Investment in cultural leaders can be scarce, but Sue Hoyle explains how candidates can Clore their way to the top
In June 2004, we announced the names of the 27 inaugural fellows on the Clore Leadership Programme, chosen from over 400 candidates. Since then we have offered a further 151 Fellowships to leaders including archivists, archaeologists, choreographers, curators, digital entrepreneurs, education officers, film-makers, librarians, local authority arts officers, publishers and theatre producers. The programme was partly set up to address the concern that there might not be enough good leaders. In each of the past seven years, we have been amazed by both the number and the quality of candidates applying for fellowships: there is clearly no shortage of ambition or vision, but the need for leadership development remains. We aim to build skills, knowledge and networks. This year, competition has been tougher than ever. We are not looking for perfectly formed leaders: we aim to choose people who are ambitious to lead, but for whom a fellowship can make a real difference. The process is rigorous, with every application read separately by two assessors and – if their views differ – moderated by a third reader.
All fellows undertake a programme of professional development, which includes two residential leadership courses (the speakers are already creative and cultural leaders); mentoring and coaching; an extended placement in an organisation designed to be very different from the fellow’s usual working environment; and the option of an extended research project. A Clore fellowship does not lead to an academic or professional qualification: it is a process through which participants learn about themselves from other fellows, from seeing leaders at work and talking about their approach to leadership, and from trying out things for themselves.
Clore’s fellows have found many different environments in which to be leaders. Some have set up new charities or businesses or are working independently; others have returned to their jobs; and others have moved into new jobs, for instance heading museums, theatres, orchestras and library services. The cultural sector needs confident and effective leadership. Clore aims to change the culture of leadership, as well as the leadership of culture, to make leaders less isolated, so they can they learn from one another and give each support. For cultural organisations to succeed, they require leaders who are connected to others, who are entrepreneurial, imaginative, creative and collaborative, who have vision and drive, are courageous, positive and can make things happen.
Sue Hoyle is the Director of The Clore Leadership Programme, which is an initiative of the Clore Duffield Foundation. Applications for 2011/12 Fellowships are invited from January 2011 onwards.