Training and funding empowering women to be leaders in the arts

We’re inviting 16 women to take part in a paid leadership programme that includes work placements, mentoring and training.


Women Leaders South West is monitoring the situation regarding the national and international spread of Coronavirus and the impact this will have on the 9 partner organisations and the potential applicants.

We remain passionate about this programme and it will go ahead, but we are reviewing the timeline. We will be extending the application deadline and will publish new information soon.

If you have any questions or would like to find out more about the programme email

Women Leaders South West
Empowering Women of all Backgrounds to be Leaders in the Arts

Are you interested in the arts? Do you enjoy problem-solving or making things happen? We’re inviting 16 women to take part in a paid leadership programme that includes work placements, mentoring and training.

Training programme: June 2020 to December 2021
Living allowance/training bursary: £12,000
Application deadline: Monday 20 April 2020

The challenge

Women are under-represented at a leadership level across all art forms – in theatres, festivals, galleries, and museums. Racism, ableism, transphobia, homophobia, economic constraints and caring responsibilities also create barriers to career development and leadership opportunities. The Women Leaders South West programme aims to understand these barriers, develop tools to tackle them and remove some of the obstacles women face in becoming leaders in the arts.

The opportunity

We’re working with 8 other organisations across the South West to offer training and funding for women to take part in a leadership training programme.

Together, we’re looking for 16 women associates who we can support on their leadership journeys.

Photo of Kalkidan Legesse, founder of Sancho’s, at the Slow Fashion Show. Photographer: Emma Booth.

About you

The programme as a whole is looking for applicants who are:

  • Passionate about arts and culture
  • Over 21 years old
  • Based in the South West region (Bournemouth, Christchurch Poole, Plymouth, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth, Southampton, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Gloucestershire, BANES & Bristol)
  • Rooted in their local community
  • Interested in developing new skills

We are particularly interested in working with women from groups who are most underrepresented at leadership level in the cultural sector, including disabled women. At Strike A Light specifically, we are especially keen to hear from women based in Gloucester from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.

You do not need a higher education qualification, but do need to have at least two years’ work experience (this does not have to have been in the arts).

The full lowdown

For comprehensive details about what’s on offer and how the programme works, check out the full call-out pack. It’s available in a variety of formats:

Text versions

BSL version

BSL version of the Call Out Women Leaders South West Pack

Audio version

Audio version of the Call Out Women Leaders South West Pack


We’re also keeping a list of Frequently Asked Questions, which will be updated regularly throughout the process.

BSL version of Women Leaders South West project FAQs

Information Sessions


If you’d like to come and ask us questions in person we are running face to face information sessions in Gloucester.

  • Tuesday 24 March, 11am & 6:30pm
  • Tuesday 31 March, 11am & 6:30pm

St Mary de Crypt, Southgate Street, Gloucester, GL1 1TP

These will be an hour long informal session with tea and biscuits. There will be a short presentation about the programme followed by a Q&A and chat.

You can also get in touch with us directly if you have any questions or would just like an informal chat about the programme.

How to apply

You can make your own application or you can nominate someone else who you think would be a good fit for this programme.

You will also need to complete a very short and confidential monitoring form

For video and audio applications complete your personal information on the forms above and paste a link to your video or audio file.

For information these are the questions on the application form. If you need any assistance in completing the form get in touch.

The deadline for applications is Monday 20 April 2020.