Visual Arts South West Leadership Programme


Read the final report from the Visual Arts South West Leadership Programme.


The Visual Arts South West Leadership Programme (VASWLP) is a leadership development programme for artists, curators, producers, freelancers, sole traders and managers working in the visual arts in the South West, delivered by Debbie Kingsley.

The leadership programme aims to develop individuals, organisations, and potential leaders for the sector motivated by the belief that good leadership supports the creation of great art. The programme puts the artistic vision of the participants first and looks at how they can work to achieve that vision.

The application process took place in February and a cohort of 23 participants were selected. We’ll be catching up with them throughout the programme to review the activities and discover some of the implications and benefits of VASWLP for their careers.

The programme includes workshops, mentoring, ALS, coaching and advisory delivered via five concentrated workshops, peer learning, discussions, provocations, 1:1 mentoring, action learning tasks and a leadership challenge to take place throughout the year.

The first session took place on 17 April 2013. Participant and director of Flow Contemporary Arts, Carolyn Black, shares her thoughts here.

Further information about the programme:


  • Helping Visual Arts leaders and producers to develop an exemplary practice
  • Fostering a better support network for leaders from freelancers and small organisations to large institutions
  • Raising the level of ambition amongst visual arts leaders in the SW
  • Helping share resources, expertise and knowledge
  • Enabling a forum for collaboration
  • Promoting the role of the established freelancer, artist leader and network making a critical contribution to the development of cultural leadership in the UK

Participants will:

  • Consider the nature of leadership, innovation and sustainability and develop understanding of how we see ourselves in relation to the concept of leadership
  • Develop collective and individual visions for personal and professional development as the basis for action planning
  • Develop their advocacy skills
  • Consider collective priorities for the sector (e.g. profile, influence, sustainability, collaboration etc)
  • Become more confident in taking responsibility for their own development and that of the sector
  • Develop collective and individual action plans and leadership goals
  • Create and deliver a real leadership challenge that in itself will take the group closer to achieving their individual and collective vision
  • Bring ideas they wish to explore collectively which might (or might not) include: effective management, management and leadership, trend forecasting, insight and analysis of the sector, learning from other sectors, partnership and collaborative working, business modelling, crowd funding etc.

What's On

Free art classes for over 50s

SPACE, 6 West Street, Old Market, Bristol, BS2 0BH

Sunday 06 December 0217 – Wednesday 28 March 2018

Radical Clay: Teaching with the greatest potters of the 1960s

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Queens Rd, Bristol BS8 1RL

Saturday 22 July 2017 – Sunday 10 June 2018

Empire Through the Lens

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Queens Rd, Bristol BS8 1RL

Saturday 30 September 2017 – Friday 31 August 2018

Visual Arts South West

Working towards a South West where talented artists thrive, and a resilient and connected visual arts ecology that inspires more engaged and diverse audiences to value and advocate for its work.

Part of the Contemporary Visual Arts Network

Supported by: