Board development – asking the right questions

Board development – asking the right questions

An event for board members and managers of arts and cultural organisations to find a way to better management practice

Arts organisations operate in ‘interesting times’.  The ability to marry artistic ambition to sound financial and business planning has never been more necessary.  A general economic downturn and changes to existing funding structures have created a real sense of uncertainty and change.

Boards of management should already be addressing such issues as artistic risk, financial information, legal responsibilities, staff management, diversity, recruitment and succession planning but should also be discussing how to become more resilient and sustainable in the face of such change.  This will take clear leadership and direction – is your board up to the task?

Each organisation is different with unique characteristics and faces very particular issues.  In our experience in offering a business and board development programme, a one-size-fits-all, off the shelf approach to training has not proved effective.   One answer has been to offer individual mentoring support – arts business consultant John Hector has been successfully running such a scheme with Cultural Forum members for over two years which looks set to continue in to 14-15.

Another fruitful approach has been to hold skills sharing events, utilising members’ own extensive knowledge and varied experiences to inform the group’s learning.  Working in this way, this event will share examples of good governance and then go further to examine how your organisations are addressing key relationships and achieving your overall mission.

It may not offer you the right answers, but instead it should equip you to ask the right questions of your Board, so that you can challenge long held perceptions and harness creativity and clarity of thought in your dealings with both fellow board members and staff.  Do the board and staff share a common purpose? How well do the board and staff understand each others’ roles and responsibilities? Are there differing aspirations and expectations?

On hand to stimulate the discussion and offer the benefits of their extensive experience will be Andy Burden, director of Bath’s Natural Theatre, who has recently taken the organisation through a period of considerable change and renewal, and arts business consultant John Hector, who has been running the Cultural Forum’s Arts Mentoring Project.

These events are suitable for board chairs, members and senior staff.  Places for this event will be limited, with a maximum of three representatives from each organisation.

The event is FREE for CFBA members but prior registration of interest is required – please do so here.

Natural Theatre, Widcombe Institute, Widcombe Hill, Bath BA2 6AA

Monday 17th March, 19.00 – 21.00

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