Media Release

The Australia Council for the Arts, in partnership with the Institute of Community Directors Australia (ICDA), an Our Community enterprise, will present a series of workshops and free webinars for leaders of arts organisations. These programs form part of the Council's Governance Program which is designed to enhance capability across the sector.

Tailored specifically for the arts sector, the Australia Council Arts Governance Program aims to enhance governance skills which are critical to effective leadership and sustainability. The program is tailored for those in leadership roles within small to medium organisations, including the CEO, artistic director and board members.

Lissa Twomey, Australia Council MPA and National Engagement Executive Director, encourages executives of small to medium organisations to take advantage of this unique Arts Governance Program to gain a deeper understanding of the unique risks to arts organisations.

"The Australia Council identified a lack of nationwide arts-specific upskilling and, as a result, developed the Arts Governance Program. Strong governance can ensure the right environment for an organisation to thrive and create great art," Ms Twomey said.

"Arts boards need strong structures and processes in place and the Arts Governance Program provides tools to effectively discuss how the creation of art aligns with the vision and the mission of the organisation."

Free webinars begin in May, with the first being an Arts Governance Refresher on 2 May followed by a webinar on Meeting Processes on 23 May. The Council has included these webinars within the program to ensure all organisations have access to this type of information irrespective of location or budget. The webinars will occur throughout the year, creating an archived resource of governance tools. Future topics will be developed and added in response to need.

The other component of the Arts Governance Program is a full-day workshop for small to medium organisations which will be held in the second half of the year in all capital cities and select regional centres. The first will be held in Sydney on 29 May. Registrations are now open and up to three people per organisation can attend on the same registration. All participants will receive a two-year membership to the Institute of Community Directors Australia, an Our Community enterprise, which provides a suite of online resources and active discussion forum.

The program structure covers topics such as: board composition, succession planning and diversity; the board's role in artistic governance; optimising risk for an arts organisation; and board effectiveness. The program aims to provide participants with greater confidence in managing board performance and a greater understanding of contemporary good governance practices in the arts sector.

Pilot workshop participant Alexie Glass-Kantor, Executive Director of Artspace said that the program challenged some basic assumptions and offered exemplary insights into how organisations can think more strategically, laterally, and responsively.

The Arts Governance Program provides a unique opportunity for executive staff and board directors to think about leading collaboratively and ways to develop new strategies for supporting organisational sustainability and ambition," Ms Glass-Kantor said.

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