SVA Director: Application Pack
Why you should want to work with us Stour Valley Arts has a 20 year legacy of visual arts practice in Kent, defined by its unique situation, its approach to curating and commissioning and its concern with the relationships between the arts and the environment. As such the trust maintains a reputation for delivering excellence and innovation both in the arts and in education. We have much to celebrate whilst now seeking a Director with the vision to realise and grow the ambitions of the organisation. Our approach challenges perceptions and bridges divides concerning the arts and the environment. We achieve this through meaningful and dynamic partnerships with artists, environmentalists, educationalists, our partners and funding agencies. SVA is an NPO with funding secured until 2015. It has recently completed major improvements to its HR and financial management systems. You will have access to a living1500-acre woodland gallery high up in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) but close to the Ashford growth area, the support of an ever increasing ‘Friends of’ group and the benefit of the skills, energy and expertise of staff, partners and trustees. What others think of us Nick Minns’ blog ‘Writing About Dance 2012’ reviewing ‘Marks Measures Maps and Mind’: “I’ve seen some impressive theatres, but King’s Wood near Challock in Kent beats them all for size, natural beauty and lighting. I wonder what the forest was thinking as it observed the performance: small, animated figures rushing amongst the trees and gesturing, viewed by two groups of figures following at a different rate, but not doing anything: not feeding, not fighting, not sheltering, not growing. Scripted, ordered, unfathomable. Let’s see that again.” Score for a Hole in the Ground- The Guardian: 'The sounds.....blended with the forest until the ear discerns something out of place and the eye resolves the horn as the sonic source. Weather changes the music. In a torrential downpour it makes a crescendo, while the summer drought rendered it silent. It becomes one with the climatic forces of the forest, relying purely on gravity, water & wind for its energy'. Ellie, Year 4, Challock School “I really liked making the sculptures because it’s a challenge and I like a challenge once in a while. I also liked catching the grasshoppers because when they push off it tickles”
What we are looking for 1. Someone with a serious interest in arts and the environment 2. Someone with demonstrable ambition, drive, enthusiasm, a doer 3. Someone with experience in management skills, project management and communication across sectors 4. Someone who will lead and champion SVA 5. Someone with vision and passion who really wants to maintain and grow SVA’s long earned reputation in the arts
Stour Valley Art’s History Stour Valley Arts (SVA) is an independent arts organisation, established in 1994. Focused on King’s Wood, in Challock (Kent), a 1,500-acre forest owned and managed by the Forestry Commission in an AONB, it has also recently opened a new gallery in Ashford town centre. Internationally recognised artists, such as Hamish Fulton, Chris Drury, Jem Finer, Emily Richardson, Susan Derges and London Fieldworks were invited to undertake commissions in response to King’s Wood in a variety of media, either realised within the forest or exhibited in galleries and other off-site locations. We encourage artist and visitor reflection on the site in terms of its ecology, geology, archaeology and history. Recent high profile commissions include Jem Finer’s Score for a Hole in the Ground, composer Matthew King’s King’s Wood Symphony and Marks Measures Maps and Mind as part of Relay and the Cultural Olympiad. Our Australian Exchange programme, working with Freemantle Arts Centre WA and Heide Museum of Modern Art, Victoria, has introduced Australian artists to this very different environment and enabled UK artists to visit Australia on a two month residency.
In recognition of the quality of our programme and contribution to the region, Stour Valley Arts has been awarded Arts Council NPO status and an uplift in its annual grant for three years from April 2012. The programme is realised through additional project funds and SVA has previously received support from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, The Henry Moore Foundation, Chances4Change, Screen South, AHRC, engage, PRS Foundation, ArtsVic, ArtsWA and a range of other sources.
Our interventions in King’s Wood are intentionally low-impact, and indeed some of our commissions leave no trace at all in the forest from which their inspiration has been drawn. Films, paintings, sound and video works have been screened and exhibited elsewhere, or the work may survive only in the form of a publication. SVA publishes artists’ books and catalogues which promote contemporary art in the natural environment and serve as an outcome and permanent record of its commissions. SVA’s education programme is equally unique in its approach to connecting the forest with the public and aims to complement our curatorial approach by working with artists’ new commissions and community groups over time and within the forest. SVA has established a strong reputation as a provider of research-based learning activity and resources; in securing significant funding; and in developing high calibre and high profile collaborations. This aspect of our work seeks to expand public awareness and participation in our artistic programme, but through actual experiences it also encourages – across as diverse a range of audiences as possible – awareness through art of the forest environment itself and its changing conditions. In June 2011 we launched a new temporary visual arts space in the heart of Ashford, which houses a gallery and offices. The new venue offers the opportunity to develop a programme of exhibitions and activities in tandem with the ongoing commissions at King’s Wood and liberates the forest office for the use of education and artists. Stour Valley Arts is a company limited by guarantee and a charitable trust, governed by a voluntary Board of Trustees.There is a small team of four staff who work part-time: Director, Head of Education, Assistant Curator, Administrator and a freelance bookkeeper plus additional interns and volunteers.
For further information on Stour Valley Arts’ history and recent commissions please see www.stourvalleyarts.org.uk
DIRECTOR The Role
The Director is responsible for leading and developing Stour Valley Arts in all aspects of its work including artistic vision and programme, business management and income generation, strategic planning and the development of the organisation’s profile. S/he will lead and manage staff and freelance contractors to ensure the delivery of the artistic vision through the realisation of a wide-ranging artistic programme. The Director will also lead the organisation in its liaison with stakeholders, funders, sponsors, donors and the media, maintaining existing partnerships and forging new ones, and playing a central role in regional planning for the visual arts. The Director will occupy a senior position in the visual arts sector, operating and advocating for Stour Valley Arts within a broad network of artists, individuals, trusts and organisations, regionally and nationally, creating and maximising opportunities for new work and collaboration. Place of employment: Line managed by: Line manager to: Stour Valley Arts’ Office, Ashford and King’s Wood Chair of the Board of Trustees Head of Education and Learning, Assistant Curator, Administrator and freelance staff (including book keeper).
The key responsibilities and duties of the Director are: • • • • Be responsible for the artistic vision, programme and operational model for SVA, revising and monitoring the business plan (2012 – 15) in collaboration with staff, partners and the Board. Maintaining working relationships with existing partners and fostering new collaborations. Take overall financial and managerial responsibility for Stour Valley Arts, with key responsibility to grow and strengthen the organisation. Support the work of the Board of Trustees.
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Lead development of Marketing and Audience Development Policy and Strategy, including setting audience and marketing targets and overseeing overall branding of SVA. Oversee all press and publicity communications including provision of informed written material for website, publicity materials, press releases etc. Manage and monitor workload and capacity of staff, assess structure of organisation and work with Chair of board in recruiting to and developing board. Oversee development and delivery of Education Policy and Strategy in liaison with the Head of Education and Learning. Implement, manage and maintain Equality and Diversity Policy, and Equality Action Plan. Ensure that all legal obligations and health and safety requirements are met in relation to SVA’s charitable purpose. Develop and maintain close relationships with key stakeholders including ACE, Ashford Borough Council, Kent County Council and Forestry Commission. Represent the organisation within the visual arts sectors, regionally, nationally and internationally.
Essential Qualifications: Relevant undergraduate qualification. Experience: At least 5 yrs senior experience of strategic development of an arts organisation alongside developing artistic vision and programme. At least 3 yrs experience of setting artistic vision, commissioning artists, curating and installing exhibitions. To have had primary financial responsibility for an organisation – with significant experience of systems development, financial planning, monitoring and management, including developing and implementing business plans. A proven track record of fundraising from public funds, charitable trusts, foundations, partners and individuals, and establishing strategic alliances. Experience of both developing strategies/policies and implementing them successfully. Significant experience in a relevant senior post of leading and managing staff and freelance contractors including staff appraisal and development. At least 3 yrs experience of working with a Board of Directors. Experience of arts marketing, audience development and media relations. Desirable Professional management/leadership qualification. Experience of managing artist’s commissions including site specific commissions. Management experience of a public venue.
Experience of publishing and catalogue production. Understanding of current best practice in education and learning.
Skills, Knowledge and other qualities In-depth knowledge and understanding of contemporary visual art, with particular reference to intersections between contemporary art and environmental concerns. Established regional and national networks and contacts related to SVA core business. Ability to interpret and communicate financial information. A basic understanding of Company and Charity Law. Creative and entrepreneurial – ability to respond appropriately to external and internal funding pressures and opportunities. Excellent decision making skills taking into account both internal and external contexts. Excellent communication and public presentation skills – written, numeric and verbal – including the ability to present arguments and ideas persuasively to a none arts audience to gain support and influence situations. Ability to be both self-directed and a team player. Understanding of and commitment to diversity and equality agendas. Competent using a range of standard office IT packages.
PAY AND CONDITIONS
Salary The post of Director is four days/week. Rate of pay is £35,000 - £45,000 pro rata to be paid monthly in arrears. Probation and Trial Period 6 months Holidays 25 days leave per annum (20 days pro rata on four days a week). Working Hours 7.24 hours per day. The responsibilities of the post include some evening and weekend engagements for which time off in lieu must be taken within a month. Base(s) Stour Valley Arts Gallery, Elwick Road, Ashford and King’s Wood Forest Office, Buck Street, Challock, Kent.
HOW TO APPLY:
If you wish to apply for the post of DIRECTOR, STOUR VALLEY ARTS, please email the following information which will be treated in strict confidence: • • A covering letter expressing your interest in the role and your relevant experience, paying particular attention to the person specification (maximum two sides of A4). A short statement (maximum three sides of A4) outlining: - Your understanding of the core principles and values of Stour Valley Arts - Your vision, both artistic and practical, for the development of Stour Valley Arts over the next 5 years. A copy of your current CV. Contact details of two referees one of whom should be your current or most recent employer. We will not contact your referees until after first interview. (OPTIONAL) A completed Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form.
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Applications should be sent by email for the attention of Amanda Thesiger to email@example.com. Please indicate clearly in the subject line of your email the post you are applying for. You will be sent a email confirming receipt of your application within 3 days of application. Deadline for applications: Interview dates: 5pm on Friday 12th October 2012 Friday 26th October
STOUR VALLEY ARTS EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES MONITORING FORM
Stour Valley Arts is committed to providing diversity and equality of opportunity through all aspects of its work. As part of this process, we would greatly appreciate your help and ask you to fill in the Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form below and return it with your application. This is entirely voluntary and any information supplied will remain anonymous. The information will not be used in conjunction with your application. Ethnicity: How would you best describe your race or ethnic identity? White • British • Irish • Any other White Background Black or Black British • Caribbean • African • Any other Black Background Asian or Asian British • Indian • Pakistani • Bangladeshi • Any other Asian background Chinese Mixed/dual heritage • White and Black Caribbean • White and Black African • White and Asian • Any other mixed background Any other group/background ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___
Gender: Male: ___ Disability: Do you consider yourself to be disabled? Yes: ___ No: ___ Female: ___
If yes, what is the nature of your disability? __________________________________________ Age: 16-24___ 25-34 ___ 35-44 ___ 45-54 ___ 55-64 ___
Nationality: UK Citizen __________
Please specify __________________________________________
Thank you for your help in completing this questionnaire. Please email your completed form to firstname.lastname@example.org when you submit your application.