Associate Director - People Dancing

This is a unique opportunity for a highly skilled, connected and visionary individual to make a significant, positive impact on the diversity and landscape of community and participatory dance in the UK. We’re looking for an experienced, inspiring, passionate and engaging artistic leader, who is respected within the field, and who will bring creativity and innovative thinking in their approach to strategy, development and programming.
 
The role is offered for a fixed term of two years on a part-time, self-employed basis with a fixed fee of up to £45,000

People Dancing, formally The Foundation For Community Dance – the UK development organisation and membership body for community and participatory dance – seeks to appoint an Associate Director for a fixed term of two years. The Associate Director will work with the Executive Director and team of Producers and Managers on the leadership of the next phase of the organisation’s programme development and delivery, and forward planning.

The emphasis of this role is to be outward facing, ensuring that quality dance practice continues to sit at the heart of People Dancing’s work. This is an exciting and unique opportunity for a highly skilled, connected and visionary individual to make a significant, positive impact on the diversity and landscape of community and participatory dance in the UK, and to build upon the organisation’s capacity and reputation as an innovative, forward-thinking leader in the field.

This brief sets out what we aim to achieve for People Dancing through this Associate Director role over the next two years. As programme and priorities develop over time, and as new opportunities are revealed, the Board may wish to appoint subsequent and/or additional Associates to the team. This underpins the organisation’s commitment to flexible, responsive and scalable working across the organisation.

This is the second Associate Director appointment within the organisation, following the implementation of a new staffing structure in late 2013. The first year-long Associate Director post was held by Kate Castle throughout 2014.

 

Invitation to respond to the brief We invite responses to this brief, and actively encourage creative approaches to delivery that will enable People Dancing to achieve the overarching purposes and desired outcomes identified. If you believe you could bring something exceptional to the role we would love to hear from you. Terms are flexible: the role is not office-based, so location is not a barrier, and could be delivered in a number of ways to suit both People Dancing and the appointed individual.

It is envisaged – and indeed encouraged - that the Associate Director role could be combined with other creative practices and portfolios of work, including those of a practising artist. In terms of time commitment, work could be delivered evenly across each year or through more intensive periods punctuated with time away. Responses could include a proposal from one individual, a joint/collective proposal from two or more individuals, or something else entirely. If you feel some aspects of the brief might sit outside of your area of expertise, please don’t let this put you off. We are happy to consider organising the work in a different way and will accommodate this for the right person.

Who are we looking for? The person engaged to deliver this role will be an experienced, inspiring, passionate and engaging artistic leader, who is respected within the field. They will bring creativity and innovative thinking in their approach to strategy, development and programming. They will have the ability to inspire and gain the confidence of artists and organisations, as both the audience/target for the organisation’s work and as partners for its delivery. The Associate Director will be able to take a leadership role, operate effectively as part of a team and be equally confident working independently. The role requires a deep and sophisticated understanding of issues concerning community and participatory dance practice, practitioners, audiences, participants in the UK, and within a broader international context, particularly in respect of diversity and inclusion. To this end, the Associate Director will have a solid professional network and contacts.

What will the role involve? The overarching purposes of the role are to provide high-level artistic direction, expertise and knowledge both internally within the team and Board, and externally with partners, stakeholders and audiences. We have identified four priority programme areas and ‘deliverables’ as set below, which begin to reveal some of the potential routes to achieving these desired outcomes. These routes are not prescriptive and are open to interpretation and flexibility in responding to the brief.

Workforce development strategy This has been a ‘core’ area of the organisation’s work for 15 years. We have an established presence, and engage strategically with policy and national developments through programmes such as ArtWorks (a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Special Initiative). A dedicated 3 Producer manages our workforce development activities. The Board wishes to review and refresh programmes, and identify opportunities to ‘do’ differently and more effectively. The Associate Director is expected to contribute to: • Reviewing existing and planned programmes (2015 - 2018) across the organisation supporting workforce development and continuing professional development, and within this context input fresh thinking, ideas and provocations and identify areas for growth and development • Informing the direction of travel for People Dancing’s workforce development programmes to 2020, working with the Executive Director and Producers to crystallize, articulate and implement a strategy and supporting activities • Contributing to strategies and activities to grow employment opportunities for participatory dance artists and teachers • Contributing to fundraising and communication activities to support this work • Identifying partners and development of partnership commitment to support future plans.

Special Interest Networks As community and participatory dance has evolved, so have particular areas of practice and expertise. Through research and dialogue we have identified the need to better initiate and support networks, where a common interest around professional practice brings people together. An example is our commitment to support the Dance for Parkinson’s UK Network to develop. This model is a part of our workforce development strategy, and a key ambition of our National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) Funding from Arts Council England. The Associate Director is expected to contribute to: • Establishing, with support from the Producers and Executive Director, a small number of new UK-wide and international Networks. Firm priorities include: International, South Asian Dance, and Early Years. Others under discussion include Higher Education and Evaluation/Research • Identifying the purposes, impacts and benefits of these networks; and identifying and negotiating with partners, supporters and key players • Supporting fundraising and communications activities to support the Networks.

Big Dance Hub Network and Legacy People Dancing has, since 2011, led the development of a network of Big Dance Hubs across the UK, building on those already established in London – as regionally/locally organised groups of organisations working in a coordinated way to deliver Big Dance programmes. The final Big Dance Festival will be in July 2016. We wish to support the Hubs in 2016, developing them as a more effective distribution network for strategic dance programmes in and beyond 2016. The Associate Director, with the Executive Director and Producers, is expected to contribute to: • Reviewing Hub partners, and the national picture – including gaps – and identify strategies for growth beyond 2016 • Supporting Hubs to scale-up artistic plans for 2016, and engage with evaluation activities • Working up potential for the Hubs as peer learning networks for emerging and mid-career leaders • Supporting fundraising and communications activities to support this work.

National Alliance for Dance, Deaf and Disabled People In 2013 People Dancing formed a new alliance of artists and leaders as an ‘activist’ group to move forward the debate about Deaf and disabled people in dance. In 2015/16, it is planned that this alliance will merge with the steering group of the National Inclusive Dance Network (NIDN) – together creating a formidable coalition for change. The Associate Director is expected to contribute to: • High-level leadership and knowledge input from People Dancing to support the new alliance to become an effective advocacy group • Helping shape, with the Executive Director and Producers, compelling programme activities that contribute to the new alliance’s ambitions • Identifying and cultivating ambassadors; shaping and helping to implement campaigns • Supporting fundraising and communications activities to support this work.

How will the role work? The Associate Director will inhabit two organisational ‘spaces’ – senior leadership, and programme development/delivery. The role will involve close collaboration with the Executive Director, and will be supported by the team of Producers and Managers charged with delivery of activities. Whilst the Associate Director does not have any formal ‘line management’ responsibilities, the post-holder will play an important part supporting programme delivery staff through informal support, mentoring and dialogue. Recognising the senior nature of the role, there will be interaction and communication with, and reporting to, People Dancing’s Board. On a day-to-day basis, the Executive Director will manage the Associate Director’s contract. Together, these post-holders will build on the repositioning of the organisation following a ground-breaking international event held in November 2014, and a change of organisational name. As already stated, this role can be delivered flexibly and is not office based. The organisation already employs staff based away from the main office base, and successfully uses Skype, phone conference calls and other IT-based systems to support effective remote working. Desk space can be provided at People Dancing’s office in Leicester as required/preferred. The Associate Director is expected to attend monthly meetings of the programme team in person.

Partnership working with other organisations is central to how People Dancing operates. There are two well established working partnerships: ArtWorks Navigator, part of the current Paul Hamlyn Foundation Special Initiative, with organisations in literature, museums education, music and visual arts; and Big Dance, with the Greater London Authority and the Big Dance Hubs. We maintain on-going dialogue with Dance UK, Youth Dance England, The Association of Dance of the African Diaspora (ADAD) and the National Dance Teachers Association about areas of collaboration in the future. 6. Terms and fee The role is offered for 24 months, with the potential to extend and/or expand depending on available resources and changing opportunities. As a guide, we would expect engagement equivalent to at least 10 days per month, if work is to be delivered evenly across the year. Alternative scenarios might include more intensive periods of work, followed by time away from the organisation altogether.

A fixed fee of up to £45,000 (plus VAT if applicable) is offered for this work, plus reasonable travel and subsistence (including travel to office-based meetings etc.), on a contract for services (self-employed) basis. The contract is available to start immediately, and there will be a formal contract review at the 6-month point.

Making a response We would be delighted to discuss the role with you further. You can contact Dr Sara Houston, Chair (0795 766 8678 / Sara.Houston@roehampton.ac.uk) or Chris Stenton, Executive Director (07816 752330 / chris@communitydance.org.uk) to discuss the brief informally and confidentially. There are no expectations or obligations. If you are interested in pursuing this opportunity, we ask that you submit a short written response to the brief of no more than four sides of A4, outlining your potential approach to delivery and what you believe you bring to the role, together with a short CV. If we decide to take your proposal further, we will invite you to meet with a small panel to discuss your ideas and approach in more detail. We plan to do this on Thursday 19 March 2015, at People Dancing’s office in Leicester. Please indicate in your proposal if you are able/unable to attend a meeting on this date. Please send your submission addressed to Dr Sara Houston, Chair by email to emma@communitydance.org.uk (People Dancing’s General Manager) by noon on Monday 2 March 2015. 

Background information People Dancing: the foundation for community dance is the UK development organisation and membership body for community and participatory dance. We believe that dance can transform the lives of individuals and communities. Our vision is for a world where dance is part of everyone’s life, our mission to make engagement with dance important to individuals, communities and society. We believe that dance has the power to change lives and transform communities. By this, we mean ‘all dance, all dancing, and all dancers’. Our ambition is to get more people engaged with dance through promoting excellent dance practice. With over 2,300 members – reaching 4,500 dance professionals world-wide - we work collaboratively with the broader dance sector, artists and organisations that enable people to take part in dance. We support them to do what they do better - engaging with new audiences more effectively and reflectively. We will deliver through three inter-linked programmes: Developing Practice; Developing Participation and Membership Services. We will work collaboratively and through a dynamic approach to organisational development, enabling us to add value and acting as the ‘glue’ to help bind the sector together. People Dancing’s leadership of the community dance network provides a platform for exchange, critical debate and peer learning, exposure to diverse dance practices, new contacts, and expands professional horizons and professional identity. It is an invaluable resource for anyone working in community dance and creating opportunities for people to participate in dance. We act confidently as a driving force, providing leadership and holding the national vision and strategic overview for participatory dance. Our work is underpinned by guiding values that stem from a belief that everyone should have the opportunity to take part in dance in the way that’s right for them. These are: • Excellent access and access to excellence, participation and progression in dance of all kinds, for everyone we support and work with • Placing diversity and inclusion at the heart of what we do and why we do it • Commitment to equality of opportunity in employment and to all our activities • A belief that partnership and collaboration give strength and a voice for all involved • Supporting leadership in dance at every level while taking a clearly communicated leadership role ourselves • Open, accountable and transparent working practices.

Within this broader context, we believe that striving for excellence in participatory dance (our ‘artistic vision’): • Places people, their aspirations, rights and choices at its heart, and provides opportunities for those people and their communities to operate autonomously, creatively and artistically • Respects everyone’s right to access quality experiences in dance irrespective of where they live, their age, gender, sexuality, race, disability, educational background or economic circumstance • Contributes positively to people’s health and wellbeing, resilience and social relationships • Contributes positively to broader social, creative and learning agendas • Contributes to the development of dance as an artform and the creative development of professional dance artists • Is best achieved by highly skilled and professionally developed dance artists and practitioners.

Strategic Aims We have identified eight strategic aims, based on our values, for People Dancing until 2018: • Develop excellence, nurture talent and strengthen resilience in artistic practice, through providing information and inspiring professional development and other creative opportunities for artists, teachers and leaders working in participatory dance, including those who work with children and young people • Create opportunities for individuals and communities to experience dance in all its diversity • Act as a driving force within dance and community arts, taking a strategic overview of participation in dance and ensuring provision is networked and fit for purpose • Place inclusion, equality and diversity at the heart of all our work • Develop and sustain effective alliances and partnerships that help us deliver our ambitions • Ensure activities have national (UK-wide) and international presence and reach • Build digital capacity and innovation • Build organisational capacity and resilience, and generate additional resources for our work whilst remaining true to vision and values.  

Programmes and Activities Our Developing Practice programme currently includes our continuing professional development activities – an annual Summer School, short courses, and peer-networks; and publishing Animated magazine, an extensive website and unique online archive. We lead the UK-wide ArtWorks Navigator partnership, formed of national organisations working in literature, music, museum and galley education, visual arts and dance to share good practice, carry out research and advocate for the work. We also ‘house’ the Dance for Parkinson’s Network UK through a new strategic alliance. In 2010 we produced the first National Occupational Standards for Dance Leadership, in association with Creative and Cultural Skills, as a coherent framework for artist development whatever their cultural background or experience, and which continues to guide our work. People Dancing provide a wide range of Membership Services, including Disclosure & Barring Service Checks (formerly CRB Disclosures), information and support, and a range of insurance benefits for Professional members. We are currently in negotiation with partners to develop an improved, ‘cross-sector’ membership offer to better meet the needs of people working across all realms of dance practice. Our Developing Participation programme currently includes the Big Dance national programme – the annual Big Dance Pledge and the Biennial Big Dance Festival, delivered in partnership with the Greater London Authority and the Big Dance Hubs; publishing Participate – a new free-sheet about people who participate in dance; a rolling programme of short films and photography to support campaigns to get more people dancing; plus smaller targeted projects aiming to reach new audiences – including Deaf and disabled people, older people, and dance in health and wellbeing contexts. For more information visit: www.communitydance.org.uk

History and Impact The organisation, when first established in 1986, employed one part-time development post, had less than 30 members, a programme that focussed on providing services to members, and a turnover of under £20,000. The story is very different 29 years later: 2,300 members, 14 staff, a turnover of £800,000+ and an established position in the UK and internationally. The organisation is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) [confirmed to 2018], and has a solid track record in raising additional funds from grant giving organisations, whilst significantly increasing earned income streams. We have developed our profile as a leader nationally and internationally through strategic programmes about dance and Deaf and disabled people, professional practice/workforce development, and extensive on and offline publishing, information and support services. Our 9 work in developing and delivering the national programme for Big Dance in 2012 was a significant undertaking – and success – for both the organisation and the sector. A major international event (November 2014) brought together artists and leaders in participatory dance from across the world for the first time, and acted as a springboard for our refreshed vision and programme. People Dancing has firmly moved from being solely a ‘service’ organisation to one that balances these functions by taking a central role in leading the community dance sector and connecting it to wider issues and concerns and developing partnerships based on shared values. It has developed a role as an interface between its members / the broader sector and government and national funding body priorities, and vice versa, making influential and effective interventions across a broad range of issues and audiences During this time our user base has significantly increased and diversified to include professionals working in health, social inclusion, education and disability. People Dancing is the only organisation of its kind, and has a growing international membership. We have made the case for dance’s contribution to ‘instrumental’ aspirations whilst not diminishing the importance of the art of dance. Some positive impacts of our work include: • Artists and organisations better equipped to do their job, more informed and able to take advantage of opportunities through our support and publishing • Increased level of critical debate about quality in community dance practice • Diversification of the community/participatory dance sector workforce • Increased international profile of community dance in the UK • Translation of high-level policy and strategy issues to grass-roots practice; and of grassroots practice to policy and strategy-makers • Increased commitment by sector for work with Deaf and disabled people • Developing dialogue between dance and other sectors • Providing space, physical and virtual, for community artists to be more connected to each other • Catalysing and leading partnerships, networks and connections that have impact across the dance sector • A consistent increase in membership, year on year, reflective of our engagement with and support to individuals and organisations delivering an increased range and quantity of community and participatory engagement in dance.

Closing date: 
Monday 2nd March 2015
Salary/wage: 
up to £45,000
How to apply: 

We would be delighted to discuss the role with you further. You can contact Dr Sara Houston, Chair (0795 766 8678 / Sara.Houston@roehampton.ac.uk) or Chris Stenton, Executive Director (07816 752330 / chris@communitydance.org.uk) to discuss the brief informally and confidentially. There are no expectations or obligations. If you are interested in pursuing this opportunity, we ask that you submit a short written response to the brief of no more than four sides of A4, outlining your potential approach to delivery and what you believe you bring to the role, together with a short CV. If we decide to take your proposal further, we will invite you to meet with a small panel to discuss your ideas and approach in more detail. We plan to do this on Thursday 19 March 2015, at People Dancing’s office in Leicester. Please indicate in your proposal if you are able/unable to attend a meeting on this date. Please send your submission addressed to Dr Sara Houston, Chair by email to emma@communitydance.org.uk (People Dancing’s General Manager) by noon on Monday 2 March 2015.

Contact phone number: 
0795 766 8678
Opportunity type: 

How to apply

We would be delighted to discuss the role with you further. You can contact Dr Sara Houston, Chair (0795 766 8678 / Sara.Houston@roehampton.ac.uk) or Chris Stenton, Executive Director (07816 752330 / chris@communitydance.org.uk) to discuss the brief informally and confidentially. There are no expectations or obligations. If you are interested in pursuing this opportunity, we ask that you submit a short written response to the brief of no more than four sides of A4, outlining your potential approach to delivery and what you believe you bring to the role, together with a short CV. If we decide to take your proposal further, we will invite you to meet with a small panel to discuss your ideas and approach in more detail. We plan to do this on Thursday 19 March 2015, at People Dancing’s office in Leicester. Please indicate in your proposal if you are able/unable to attend a meeting on this date. Please send your submission addressed to Dr Sara Houston, Chair by email to emma@communitydance.org.uk (People Dancing’s General Manager) by noon on Monday 2 March 2015.

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