by David Kershaw

When, back in 2006 David Kershaw took on the Chairmanship of the Cultural Leadership Programme, he could not fully anticipate the journey that would lie ahead.  The opportunity to shape and mould a programme that would make a difference to emerging, mid-career and senior leaders across the cultural and creative industries had significant appeal.  It was also attractive that, in a rare spirit of collaboration, the programme would genuinely work cross-sector and bring art forms and industries out of their silos to develop new, networked ways of working.  Refreshing and challenging in equal measures.

Undoubtedly, real impact and quantifiable improvement are best viewed with the long lens of hindsight and longevity, so this evaluation after just five years, itself remains a work-in-progress, but the signs are extremely positive and the body of essays contained in this evaluation hub give varied and valuable testament to those emerging outcomes.  It is rewarding to note the key finding in Economics of Cultural Leadership report that:

From a standing start in 2006, it is arguable that the CLP is now the broadest-reaching, and most recognisable, leadership development brand in the creative and cultural sector.

The issue of the ‘brand’ is notable here, for CLP resisted the push to set up a leadership ‘academy’ or endorse one leadership ‘approach’.  With a suite of sectors as wide and diverse as the cultural and creative industries, it would have been self-defeating to narrow the field and squeeze the sector with a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.  Instead, CLP celebrated the diversity and creativity of sector leadership and drew directly on the resources of individuals and organisations as partners to create a new ecology of leadership experts, hosts and providers. 

If sector performance is to be enhanced over time, it needs the knowledge and resources to inspire and improve.  In sharing Leadership Works with the sector at large, the Cultural Leadership Programme is seeking to build that knowledge and create the legacy we know will be critical to making a real and lasting difference over time.   

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