Read / Listen / Lead

Read / Listen / Lead is a living resource page, developed as part of the Extend Leadership Programme, where we’ll be expanding the conversation about what leadership in the arts and cultural sectors can look like.


The Leadership Ethos: How What We Believe Can Inform Our Leadership Practices

When we acknowledge that the practice of leadership is not neutral—that it is not apolitical—we necessarily embrace that nonprofits (that is, the people who work and govern in them) are going to make different leadership choices depending on their values and their politics, whether consciously or not.

How Diversity Makes Us Smarter: Being around people who are different from us makes us more creative, more diligent and harder-working

They found that companies that prioritized innovation saw greater financial gains when women were part of the top leadership ranks. Racial diversity can deliver the same kinds of benefits. In a study conducted in 2003, Orlando Richard, a professor of management at the University of Texas at Dallas, and his colleagues surveyed executives at 177 national banks in the U.S., then put together a database comparing financial performance, racial diversity and the emphasis the bank presidents put on innovation. For innovation-focused banks, increases in racial diversity were clearly related to enhanced financial performance.

Believe in yourself, the rest will follow’: five trailblazing women you’ve never heard of

As a woman, working in this kind of environment, you have to be very tough and very strong. Be confident and believe in yourself, even if the world doesn’t, and the rest will follow.

Stress and anxiety: a user’s guide

A special series from The Guardian about understanding the impact of stress and anxiety on the body. Including tools to help you in a crisis, a guide to stress at every age, and tips on how successful people cope.

Women Who

A URL and IRL community for creative working women with downloadable toolkits, a podcast and details of upcoming events.


Harnessing your power

As a process, I myself have begun to focus in on each of the four key areas and it’s given me renewed energy as I push forward in my career and my overall journey to greater wellbeing. As well as giving me more focus, it has given me a new level of confidence in my own actions which has meant the confidence to take on new challenges, the confidence to say NO when I don’t believe something is right, and the confidence to take time when responding on something that I’m not sure about yet. I believe that this combination of confidence and self-awareness is a critical part of harnessing your power.

Tara Lopez, Creative Producer for The Spark Arts for Children and part of the cohort for Extend in 2017–18.


I am surrounded by so many creative, courageous, daring, trail blazing and audacious women who inspire me deeply. Some I have worked with closely, others I’ve barely met. Whilst I am working in the sheltered space of my home I am connected to world through social media. These women remind me of how important it is for us to lead the way in gender equality in the arts. I am so mindful of my privileged position as a white woman. Equality is such an easy word to say but is a value we have to live.

Frances Bossom is an artist, facilitator, educator, consultant and producer and part of the Extend 2018–19 cohort.

Rethinking Leadership

Today’s museums need to be brave and agile and their leaders need to be bold and flexible. They need to uphold their organisation’s values. Leaders need to be able to embrace change but also to anticipate it. They must create a vision of the future which motivates and engages staff and volunteers. To do this, leaders need support. They need time to reflect on their own practice and to be inspired by others.

A short blog post by Museums Galleries Scotland promoting their upcoming symposium, Rethinking Leadership, which aims to create a space for museum professionals to develop thinking around the type of leadership the sector needs.

Leadership matters

Today’s museum leaders know museums need to change to compete. The world moves too quickly for them not to respond. What does that mean?  Just like individuals, organizations need to be present, authentic members of their communities. Too many museums and heritage organizations confuse being open with being engaged. Opening the doors on weary exhibits or roped off period rooms barely captivates anyone on a first visit, much less a second or third. Healthy organizations adapt in order to move forward. Like creative individuals they experiment, reflect, and try again in a constant effort to connect.

Leadership Matters is an American blog by Anne Ackerson and Joan Baldwin reflecting on 21st Century museum leadership.


97% of the directors of the top 1000 grossing films over the past ten years are men. That means almost everything you’ve seen at the movies over the past ten years has been through the lens of a male director.

Ava Marie DuVernay is a leading American film director, producer and screenwriter. For her work in Selma, DuVernay was the first black female director to have her film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. DuVernay’s next film, A Wrinkle in Time, reportedly has a budget exceeding $100 million, making her the first black woman to direct a live-action film with a budget of that size.

DuVernay is a leader in her field; she’s a black woman from Compton who came to film late and her perspective and the worlds she makes look and feel very different to those made by the 97% of directors. Listen to it below.

BBC Radio 4 – Sweet Reason: Experts

Evan Davis presents a series in which he looks for reasonable ways to address the most divisive of issues. This episode concentrates on experts, evidence and proof in social science research.


Lessons from Software Leadership – Rich Daley

Slides from a presentation given at the June 2018 Extend Residential in Leeds. Instructions for use: a 2-dimensional presentation (goes up and down as well as left and right) but pressing space should always take you to the next slide. If you want to Dawn Cameron’s notes, just press “s” any time to open the notes viewer.


An animation commissioned by Cornwall Museums Partnership to document the experience of Arts Council England-supported Change Maker, Tehmina Goskar. It is based on 12 principles of leading change in museums that have been developed to share with colleagues, communities and stakeholders.

In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world and should be encouraged and celebrated.


Have you created or come across a resource that’s made you think differently about what leadership in the cultural learning sector can look like?

We’re aware that there’s a wealth of fantastic material out there that deserves to be added to this living resource page. If you’ve made or know of something that deserves to be on here get in touch with us on with the subject line as ‘Read / Listen / Lead’ or leave a comment below.