Project description

European Cultural Leadership is a programme for leaders of small to medium sized organisations who wish to make a difference in how arts and culture can influence and drive change within society, interrogating historical and contemporary notions of leadership; the role of power, purpose, paradox, conflict and risk in what we do; what 21st century organisations and organising might look like; the importance of context, communication and collaboration in driving change; money, values and ‘currency’ in cultural work; and what intercultural working means in both theory and practice. ECL will engage with real needs, circumstances and experiences, bringing together critical thinking and radical action in participatory learning. This will mean a combination of expert ‘provocations’, intensive residential study periods in a variety of locations, one-on-one coaching, facilitated group work (to include action learning), personal reflection, collaborative projects and distance-learning processes.

This training is planned as a year-long, part-time, international programme that will create an inspirational and progressive learning environment in which committed innovators working in a variety of countries and situations can explore and deepen their practice. This will be achieved by supporting cultural practitioners to develop their capacity to navigate and support a democratic, inter-cultural and tolerant society.



The challenges that face emerging leaders in the European cultural sector are  numerous, not least:

  1. There is an acute need to develop a leadership characterised by the ability to adapt to transformative changes in society.
  2. An ability to work in an international setting and to lead and inspire intercultural teams and organisations in response to their audiences.
  3. To make relevant analysis of how to initiate sustainable processes of development and change in cooperation with different actors from the public, private and third sector of European society.
  4. The lack of suitable training programmes for future leaders in the arts and cultue sector.
  5. Art and cultural organisations find it difficult to recruit people with relevant competence.
  6. Research shows that cultural management education provided by universities around Europe or the leadership training offered in the private sector does not provide the necessary skills that are required.  The education provided by academia is too far from practice, while conventional leadership training is too focused on management.


We will build this education in direct partnership with cultural organisations in order to meet the needs of the sector and with academia to stay in dialogue with relevant and recent research.

Together with carefully chosen European partners, we will develop an educational program which will improve the competence, knowledge and skills of emerging leaders in the cultural sector of Europe. This programme, in full or using relevant parts, will thereafter be implemented by the partners through their networks in order to offer high quality further education for future leaders in the cultural field all over Europe.



The content and methodology used for the European Cultural Leadership program will be designed based on the actual competence needs among cultural organisation in the European wide cultural sector, (knowledge of the context, challenges and potential). In order to accomplish this, Nätverkstan will lead the Mapping and Research phase that consists of a needs analysis, examination of  the changes in the cultural sector and the new challenges within the labour market. We will make a situational analysis of the cultural organisations and their context, by conducting interviews, surveys, focus groups and research. By interviewing 10 European Cultural Leaders we will collect their life-stories to inspire the younger leaders to be. ENCATC will also host an academic seminar to give input from their member organisations and relevant research.

The result of the needs and situational analysis will define the content and format of the ECL program. Through pedagogical think tanks we will develop several course modules on relevant themes and design an optimised process to combine them. The ECL program will be tailor made for cultural organisations and the specific conditions within the cultural sector. During the process nine different areas of knowledge production and method development will be identified and assigned to different researchers and teachers.

As soon as the prototype of the ECL programme is finished, we plan to pilot part of the programme targeting the members of Trans Europe Halles and other cultural organisations. The evaluation of the pilot will give immediate feedback. In a follow-up seminar the project partner group together with an external evaluator and a reference group will discuss necessary adjustments and how to continue.

The final version of the ECL program will be presented in three different seminars, to TEH members and other cultural organisations, to ENCATC members and other education providers, to potential students, policy makers, politicians and civil servants. The results of the research and method development will also be published and disseminated through the seminars and strategic digital channels. The two publications will serve as central text books for future training programmes.

Fundraising for implementing the programme will be carried out and a central componant of this fundraising will be an application to the Swedish Agency of Vocational Training for setting up the ECL programme in partnership with Nätverkstan.


The following measures will be taken in order to accomplish the aims of the project:
– Develop a web platform to facilitate transparency and communication inside and outside the project;
– Ensure quality assurance in the educational programme by establishing a reference group consisting of people from the sector, academia and other professionals with expert competence;
– Execute evaluation continually through regular meetings with the project group consisting of representatives from all partners. An external evaluator will be given the task to follow the project and regularly evaluate the project in relation to the project plan.



The main target group are the leaders to be in the European cultural sector. A secondary target group is: academics, researchers and teachers at European universities and other education providers. A third target group is regional and local politicians and other decisionmakers, including managers and employers in the creative industries.
Of the main target group we are looking for young cultural leaders who have shown:
– Remarkable achievements in the cultural sector;
– Ability to work in new and different ways;
– Ability to delegate and motivate others, and to lead high performing work groups;
– Self reflection and a will to develop new skills;
– Engagement for plurality and international cooperation.
The target group could be future managers of existing institutions, but they might also take initiatives to establish organizations that do not exist today. They could end up as festival pioneers, CEOs in the creative industries, managers of cultural halls or leaders of new types and forms of cultural innovation. Thanks to our 15 years experience in educating international project managers in the cultural field, Nätverkstan knows that diversity within a class of students is decisive for the quality of the learning and increases the possibility of the students to create innovative projects and cooperations.