Applications are now open for Oxford Cultural Leaders 2017

Oxford University's Gardens, Libraries and Museums, in partnership with colleagues from the Saïd Business School, are delighted to announce that its highly successful residential leadership programme, Oxford Cultural Leaders, will be running again 26-31 March 2017.

The application portal for this year's programme opened on 3 October 2016 and will close at 5pm on 4 January 2017.

The programme has been developed as a response to the clear message from governments across the world that cultural organisations need to look beyond the state for their income, demonstrating their commercial acumen and ability to deliver successful new business models. Oxford Cultural Leaders addresses the need for cultural organisations to reinvent themselves as businesses, albeit not-for-profit, with entrepreneurial ways of thinking and behaving, by developing a cadre of leaders who are able to skilfully and confidently tackle these challenges.

Future leaders in the cultural sector will need to develop the confidence to think about their organisations as sustainable entities. This will require new skills and approaches – some learned from different sectors and disciplines. The Oxford Cultural Leaders Programme in my view provides a powerful platform for the development of this shared future.’ Tracey Camilleri, Director, Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme, Saïd Business School.

Having access to expertise from across the cultural and business sectors has enabled Oxford to develop a programme that is unique within the museum and cultural sectors internationally. The programme was held for the first time in March 2015 and then again in April 2016, successfully bringing together dynamic leaders in an environment which encourages experimentation and innovation.

‘The whole experience had an impact on me; it was intensive from first thing in the morning until the last thing at night. The diverse cohort facilitated learning from the experiences of others, which was affirmed by leading practitioners who’s vigorous sessions got you to think differently.’ Alistair Burtenshaw, Director, The Charleston Trust.

‘What surprised me most was the programme's ability to suspend the participants’ status issues and positioning and create a trusting, open, generous and sharing environment between us. It allowed us to work really well together, and this did generate some incredible moments of co-creation.’ Anette Østerby, Head of Visual Arts, Danish Arts Council

The programme faculty comprises of cultural sector leaders and business school experts including;

  • Laura Van Broekhoven, Director, Pitt Rivers Museum
  • Tracey Camilleri, Director, Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford
  • Richard Evans, Director, Beamish, the Living Museum of the North
  • Pegram Harrison, Fellow in Entrepreneurship, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford
  • Diane Lees, Director General, Imperial War Museums
  • Catherine Mallyon, Executive Director, Royal Shakespeare Company
  • Keith Ruddle, Associate Fellow, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford
  • Michael Smets, Associate Professor, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford
  • Carole Souter, Master, St Cross, University of Oxford
  • Xa Sturgis, Director, Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology
  • Yolanda Vasquez, Actor and Tutor, Olivier Mythodrama

Oxford Cultural Leaders is for dynamic and reflective directors, heads of department, and senior managers who want to challenge and redefine their identity as a leader and their vision for their organisation at a time of great challenge and complexity for the cultural sector.

Recruitment will be through a competitive application process, with a panel of faculty members carefully considering what the applicant can contribute to the programme, as sharing knowledge and expertise, and providing peer consultancy and support is core to the programme’s success. 

Participants will be staying at Pembroke College in the heart of Oxford, a beautiful, peaceful and historic setting, which is close to the museums, cultural venues and university buildings that we use to deliver the teaching, workshop and social elements of the programme.

The deadline for applications is 5pm on 4 January 2017.

Participants (both Home/EU and International) will be asked to contribute a fee of £2,500.

To find out more about the programme and to apply, visit or contact: Lucy Shaw, Programme Director, Oxford Cultural Leaders at or on 01865 613783.