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Extend Leadership Training

(June 2018 - March 2019)

Extend was developed by engage in response to the under-representation of learning and education staff in leadership within the arts and cultural sectors. From June 2018 to March 2019, I worked closely with a cohort of 14 practitioners from across the cultural sector. Extend comprises of two residentials, research trips, bespoke mentoring and group enquiries.

The group enquiry is an ongoing collaborative project that begins and the end of the first residential and runs for eight months. It is an opportunity for the cohort to work in smaller teams to test and explore the leadership skills we are introduced to on the course.

Extend Cohort 2018 - 2019

Photo Credit: David Lindsay

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Card designs, Extend Group Enquiry Project, Photo Credit: Anna Betts

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My group enquiry team included Karen Thomas (Open House, Kettle's Yard, Cambridge), Catherine O'Brien (Freelance Art Educator, Edinburgh), Meg Parnell (Manchester City Art Gallery), and Lucy Foster (St Mary Magdalene's, Paddington Development Trust, London).


We chose to investigate leadership and cultural democracy, and interviewed people that we percieved to be demonstrating inspiring leadership in a range of arts organisations. We worked in pairs to conduct the interviews and asked interviewees about the values they felt were essential for good leadership, alongside their interpretation of cultural democracy. We transcribed each interview and selected excerpts that we felt described key aspects of culturally demomcratic leadership through metaphor or story telling.


We wanted to find a way of communicating this research in a playful way and commissioned designer Anna Betts to format the interview excerpts as a set of A5 x 20 cards, each with a title and  graphic, with the corresponding text on the reverse.

Pack of Cards, Photo Credit: Anna Betts

The cards can be read as a collection of discrete personal perspectives of leadership and cultural democracy, download a PDF of the cards from here. They can also be used to animate reflection and dialogue - download a PDF card with suggestions for using the cards here.

We would like to thank our interviewees for their generosity and time:

- Grainne Flynn, Young Board Member & Matt Fenton CEO  from Contact Theatre, Manchester.

- Eli Lower, Creative Team Coordintor & Kamina Walton, Artistic Director from Rising Arts Agency, Bristol

- Ward Hills, Member from Make Space, Cambridge

- Elvira Dyangani Ose, Director from The Showroom, London.

- Harry Dunlop, Learning and Access Curator from St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art and Provand's Lordship, Glasgow.

- Mark O'Neill, Former Director of Policy & Research for Glasgow Life and Former Heard of Glasgow Mueums, Glasgow

The Extend pilot programme is funded by the Cultural Leadership Programme and Creative Scotland; subsequent programmes have been funded by Arts Council England, Creative Scotland and the Arts Council of Wales.

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