Despite suggesting that the content of the day was geared towards interior design, the New Chairs day run by the Clore Leadership Programme was not only an comprehensive introduction into what being a chairperson is all about, but also hugely motivating, instilling in me a sense of responsibility and confidence regarding iceandfire’s future. It really was that good.

The Clore people aim to strengthen leadership across a wide range of cultural activities including the visual and performing arts, film, heritage, museums, libraries and lots of other creative industries. They do this by bringing together professionals with relevant experience to run sessions that are defined and facilitated by the needs, opinions and understanding of their participants. This offers a great opportunity for the sector to learn from itself and benefit from a range of immediately relevant views and experience.

There aren’t too many training courses that can keep its trainees fully engaged for a whole day, so this one deserves credit for a job well done. Touching on the basics of roles and responsibilities, legal and governance issues, finance and business planning, the facilitators then came up with scenarios that a chair might be faced with, which the participants then considered in groups. Breakout sessions gave the groups the chance to come up with possible ways of reacting, dealing or coping with each scenario which were then discussed by everyone in the session.

I don’t know about any of the other participants but I took a great deal way from the day, including the contact details of my opposite numbers at some interesting arts organisations across the country. I also now have a priority ‘to do’ list which I will be sharing with the iceandfire staff and board at our next meeting. I just hope that they are ready….

By Rob Harris, Chair, iceandfire Board

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