Arts Leaders Program


Applications open: Friday 28 September 2018

Applications close: Monday 19 November 2018, 11.59pm AEDT

Program Dates: February 2019 - February 2020

Fees: Full scholarship awarded

Notification: December 2018


Applications open: Monday 3 September 2018

Applications close: Friday 26 October 2018, 11.59pm AEDT

Program Dates: February 2019 - February 2020

Administration fee: $900 + GST

Notification: November 2018 

Program Overview

The Arts Leaders Program brings together leaders from Australia and eligible Asia Pacific countries across 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, ethics and globalisation
  • Emotional and social intelligence
  • Creativity and innovation

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. The first and last residentials will be held in locations around Australia, and the second residential in Indonesia.
  • Four virtual sessions to reconnect and explore topics in more depth.
  • Participation 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 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, nationally and internationally 

Program Dates

Arts Leaders Program

21-25 February 2019, 19-24 August 2019 (Indonesia) and 13-16 February 2020.

Virtual Sessions:
9 April 2019, 11 June 2019, 8 October 2019 and 10 December 2019. 

Participation at residentials is mandatory. Please ensure you check your availability before submitting an EOI. You will also need to be able to travel to Indonesia in August 2019; Australian passport holders will not need a visa but are responsible for ensuring they meet any entry requirements.  Please allow for travel time before and after the above dates.

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 upwards 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 to and from residentials. Travel assistance is available for Australian individuals from remote areas and from Western Australia travelling to the east coast on a case by case basis. For the Indonesia residential each participant will receive a travel bursary towards their flights, details provided at a later date. 

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. Level of commitment and engagement (video) – introduce yourself, telling us who you are and about your passion and commitment to the cultural sector.
  2. Readiness – outline your career trajectory and tell us why this is the right program for you and your leadership development at this moment in time.
  3. Collaborative learner – show you are open to new ideas, able to learn in a group situation and willing to share knowledge and insights with others.
  4. Leadership ability and potential – explain what leadership in the arts mean to you as an individual.  What skills, attributes and behaviours do you have or need to grow in your leadership?

Please note this is not a job or project application – assessors are looking for evidence of critical thinking, self-reflection and an understanding of the arts sector and your place within it.

Expression of Interest

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

Provide a written response to each of the selection criteria in the field where indicated in the online form. We recommend you break up your proposal with headings to clearly identify which criterion you are addressing and keep answers succinct and relevant.

A video outlining your response to criterion 1 is optional but strongly recommended for Australian applicants. A video is mandatory for international applicants. You do not need to provide a written response to criterion 1 in addition to a video response.

Video details: submit a maximum 3 minute video as a URL in the support material. You should briefly introduce yourself on camera before continuing your response. While creativity is encouraged, videos are not judged on aesthetic or production values. Please ensure audio is clear and any copyright materials are appropriately acknowledged.

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

Please do NOT attach any letters of support, media articles, examples of your artistic practice or other documentation. These will not be viewed by assessors.

Selection Process

Industry advisors and Australia Council staff will review 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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