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Chris Smith, MP Debates the Fine Arts of Leadership in Creative Sector

Originally Published 06 February 2004

The Rt Hon Chris Smith, MP, former Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport is set to debate the challenges of current cultural policy and the need for new, innovative and well-trained leaders in the cultural sector in the UK on Thursday, 12th February at 12:00 noon, at Warwick Arts Centre, the University of Warwick.

Chris Smith, MP is the Director of the Clore Leadership Programme, established in 2003 by the Clore Duffield Foundation as a new initiative to strengthen arts management, and he is now leading a new talent search for arts leaders of the future. The scheme will annually train over 20 arts administrators, and help plug a talent gap at the top of Britain's major institutions, with training beginning at the end of September 2004.

The Clore Leadership Programme helps train and develop a new generation of leaders for the UK cultural sector. A lack of UK leaders in British art has prompted the foundation to boost training to provide inspirational leadership.

Chris Smith, MP said: “We have some outstanding cultural leaders in the UK, but they tend to emerge by accident rather than by design. Many arts organisations have experienced difficulties in recruiting and retaining leaders at different levels, and this needs to be addressed. Over the last few years, we've increasingly been looking abroad to bring people in. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but we need to generate more home-grown talent.”

The Programme assists Clore Fellows to undertake a programme of work, research, training, and secondment, to develop their leadership skills and experience. The scheme includes the whole range of creative and cultural fields, including the visual and performing arts, heritage, museums, libraries, and cultural administration and policy.

Until now there has been little formal professional development in the UK for arts leaders. An exception is the University of Warwick’s Centre for Cultural Policy Studies, which is a unique and proven beacon of excellence in the cultural sector. It offers opportunities for the study of arts management, cultural policy and the creative and media industries, and will be hosting a number of research fellows as part of the Clore Programme.

Oliver Bennett, Director of the Centre for Policy and Cultural Studies, at the University of Warwick, said: “We have some first-class students from all over the world in our centre, so this will be an excellent opportunity for Mr Smith to meet some future cultural leaders.”

Mr Smith was a popular Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport 1997 – 2001. Successes included free entry to museums and galleries, rescuing regional theatre and setting up the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts with lottery money.

The event is organised by the MA students in European Cultural Policy and Management at the University of Warwick.

Contacts:
Jenny Murray,
Communications Office,
University of Warwick,
Tel: 02476 574 255,
Mobile: 07876 21 7740

Oliver Briscoe,
Student,
Centre for Policy and Cultural Studies,
University of Warwick,
Tel: 07834 814471

Oliver Bennett,
Centre for Policy and Cultural Studies,
University of Warwick,
Tel: 02476 524 399