Enhancing leadership through training: what capacity-building programmes contribute to the culture sector and how?



Marina Barham
General Director of Al-Harah Theater, and Al-Harah Performing Arts Training Center (Palestine)

Sue Hoyle
Director Clore Leadership Programme (UK)

Barbara Negrón
General Director of the Cultural Policies Observatory (Chile)


Susanna Seidl-Fox
Program Director, Culture and the Arts, Salzburg Global Seminar (USA/Austria)


Pavla Petrova
Director, Art and Theatre Institute (Czeck Republic)

Key words: 

leadership, training, change, development, impact, cross-sector collaboration, responsibility, collaboration.





The main theme of the session was leadership training in culture with all other consequences on the society.  The session offered unique opportunity to get together four different approaches to the leadership capacity building trainings from different parts of the world – Palestine, a global approach based in Austria, UK and Chile. The session was divided into two parts – presentations part and discussion.

Sue Hoyle presented the Clore Leadership Programme, which was initiated by an independent foundation on the request and needs of culture sector. 13 years ago UK dealt with crisis inside cultural field to recruit and retain cultural leaders for and in cultural institutions. Since 2004 program started to grow on questions as “who are the leaders”, “what are their values” or “what does it mean cultural leadership”.

The main aim: to change the expression of leadership to the more socially engaged and responsible. 

The programmes are based on intensive fellowship’s residential courses and very often cross-sectorial work (e.g. NASA).

In 2008 they changed to international fellowship programme (fellows from Hong Kong, China or Vietnam).


  • Fellows are focused on self-knowledge and sharing of experience (leaders are learned not taught).

  • Every individual is different and unique, but peer groups are sharing same value.

  • Fellows are creating dynamic and sustainable network of leaders.

Barbara Negrón presented TRAMA programme in Chile subsidised by EC. Research study about conditions of cultural workers in Chile - 89% of the cultural workers do not have a formal contract, 1 of 3 do not have insurance and 1 of 3 workers do not expect to receive money for the job). TRAMA should help to change this situation improving working condition of cultural workers and technicians in four regions in Chile. 

Four main goals:

  • Improve the art market.

  • Professionalize the workers.

  • Design better public policies for the development of the sector.

  • Promote the respect of the right of the artists.


  • To bring new kind of leadership in cultural sector through mutual cooperation and advocating the rights of cultural workers.

Marina Barham presented specific situation to train cultural leaders in war conditions of Palestine. They unite 11 organisations in the field of performing arts. Their questions are: “What we need” or “Who are leaders when cultural leaders can be criminalized”.


  • Leaders need to have a dream, a vision and a lot of passion.

  • They have to have as well a lot of positive energy.

  • They must be flexible and creative to cross all kind of different barriers.

Susanna Seidl-Fox presented Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators, which is part of Salzburg Global based in Austria (since 1947), set up as dialogue between Europe and USA and now working globally. Their work is based on innovative practices, creative visions, collaborative leadership and innovations, centered around the values of imagination, sustainability, and justice.

Three goals of the culture and arts program overall:

  • Exploring the transformative power of the arts.

  • Building bridges across cultures.

  • Supporting young cultural innovators.

Outputs of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators:

  • Global network of young cultural innovators (YCIs) with over 150 YCIs 

  • Encourage social entrepreneurship and collaborative leadership at global and local levels.

  • Initiate cross sectorial projects and relationships to develop innovative solutions to societal challenges in  different parts of the world discussion.

The trainings differ in different part of the world. In one part of the world we are speaking about leadership industry with enormous turnover, in another part about basic need.

How we can balance between different tools and technics and work with our selves during trainings?

How we can work with excluded groups of people?

How we understand the leaders, when leaders are no more connected just with cultural institutions?

How we can use the abilities of alumni community as political instrument?

How can we collaborate more across various leadership programs to share learning and enhance impact?



On Cultural Leadership in the 21st Century

Cultural leadership in the 21st century is:

  • leadership of change.

  • leadership with multiple impact on society, politics, ecology.

  • leadership in cross-sectoral collaboration.

  • leaders can grow also outside the cultural institutions.



Examples provided of leadership development 



  • Clore Leadership Programme (UK)

  • Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators (Austria)

  • Trama (Chile)

  • Al-Harah Performing Arts Training Center (Palestine)

  • Visiting Arts (UK) 


Problems/obstacles to developing sector leadership 


  • self-confidence and self-knowledge

  • to reach leaders in regions and in local communities

  • threat to be criminalised as a leader (Palestine)

  • sustainability of the network of leaders. 


  Examples of culture sector leadership on wider community issues


All programs mentioned during the session are providing leadership on wider community issues. There was identified different kind of that approach:

  • cross-sectorial approach in wider sense

  • international dimension

  • excluded communities

  • global themes issues – sustainability, climate change, digital shift, political development.

For example:

Chile – leadership as a tool to influence strategies and policies during election campaign to improve position of cultural workers in society;

Palestine – leaders generated from local initiatives have impact on social policies and  

arts as way to resist and to tell to the world the story;

Salzburg Global Seminar – leaders are motivated to cross-sectorial thinking with wider impact on society 


  Recommendations for action to enhance sector leadership


  • Use the potential of leaders in the network for global prospects.

  • Listen more to the local needs.

  • Instead to implement automatically the foreign models of training to modify or create directly for the individual milieu in different part of the world. 


  Key quotations


'Instead, change cultural leadership to change culture of leadership' (Sue Hoyle)

'Leaders live to make impossible possible' (Marina Barham)

 'Young artists, creative entrepreneurs and cultural leaders are demonstrating the creative vision, talent, and energy that our societies so desperately need to meet the challenges of the 21st century.  We need to support them as emerging changemakers' (Susanna Seidl-Fox)