Sue Hoyle and Robbie Swale, Changing leaders in changing times, Arts Professional, 21 July 2016
In these rapidly changing times, what new skills and attributes do our cultural leaders need? Sue Hoyle and Robbie Swale share the thoughts of Fellows on the Clore Leadership Programme.
In July 2005, 27 cultural leaders were coming to the end of their year as the inaugural Fellows on the Clore Leadership Programme. Brought together for a residential course at Bore Place, an organic farm in Kent, they had no internet access, mobile phone signal or television, so it took a while for the news to seep through that London had been selected as host for the 2012 Olympics.
Cause for celebration indeed, as the Fellows imagined the opportunities the games might present for the cultural life not only of the capital but for the whole of the UK.
The following day, a very different news story reached them when they heard about the terrorist bomb attacks in central London. A group of Fellows was working on a presentation about ‘What Does it Mean to be British?’ so questions of national identity, civic society and cultural leadership were were thrown into a very different focus. The world was more complex and uncertain than the day before.
Challenges and opportunities
The last decade has seen extraordinary shifts in technology and communications, politics and economics, demographics and social life, education and the environment.
More than a decade later, this year’s cohort of Clore Fellows gathered at Bore Place in a very different context. Following the UK’s referendum on membership of the EU, they too were asking themselves questions about cultural identity, community cohesion and the role of leaders in helping people find meaning in an ever-changing and unstable world.