Last week I was honoured to be part of a panel event discussing the Global Majority and the Culture of Boards for the Governance Now: Championing Communities conference at the Midlands Art Centre, hosted by Clore Leadership and managed by the Cultural Governance Alliance.
With over 100 people in attendance, the audience was a mix of CEOs, Artistic Directors and existing trustees from arts organisations who were ready to tackle governance for the sector head-on.
Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council delivered the keynote speech and began by congratulating the sector on its resilience and ability to diversify during and post-Covid which led to the announcement of a new 2-year programme ‘Transforming Governance’ set up to provide sector development, support boards of trustees and senior leadership of National Portfolio Organisations.
Break-out panel discussions tackled themes on how to get young people on board, case studies from neighbouring Coventry 2021, UK City of Culture on legacy and how to increase the voices from the global majority on to cultural boards.
Alongside fellow panel members Thanh Sinden from Museum Detox and Ri Chakraborty,trustee from Norwich University of the Arts, we discussed the conditions and processes needed to address effective representation, equity of power and voice for boards to be more culturally and racially diverse. There was much discussion and views about how to create these environments so that new voices can be heard at board level.
The overwhelming consensus from attendees was that different aspects of governance including recruitment, change and succession planning and inclusivity had to remain on the agenda. On reflection, there were so many good models on how organisations had succeeded in tackling their governance issues, we could have spent at least 2 days discussing it!
This makes me even more pleased to announce that Trustees Unlimited will be working with Arts Council England to design the new ‘Transforming Governance’ development programme with the aim to strengthen governance throughout the arts and cultural sector.