Please note: Some of the content on this page was published prior to the launch of Creative Australia and references the Australia Council. Read more.

Creative Leadership Program

A new professional development program supporting  35  artists and  creative  workers to create transformative change.

Are you making change through your arts practice, collective, organisation or community? Do you want to collaborate with others to develop skills, knowledge and capacity to practice leadership?

The Creative Leadership Program is a new 18 month professional development program supporting artists and creative workers with at least five years experience from any career stage. This program brings diverse forms of arts and cultural leadership together to create transformative change in our complex world.

Across the program, you will engage in-person and online in mentoring, training, workshops, peer-to-peer coaching and conversations. You will spend time on Country learning from First Nations Elders, connect with artists, be guided by experienced facilitators and hear from speakers working across and beyond arts and cultural work.

The program includes:

  • $7,000 grant for self-directed professional development
  • 2 in-person multi-day workshops in a regional location
  • 12 online peer-to-peer coaching sessions
  • 3 online keynote conversations
  • optional attendance at a networking event in your region.

You must be available for all in-person and online program activities to be eligible to apply. Find out more under Dates below.

You will focus your exploration of leadership practices through one of three leadership themes:

  • Inspiring climate action
  • Transforming how we work
  • Creating shared value

Find out more under Leadership Themes below.

With a diverse group of participants from across different art forms and career stages you will be part of a program that prioritises wellbeing, access and cultural safety in creative environments. Together you will exchange expertise, explore new perspectives, spark ideas and create lasting networks.

Creative Australia is committed to increasing the diversity of leadership in our sector and will prioritise applications from First Nations people and people who are d/Deaf or disabled in the 2024–25 program.

We will provide customised access and inclusion support. Find out more under Access and Inclusion below.

There is no program fee and there is a range of support available. Find out more under Costs and Financial Support below.

If you have any questions you can find a time to chat with Adelaide or Emerald from the Leadership Program team via our online booking portal or send an email to leadershipprograms@creative.gov.au.

You can also view our webinar, or join one of our live Question and Answer sessions. Find out more under Information Sessions below.

Easy English

Easy English uses text and images to share information simply for people who find it hard to read English. Download the Easy English Guide in PDF or Word (text only).

This opportunity is only open to:

  • individuals
  • Australian citizens or Australian permanent residents
  • practising artists or creative workers with a minimum of 5 years experience in the arts and cultural sector
  • applicants primarily working in First Nations Arts and Culture, Community Arts and Cultural Development, Emerging and Experimental Arts, Multi-Arts, Music, Dance, Theatre, Visual Arts and Literature and the intersections of these artforms.

You cannot apply if:

  • you received a grant from Creative Australia in the past and that grant has not been satisfactorily acquitted
  • you owe money to Creative Australia
  • you are a group or an organisation
  • you work primarily in film, fashion, graphic design, screen, gaming or architecture sectors
  • you are under 18
  • you participated in the Future Leaders or Arts Leaders programs that took place in or after 2019.

You can only submit one application.

Creative Australia is committed to increasing the diversity of leadership in our sector.  

Applications from First Nations people and people who are d/Deaf or disabled will be prioritised for the 2024–25 program. This aligns with our strategic goals of increasing the representation of First Nations people and people who are d/Deaf or disabled in our leadership programs.  

We provide customised access and inclusion support for First Nations, d/Deaf and disabled participants in our programs.  

We also continue to strongly encourage applications from younger people, older people, as well as people who identify as culturally and linguistically diverse, LGBTQIA+, and people based in regional and remote Australia. We also acknowledge that identity is intersectional and encourage people at intersections of these identities to apply. 

You can read more about how we assess applications under Assessment below. 

We will work closely with you to understand your access needs and create an access plan for the program if required. This can include things like:

  • Auslan interpretation
  • captioning
  • having a support person and/or carer attend the program with you, and
  • travel and accommodation support for you and/or your support person or carer.

We can also provide support for childcare, cultural practices, internet access, financial and/or learning access needs.

If you are a parent or carer, we can discuss support to enable you to attend the program such as attending in-person events with your family or making arrangements for childcare.

We take a person-centred approach that strives to achieve an accessible, inclusive, culturally safe and trauma-informed environment for everyone.  

Please contact us if you would like to discuss the support available. Email Adelaide and Emerald from the Leadership Programs team via leadershipprogram@creative.gov.au or you can find a time to chat via our online booking portal.

If you need help to speak or listen use the National Relay Service.

 

$7,000 grant: to support your professional development and exploration of your chosen leadership theme. See Leadership Themes and “How can I use the $7000 grant” in our FAQs for more information.  

Online program induction: runs for 3 hours, online, with screen breaks. Meet your fellow program participants and the Program Facilitator. Learn more about how to prepare for the program, what to expect and how to get the most from this opportunity.  

In person workshops  
  • Leadership and Wellbeing Workshop: runs for 3 days, in-person in a regional location. Connect with your fellow participants, the facilitator and special guests. Spend time connecting to Country, share meals, learn about diverse leadership practices and creating shared wellbeing. Start to set your goals for the program.  
  • Future Focused Workshop: runs for 4 days, in person in a regional location. Ahead of this workshop you will re-connect online with fellow participants to explore your chosen leadership theme. Then, meet in-person in three groups aligned with your leadership themes to develop shared solutions and approaches. Take your learnings back into your practice, professional context and networks. Reflect on your leadership journey. 

Online keynote conversations: 3 events, each 3 hours, online with frequent breaks. Learn from engaging and provocative speakers about key issues in leadership practice. Share your reflections and perspectives with your fellow participants.  

Online peer-to-peer coaching: 12 sessions, each 1.5 hours, across 2 blocks. Connect in small groups of 5 to 6, using the Creating Out Loud framework. Share and discuss personal and professional opportunities and challenges in leadership. Sessions will be facilitated by alumni of Creative Australia’s Leadership Programs.  

In-person leadership networking event: an optional in-person event held in a host city in your broad geographic region. A chance to broaden your networks with Leadership Program Alumni and hear from guest speakers.  

Online program induction 1–3pm AEST, Wednesday 17 July 2024 online
Leadership and Wellbeing Workshop Wednesday 28–Saturday 31 August 2024  in-person
Keynote conversation #1 1–4pm AEST, Wednesday 18 September 2024 online
Weekly peer-to-peer coaching sessions (block 1) Monday 23 September–Monday 28 October 2024 (six sessions, 1.5 hours each) online
Keynote conversation #2 1–4pm AEDT: Wednesday 26 February 2025 online
(optional) Leadership Networking event February and March 2025, dates to be advised in-person
Weekly peer-to-peer coaching sessions (block 2) Monday 3 March–Monday 8 April 2025 (six sessions, 1.5 hours each) online
Keynote conversation #3 1–4pm AEST, Wednesday 9 July 2025 online
Fortnightly Future Focused Workshop preparation sessions Monday 14 July–Monday 8 September 2025 online
Future Focused Workshop: In-person Tuesday 16 September–Saturday 20 September 2025 in-person

Please note that the exact times and dates for the weekly peer-to-peer coaching sessions and the Future Focused Workshop preparation sessions will be agreed between you and the other participants in your small group.

In this program we want to explore leadership as a practice dedicated to creating positive change.

We understand that leadership can be practiced in many different ways and can mean different things to different people. We are open to diverse ideas about what leadership is. We are particularly interested in leadership that can be collective, collaborative, facilitative and that distributes power.

When you practice leadership, you behave in line with your values. You draw on your resources, experience, knowledge and skills to act ethically and create change. Sometimes you do this on your own and sometimes with others. It might happen in different parts of your arts practice, with organisations you work in or with, or audiences and communities you are connected to. Your leadership practice might be quiet, not always visible from the outside, or you might be very vocal and public in your advocacy.

You may find the word ‘leadership’ challenging or uncomfortable. We acknowledge that for some people, this word has negative associations with control and feels lonely. We will explore this in the program and make space for other ways to describe and enact leadership practices.

The program will include opportunities for you to explore a broad range of issues and questions about leadership practices, as well as your specific areas of interest. We will also invite you to extend and focus your leadership practice by choosing and exploring one of three leadership themes.  

The three leadership themes to choose from are: 

  • Inspiring climate action 

Explore and critique the systems creating the climate crisis. Engage with climate justice and strategies for sustainability. Collaborate to create actions that respond to the complexity of the climate crisis for the arts and culture sector.   

  • Transforming how we work 

Imagine new ways of working together in arts and culture. Consider collective and distributed leadership as models of systems change. Explore business model innovation and how we are responding to digital transformation and disruption.  

  • Creating shared value 

Investigate powerful ways to advocate for the value of arts and culture. Craft compelling pitches for the role arts and culture plays in sustainable economies and healthy equitable communities.

We will ask you to spend some of your $7,000 grant on learning connected to your chosen leadership theme. We can assist you with suggestions on training, conferences and mentoring opportunities connected with your chosen leadership theme.

In the 2 months before the Future Focused Workshop you will attend fortnightly, online exchange sessions with your peers and guest speakers on your chosen leadership theme. At the Future Focused Workshop (in September 2025) you will explore your chosen leadership theme with a smaller group of your peers (10-12 people) and develop ways to influence and co-create frameworks for action.

You should have a strong interest in and commitment to exploring the leadership theme you choose. You do not have to have experience creating or working on projects in this area. Select a leadership theme that you feel inspired by, where you want to influence change and future directions.

The leadership themes are broad and can include a very diverse range of ideas, challenges and opportunities for making change. In your application you will have an opportunity to tell us what aspect of the leadership theme is interesting to you.

Your choice of leadership theme will not affect how competitive your application is. However, we will aim to ensure that there are equal groups for each theme (approx. 10-12 people each).

Information Sessions and videos

Program introduction 

A webinar about the program and how you can apply will be available soon. The webinar will be Auslan interpreted and have closed captions.

Auslan introduction 

We welcome people who use Auslan in our programs and will work closely with you to ensure you have access to your preferred interpreters. You can view our Auslan introduction to the program below.

Question and answer sessions 

We will host two question and answer sessions where you can anonymously submit questions about the program, and we will answer them live. 

These sessions will be Auslan interpreted and live captioned. A recording of each session will be posted here after the event.  

Information session for d/Deaf or disabled people 

We are working with Accessible Arts NSW to co-host an information session about this program. In this session we will explore diverse leadership practices and how you can prepare an application for the program.  

We will shortly provide details about other information sessions for d/Deaf and disabled people here.


There is no program fee.

We will ask you to arrange and pay for your own travel to and from the in-person workshops. This cost will vary depending on where you are travelling from. See Financial Support to find out about the support available for travel.

All other program expenses will be covered by Creative Australia. This includes accommodation, food, ground-transport to and from in-person workshop locations.

We can offer support payments to assist artists and creative workers who are un-waged or under employed. This payment is designed to enable more equitable participation for those without a regular, reliable income including independent artists and creative workers.

The payment is $2,000 ex GST and will be paid in two equal instalments at the start of the program (June 2024) and in the middle of the program (March 2025). If you need this payment in different instalments so it does not affect other payments or benefits you receive, we can discuss this with you. 

We ask you to request this support payment in your application. Requesting this support payment will not affect how competitive your application is.

If you face barriers to covering the full cost associated with travel to attend the in-person program activities we can provide support. This can include if you are un-waged, under employed or low income.

We will ask you to tell us if you think you will need support for travel costs in your application. Requesting support for travel costs will not affect how competitive your application is.

If you are accepted into the program, we will work with you to determine the support you need.

Applications will be reviewed by Creative Australia staff and industry advisors. Your application will be assessed based on how well it addresses the selection criteria below, and in line with Creative Australia’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

The selection criteria are:

  1. Timeliness and relevance of the program to the applicant’s leadership development.
  2. Motivated and respectful approach to personal and collaborative learning.
  3. Commitment to creating positive change in the Australian arts and culture sector.

In the application form we ask you some questions to help you respond to these criteria. You should also make sure what you write in your application responds to these criteria.

Applications from First Nations people and people who are d/Deaf or disabled will be prioritised for the 2024-25 program. We will also prioritise applications from individuals who have not yet participated in a Creative Australia (or Australia Council) leadership program.

We also continue to strongly encourage applications from younger people, older people, as well as people who identify as culturally and linguistically diverse people, LGBTQIA+, and people based in regional and remote Australia. We also acknowledge that identity is intersectional and encourage people at intersections of these identifies to apply. 

In our selection process we will also ensure that there is equitable representation of: 

  • people based in metro, regional and remote areas 
  • people at different career stages 
  • people working in different artforms. 

The total intake for the 2024-25 program will be 35 individuals. 

Click on the ‘Apply Now’ button at the top of this page to go to Fluxx, our system for managing applications.

You will need an account to use Fluxx. It can take up to two business days for a new account to be approved. If you have an account already you can log in.

Select ‘Apply for a Grant’ from the left panel menu. From the list of opportunities select ‘Creative Leadership Program’.

The application form will require you to fill in some of your details, select from some options, respond to questions and submit support material.

You will need to respond to the following questions:

  1. Introduce yourself and tell us how you practice leadership
  2. Why do you want to participate in this program and why now?
  3. Tell us about a time you worked together with others to create change
  4. What leadership theme have you chosen?
  5. Tell us what interests you about this leadership theme and how it relates to your leadership practice.

We encourage you to submit a video to answer Question 1. You may submit a link to a video of up to four minutes. You can submit a video in Auslan. Please upload your video under the support material section of the application form.

In the application form you can request a support payment and tell us if you think you will need support with travel costs.

Support material

  • A CV (up to two pages) illustrating your creative and/or professional experience
  • A link (URL) to a video (up to four minutes) to answer Question 1 (optional).

Yes. All applicants based in Australia must have an active Australian Business Number (ABN). The name of the applicant must match the name of the ABN and the name of the bank account we pay the grant into. There are no exceptions to this rule.  

If you cannot provide an ABN and bank account that are in the same name as the applicant, you will need to nominate an administrator for your grant. You can read more about what this involves on Creative Australia’s Administered Grants page.

Please contact Adelaide and Emerald from the Leadership Program team via leadershipprogram@creative.gov.au if:  

  • you would like these guidelines in another format
  • you want to submit your application in a different format including video, audio, Auslan or other form. You can also read more about accessible application formats on our Accessibility
  • you want to submit your application in a language other than English. You can also read more on our Languages Other Than English.

We will not assess the quality of your chosen format, just what you tell us.

We are available to assist you in understanding the program, application requirements and submitting your application. We do not review application drafts.

Adelaide and Emerald from the Leadership Program team can assist over email leadershipprogram@creative.gov.au or you can find a time to chat via our online booking portal. 

If you need help to speak or listen, please use the National Relay Service.

Additional support with your application can be discussed where needed. Where the additional support required is beyond the scope of what our staff can provide, we may recommend speaking to an appropriate organisation for further assistance.

Frequently asked questions

This program is for artists and creative workers practicing leadership who:

  • are open to diverse approaches to leadership
  • are ready to explore key opportunities and challenges facing the arts and cultural sector
  • are able to commit to self-directed and collaborative learning, reflection and problem solving with a diverse group of peers
  • can actively take shared responsibility to co-create an environment of anti-racism, inclusion and cultural safety
    aspire to develop their skills, knowledge and capability to make change.

You might be ready for this program if you meet the eligibility criteria and:

  • you are in the early stages of your leadership practices – you don’t need to be an expert, we’re interested in your strengths, aspirations and commitment
  • you have lots of leadership experience but are looking to extend your practice, address complex challenges and cultivate new networks
  • you are living and working across Australia in regional or remote locations – we value the expertise and experiences of artists and creative workers living outside metropolitan areas.
  • you are working at the intersection of eligible art forms (see the section ‘Eligibility’), and academia, gaming, fashion or graphic design. You cannot be working primarily in these industries.

A group of 35 artists and creative workers from a variety of locations, artforms, career stages and lived experiences. It will include independent artists and creative workers, people working in organisations and people engaged in community and cultural practices.

We support practising artists or creative workers. While you may not regularly earn income from your practice, you must be identified and recognised by your peers as someone who makes or practises art or contributes as a creative worker. This may include cultural practitioners, editors, producers, curators, lighting and sound designers, and arts managers.

Participants must have a minimum of five years of experience in the arts and cultural sector. This can include working in both paid or unpaid roles, independently, with your community or within organisations.

If you have the minimum five years of experience, the program is for participants at all career stages. This includes participants who might describe themselves as early career, mid-career or established.

Please contact us if you are not sure if you have the required minimum experience.

We welcome applications from artists and creative workers working in commercial parts of the sector including but not limited to music, musicals, publishing, commercial visual arts and commercial dance.

We expect that you:

  • attend all the program activities or let us know if you’re prevented from attending due to urgent or unexpected matters
  • commit yourself to exploring and developing your leadership practices
  • demonstrate respect and reciprocity with everyone involved in the program
  • are open to new ideas, perspectives or opinions that are different from your own
  • share your learning, reflections and plans for change with your organisations, collectives, communities and collaborators
  • tell us if you need support or guidance
    provide constructive feedback and reflections on your experience to help us create the best possible program
  • complete a short formal acquittal report at the conclusion of the program.

The program will run for 18 months from July 2024–December 2025. You must be available for all compulsory program dates. See Dates above for more information.

Yes. You must be available for all program activities across the 18-months to be eligible to apply.

The peer-to-peer coaching sessions will happen in small groups across the date periods noted above. These groups will be curated by Creative Australia. The exact day and time of the peer-to-peer learning sessions will be set to suit each group’s availability.

The Leadership Networking event is optional and you do not need to be available for this to be eligible.

The program will be delivered both in-person and online. The two in-person workshops will take place in the same regional location. The online activities will take place on web conferencing platforms like Zoom.

We will work closely with you to support your access to physical and digital spaces we use during the program. Find out more in Costs and Financial Support 

The in-person workshops will be an opportunity for all participants to meet for learning, peer exchange, and conversation. The workshops will be guided by our Program Facilitator, specialist workshop facilitators, First Nations Elders, community leaders and guest speakers.

There will be two in-person workshops in the program:

  • Wellbeing and Leadership Workshop (28-31 August 2024)
  • Future Focused Workshop (16-20 September 2025)

The keynote conversations will include online presentations and opportunities for conversation with guest speakers on contemporary leadership from within the arts and cultural sector and beyond. These conversations will be curated and hosted by the Program Facilitator.

Peer-to-peer coaching creates a space where everyone is a teacher and everyone is a learner. You learn from each other’s experience, perspectives and ideas. In peer-to-peer coaching there is mutual respect, collaboration and creativity.

The model of peer-to-peer coaching we will be using is Creating Out Loud (COL). The model was developed by researchers at The University of Queensland in collaboration with arts organisations and national peak bodies. COL is designed specifically for the arts and culture sector. COL supports participants to expand their networks, rethink important issues and practices, and support one another through knowledge-sharing and goal-setting.

In this program you will meet with a group of 5 to 6 participants for 2 blocks of 6 weekly sessions (12 sessions total). We will allocate groups based on participants capacity to support each other to discuss professional challenges and opportunities openly and productively. Each peer-to-peer coaching session has a discussion guide. Each group will be facilitated by someone from our Leadership Program Alumni who has received training in facilitation of peer-to-peer coaching.

The program supports you to:

  • better understand how to practice leadership
  • experience new leadership styles and approaches
  • improve the skills you need to practice leadership like: communication, negotiation and critical thinking skills
  • forge new and long-lasting industry connections
  • explore what ethical change in the arts and culture sector looks like
  • share your learning and reflections with peers, colleagues, collaborators and communities.

We will ask you to spend your grant on engaging a mentor, and on personalised training and development to help you reach your goals. This can include training, attending conferences and skills development.

You can also use some of the grant to cover costs of attending the activities such as travel and accommodation.

You cannot spend your grant on general research, developing new or existing artworks or international travel.

We do not need a plan for how you will spend your grant in your application. We will provide you with further detailed guidance on how to spend and acquit your grant once you are accepted into the program.

We encourage you to choose your own mentor or coach. It might be a senior leader or Elder in your community, an artist or cultural leader who inspires you, or someone outside the arts and cultural industries. We can provide you with advice and support to find a mentor. You will be responsible for paying your mentor or coach from your $7,000 grant.

Once you submit your application, we will send you an email acknowledging that we have received your application. 

You will be notified about the outcome of your application by email in early June 2024. If you are selected we will contact you to discuss your access and support needs. 

Additional information

The Program Facilitator will collaborate with Creative Australia to design and deliver the program. We will be announcing the facilitator in mid-March 2024.

Our Program Facilitator will support you and your fellow participants to creatively reflect on, develop and explore leadership practices. They will have strong experience creating inclusive, accessible, culturally safe environments for learning and development.

You will hear from and learn with a range of speakers, guests and workshop leaders from diverse lived experiences, backgrounds, art forms and career stages. We will respectfully connect with First Nations Elders on Country and exchange ideas with people from inside and outside the arts and cultural sector.

In past programs we have worked with respected arts and cultural leaders and expert facilitators including Wesley Enoch (Quandamooka), Veronica Pardo, Angharad Wynne-Jones, Polykala (Tom Henderson and Ananth Gopal) and Judith McLean.

Other guests who have been part of our programs include: Aunty Loretta Parsley (Yuin Walbunja), Uncle James Ingram (Wiradjuri), Kamarra Bell-Wykes (Jagera/Butchulla), Jade Kennedy (Yuin), Lucas Ilhein and Laura Fisher, Dr Gene Moyle, Chris Cheers and many more.

‘Though I had contemplated it earlier, the program experience affirmed that strong leadership fosters collaboration, not competition. It offers growth opportunities collectively and communally, rather than individually.’


‘Another unexpected outcome is how reaffirming the program has been to my artistic practice. In a sector where imposter syndrome is large and so are egos, this program really grounded me and allowed me to reflect on my practice and realise that I actually may be pretty good at what I do!’


‘To have come together with this exceptional group of humans, has restored some faith in the future of the arts sector in Australia. There was not one person I didn’t eat with, talk to or connect with – every person was an incredible leader in their respective fields and were kind, considerate and big thinkers. I loved meeting all of them… It was a very special experience and group of people. Finally, this program made me believe in myself as an arts leader in my own right.’


‘Having worked in relative isolation from the rest of Australia’s arts sector for most of my career, it was extremely valuable to spend significant time with my peers and learn more about their own practices. The experience has left me feeling connected to my networks like never before.’


‘My participation… transformed my life. It taught me how to lead with empathy, how to back myself and my visions, how to be adaptive, how to communicate with strength, how to recognise emerging leaders, how to ensure power is shared and distributed. Being able to mobilise through conversations, actions and sharing knowledges.’