Oxford Cultural Leaders: Acclaimed leadership programme celebrates its 10th year with new 1:1 coaching offer

Oxford Cultural Leaders (OCL) is celebrating its 10th year by launching a groundbreaking 1:1 coaching package exclusively for cultural leaders, complementing its established international leadership development programmes. This industry-first coaching offer, developed in response to sector needs and through feedback from OCL alumni, provides vital leadership development in the cultural sector. Widely recognised as a powerful tool, 1:1 coaching accelerates significant professional growth and effectiveness in participants’ leadership. In 2024 OCL will continue to offer its internationally renowned residential and online courses alongside the new 1:1 leadership coaching package. 

Designed and delivered in partnership with Oxford University’s Gardens, Libraries & Museums and the Saïd Business School, Oxford Cultural Leaders continues to provide senior management-level leaders in the cultural sector with the tools they need to redefine their roles and reimagine their institutional visions. The unique challenges now faced by the sector, such as funding constraints, reputational risk and environmental responsibility, mean that leaders are increasingly required to respond quickly, take calculated risks and navigate their teams through periods of change. OCL empowers participants to adopt a holistic view of their organisations and their operating context, identifying transformative opportunities that drive resilience and sustainability in the face of change whilst enabling creativity.

In 2024 Oxford Cultural Leaders will provide three distinct offers:

  1. Online Programme: This interactive and highly-rated five-day online programme (running 22 – 26 April 2024) will be delivered via Zoom, providing the flexibility of live online delivery. Participants from around the world will join Oxford University faculty and key thinkers from across the cultural sector in virtual workshops and talks.
    Applications open on Friday 1 December 2023.
    Deadline for applications: Monday 22 January 2024
    Course runs:  Monday 22 – Friday 26 April 2024
  2. Residential Programme: Taking place 15 – 20 September 2024, the Residential Programme is centred in the heart of Oxford University. This immersive experience consists of a week of workshops, discussions and interactive sessions led by University faculty and experts from the cultural sector. Participants will stay in a historic college and attend sessions in Oxford's famous museums and at sites across the University. Throughout the week they will enjoy evening networking events and activities such as private tours of Oxford and visits to cultural sites, whilst connecting with peers from around the world.
    Applications open Monday 8 April 2024.
    Deadline for applications: Monday 3 June 2024
    Course runs: Sunday 15 – Friday 20 September 2024
  3. 1:1 Leadership Coaching: New for 2024, OCL Coaching offers personalised support for cultural leaders worldwide looking to address and reflect on complex professional challenges with a skilled and empathetic leadership coach. This comprehensive coaching package includes four one-on-one coaching sessions conducted online over a 4–6-month period. Coaching can be used as a powerful complement to OCL’s group learning initiatives or as a standalone option. Each participant is carefully matched with a qualified and experienced personal leadership coach with whom they can reflect, explore options and develop actionable plans for positive change. Participants can harness the power of 1:1 coaching to facilitate personal growth and professional effectiveness, transforming how they lead and their experience of leadership.
    1:1 Leadership Coaching is now available via the website which includes an introductory offer for those new to OCL and a special offer for OCL alumni.

Over its 10 years OCL has built an international alumni network of over 200 professionals working in leadership roles across the cultural sector. This network is a particular strength of OCL with alumni sharing best practice, offering mutual support and initiating innovative partnerships and programmes. Past participants have come from a wide range of cultural organisations, including the British Library, the BBC, National Trust, Chatsworth House, the Science Museum Group, and international institutions such as the Danish National Academy of Music, Folkteatern, Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, Parks Canada, and Te Papa Tongarewa.

The 2024 OCL faculty comprises distinguished professionals, including Pegram Harrison, Michael Smets, Nelisha Wickremasinghe (Saïd Business School), Paul Smith, Laura Van Broekhoven, Xa Sturgis (Oxford University Gardens, Libraries & Museums), Bernard Donoghue (ALVA) and Samenua Sesher (Museum of Colour).

The Oxford Cultural Leaders programme welcomes applications from a wide range of cultural sectors including museums, galleries, theatre, performing arts, visual arts, music, film, libraries, as well as the natural heritage, tourism, and creative industries.

Applications for the Online Programme will open on Friday 1 December with a deadline of Monday 22 January 2024. Applications for the Residential Programme will open on Monday 8 April 2024, with a submission deadline of Monday 3 June 2024.

For further information, including programme details and how to apply, please visit www.glam.ox.ac.uk/oxford-cultural-leaders

Download 2024 Programme Brochure

Quotes from attendees

‘Nobody teaches you how to be a leader…let alone a good, effective leader! OCL provides an opportunity for hard and fearless introspection… to dig deep and understand one’s own leadership style, strengths, and weaknesses.’
Sujit Tolat, Senior Vice President, International Practice, G&A

‘For anyone considering taking a big step in a new direction, needing expert encouragement and a life-long network, then this is definitely the course for you.’
Sally Shaw OBE, Director, Firstsite, UK

‘My OCL experience was intense, disruptive, challenging, encouraging and inspirational. Every session interrogated my values and ideologies as a cultural leader. It not only bolstered my resilience; it renewed my sense of optimism and purpose.’
Lauretta Morton OAM, Director, Newcastle Art Gallery, Australia

‘It gave me the space to step back and changed some behaviours that were not helpful to me. It’s not just about listening to inspirational speakers, reading interesting academic articles and practising theory, it’s so much more! The whole process changes you for the better.’ 
Victoria Robinson, Chief Executive Officer, The Met, UK

“It was a creative and professional opportunity to encourage empathy, courage and pursue a path of unfamiliarity as a leader, without fear of doubt and embedded confidence in leadership. Highly recommended and remarkable, OCL shines above.”
Dr Sian L Tiley-Nel, Head of UP Museums, Office of the Registrar, University of Pretoria Museums, South Africa