Women are under-represented at a leadership level across all art forms in theatres, festivals, galleries, and museums. Racism, ableism, transphobia, homophobia, economic constraints and caring responsibilities also create barriers to career development. 

The WLSW programme has been designed to understand these barriers and help participants develop tools to tackle them.

WLSW project is run by a group of eight arts organisations in the region:

The Point (lead partner) : Eastleigh

Activate Performing Arts : Dorset

Art Asia Trust : Southampton

Diverse City : Swanage

Kaleider : Exeter

Pavilion Dance South West : Bournemouth

Southampton Business School at the University of Southampton

Strike a Light : Gloucester

The Arts Development Company : Dorchester

The project also involves the WOW Foundation, which is a global movement to celebrate women and girls and take a frank look at the obstacles they face. The Arts Council England  Transforming Leadership grant is funding the project.

This support programme will be bespoke for each participant and includes:

This is a unique programme for participants to create positive change, for a more equitable future, for both participants and their wider communities.

Each Associate will: 

Women Leaders South West will operate at THREE levels: 

WLSW Associates: 16 emerging female leaders from across the region

WLSW Network: 9 partner organisations supporting the Associates to challenge patriarchal structures, access, and diversity. 

WLSW Culture: A changed mindset, developed workforce culture, and approach to access and diversity embedded across arts and cultural organisations in the South West.

What makes this programme different?

Associates will learn business and entrepreneurial skills through training delivered by Southampton Business School. This will equip the Associates with the skills and knowledge to manage successful and resilient arts organisations in the future. 

Associates will also benefit from developing their own peer network across the South West region. 

Each Associate will also gain valuable work experience within two of the partner organisations. This will offer them insight into the day-to-day running of an arts organisation at senior management level. Women Leaders South West is a mix of formal learning, work experience and professional development.

We’ll have updates on the selected applicants and their leadership journey in the coming months.

Interested in what leadership means, watch the recital of ‘Rooted’ a poem performed by author, Malaika Kegode.

Rooted by Malaika Kegode

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