Future Leaders Program

INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS - Applications have now closed.

Applications open: Friday 28 September 2018

Applications close: Applications now closed

Program Dates: April – October 2019

Fees: Full scholarship awarded

Notification: December 2018

AUSTRALIAN APPLICANTS - Applications have now closed.

Applications open: Monday 13 August 2018

Applications close: Applications now closed

Program Dates: April – October 2019

Administration fee: $600 + GST

Notification: November 2018 

Program Overview

The Future Leaders Program is designed to assist in the development of emerging, high potential arts leaders from across Australia and eligible Asia Pacific countries. During a thought provoking program, participants will enhance their own understanding of leadership and engage in a powerful, shared learning experience.

Emerging leaders require foundational skills and knowledge to progress their careers. Learning from the experiences of established leaders across artforms and each other, they will explore development through a range of topic areas such as:

  • Cultural leadership
  • Collaboration and exchange
  • Diversity, ethics and globalisation
  • Emotional and social intelligence
  • Creativity and innovation

Participants will commit to a six month-long journey of leadership activities, including two intensive residentials and online meetings, designed to stretch them intellectually and personally. Following the program, participants will have the option to undertake a secondment that extends their leadership development.

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 Future Leaders Program for?

The program will suit emerging arts leaders who want to increase their foundational leadership knowledge, gain exposure to key role models and develop partnerships with peers for long-term networking and support. Participants are typically in their first decade of their career and will be selected based on their senior leadership potential.

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

Program Structure

The Future Leaders Program includes:  

  • Two intensive residentials, held in locations around Australia
  • Two virtual sessions to reconnect and explore topics in more depth
  •  Participation in group or partner work
  •  Peer-to-peer engagement via an online platform
  •  A supported self-directed secondment (optional).

Program Outcomes

Participants in the program will gain:

  • Improved understanding of self and leadership.
  • Enhanced confidence.
  • Strong networks and relationships across the sector and across the country.
  • Greater ability to solve complex problems.
  • Capability to think and work more strategically.

Program Dates


4-8 April 2019 & 16-21 October 2019

Virtual Sessions:
6 June 2019 & 8 August 2019

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 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 $600+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. 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. 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. 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 CV should be uploaded online and a 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 leadershipprogram@australiacouncil.gov.au.

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