Arts Leaders Program

Applications have now closed.

Dates: November 2017 – November 2018

Administration fee: $900 + GST (waived for international applicants)

Notification: early October 2017

Program Overview

The Arts Leaders Program brings together leaders from across Australia and eligible Asia Pacific countries, artforms and career levels to inspire and enhance arts leadership. The Arts Leaders Program will enhance your capacity as a leader, develop networks and provide the platform for you to be the best leader you can be.

Participants will engage with some of the most dynamic and influential leaders in Australia, exploring the issues and challenges that face the arts today. Participants will explore development through several topic areas, including:

  • Cultural leadership
  • Collaboration and exchange
  • Diversity
  • Emotional and social intelligence
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Eminence

Participants will commit to a 12 month-long journey of leadership activities including three intensive residentials, online meetings and a leadership project, designed to stretch them intellectually and personally.

The aim of the program is to build the capabilities of strong leaders to deliver a resilient, sustainable and vibrant arts sector. 

Who is the Program for?

The program is designed for mid-career and established leaders. This mixed cohort approach will maximise the learning experience through peer learning and custom components suited to various levels of experience. Emerging leaders are encouraged to apply to the Future Leaders Program.

International applicants from eligible countries should refer to the International Leadership Program for additional eligibility criteria.

Program Structure

The Arts Leaders Program includes:

  • Three intensive residentials, held in locations around Australia
  • Four virtual sessions to explore topics in more depth
  • Participating in group or partner work delivering on a project at the end of the program
  • Peer-to-peer engagement via an online platform
  • Access to the Australia Council Leadership Mentoring program when it suits you.
  • Access to ongoing opportunities through our Leadership Alumni program.

Program Outcomes

Participants in the program will gain:

  • Enhanced skills, capabilities and knowledge to survive, adapt and thrive.
  • Richer insight into what makes a great leader.
  • Stronger capability to lead an evolving arts sector.
  • Strong networks and relationships across the sector and across the country.

Program Dates


Virtual sessions

23-27 November 2017

30 January 2018

11-14 May 2018

13 March 2018

23-26 November 2018

17 July 2018

  11 September 2018

Participation at residentials is mandatory. Please ensure you check your availability before submitting an EOI. 

While every effort is made to adhere to these dates, there may be adjustments due to unforeseen circumstances. Any changes will be communicated to participants once finalised.

Program Fees

The Australia Council and other partners support participants to undertake the program, an investment of $3,000 per residential. This covers all costs associated with the program including design, facilitation, accommodation, catering and program resources for each participant.

Administration fee: Successful participants must pay an administration fee of $300 per residential (total $900+GST), which must be paid prior to each residential. The administration fee is waived for successful international participants.

Fee discounts: No applicant is discouraged from applying due to their financial situation. Applicants are able to apply to be considered for a fee discount. Please contact us for more information.

Travel: Participants are expected to pay their travel expenses, if required. Travel assistance is available for Australian individuals from remote areas and from Western Australia travelling to the east coast. Please contact us for more information.

Successful international participants will receive travel support. Please refer to the International Leadership Program for more information.

Please be sure to read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) webpage before applying. 

Selection Criteria

Leaders will be assessed proportionately to their experience level. Australia Council staff and industry advisers will assess EOIs using the following criteria.

  1. Readiness – The individual can demonstrate how the program will benefit their leadership development and dedicate the necessary time to fully participate in the program.
  2. Collaborative learner – Ability to learn in a group and collectively work on solving problems; the individual will have demonstrated willingness to share their own resources and skills with the group.
  3. Leadership ability and potential – The individual displays behaviours which indicate they have potential to grow in their leadership, whether they are mid-career or established. These behaviours may include strategic thinking skills; leadership promise; commitment to personal development; self-mastery and integrity.
  4. (Video) Level of commitment and engagement – The individual demonstrates a passion and commitment to the cultural sector; demonstrates an openness to new ideas and an approachable style.

Expression of Interest

Entry to the program is highly competitive. In your EOI, you must demonstrate how you meet each of the selection criteria in the formats below

Text: provide a written response to criteria 1-3 in the field where indicated. We recommend you break up your proposal with headings to clearly identify which area you are addressing and keep answers succinct and relevant.

Video: submit a maximum 3 minute video as support material outlining your response to criterion 4 – level of commitment and engagement. You should briefly introduce yourself on camera before continuing your response. While creativity is encouraged, please ensure any copyright materials are appropriately acknowledged in end credits.

Failure to submit to your EOI in the above formats may result in your submission deemed ineligible.

Support Material

You must submit either a short CV (max 2 pages) or your LinkedIn profile. You will be required to submit a URL for either of these. Your resume should be uploaded online and an URL provided as support material.

To find out how to upload your video and CV, click here.

Selection Process

Industry advisors and Australia Council staff will rate submissions according to the selection criteria, and shortlisted candidates may be invited to an interview.

The cohort will be selected against a framework considering the overall mix of participants necessary to reflect a balanced mix of backgrounds, locations, artforms, occupations, experience and gender.

All applicants will be advised of the outcome of their application once the selection process has been completed.

FAQs for the Australia Council Leadership Program can be accessed here.


Please contact the Capacity Building team if you require any further information on 02 9215 9036 or

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