individual Fellows and less on structures and institutions
  • Greater emphasis on systems, networks, behaviours, technology, organisation and influencing
  • More about collaboration, management and self-management, contracting and commissioning
  • More understanding of entrepreneurialism
  • More understanding of technology
  • More input to the programme from outsiders including expert amateurs
  • More research
  • More pastoral care (for participants lives)
  • More influence outside the arts sector
  • A higher profile for the programme

The essence of these proposals was about ‘finding ways of creating [change] that we cannot foresee’.

(1) Creative Leadership: A future vision for the Clore Leadership Programme, Robert Hewison and John Holden

John Whatmore, April 2018


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