World leaders in the arts offered university programme

Academics and leading figures from London’s rich cultural scene offer their insights to those running major arts organisations around the world

October 13, 2016
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A UK university has launched an executive programme for international cultural leaders.

Aimed squarely at those with at least three years’ senior experience in the arts, heritage, culture, cultural education or creative industries sectors, the intensive and immersive seven-day course at King’s College London will be offered for the first time in April 2017.

It will include lectures by leading industry experts and King’s academics, experiential workshops and peer-to-peer learning. Since Historic Royal Palaces are the main sector partner, participants will also attend a live case study day, on-site at the Tower of London.

King’s already offers master’s degrees in creative and cultural industries, digital culture and society, and arts and cultural management.

The new Leading Culture in the 21st Century programme will build on “King’s position at the interface between the needs of the cultural sector and the academic evidence, insight and analysis that can support cultural organisations in achieving their strategic aims and ambitions”, according to Deborah Bull, assistant principal (London), who will be contributing to the curriculum and drawing on her experience in a previous role as creative director at the Royal Opera House.

The course is convened by Hilary Carty, who ran the cultural leadership programme for the Arts Council in London and was director of culture and education for London’s 2012 Olympics bid. She is now a cultural fellow and senior consultant in leadership, management and professional development at King’s.

When she did her own MBA, she recalls, she “constantly had to translate what I was taught into terms which were relevant to what I was doing in the cultural sector”.

The new programme at King’s will be far more focused and is designed to “attract people at the top or near the top of major cultural institutions” – such as heads of departments, deputy directors and even directors – “and bring them together with an international peer group of similarly qualified individuals they might not otherwise get a chance to meet. We will be providing a meeting point where they can hone their practice.”

Alongside Ms Carty, teaching will be provided by academic experts from King’s on organisational psychology, public sector management and the creative industries. Topics to be explored include cultural leadership in international contexts; national and global perspectives on culture; culture and regeneration; the cultural and economic impact of the creative industries; art, culture and the digital age; and design thinking and innovation.

King’s is hoping to attract 25 participants to the initial course next spring and then to repeat it once or twice a year.

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