Hilary Carty is one of the most prominent voices in cultural leadership in UK and abroad. Beth Ponte, a Brazilian arts manager, had a chance to visit her in her office at Clore Leadership, located at Somerset House in London, for an interview on be half of Arts Management Network and she talked with great clarity about changes in cultural leadership, the relationship between governance and diversity as well as trends in leadership training for the cultural sector.
Beth Ponte: You began your career as a cultural leader back in the 90´s and had leadership positions in different organisations over the years. In your perspective, how has cultural leadership changed from then to now?
Hilary Carty: I think some things stayed the same. We were and still are managing quite a lot of complexity, in terms of projects and resources, and we are doing this cross culturally. Cultural leadership and cultural management are a complex arrangement of stakeholders, resources, visions, people management and project management. So those things are very much the same because we're dealing with the business of culture. I think what has changed are things like the pace at which we're working.
I remember back at the start of my career you could genuinely craft a five-year plan, having maybe to update it moderately after three years. In our current time it is increasingly difficult. In terms of actual planning, you must keep so much of your five or more-year vision loosely framed to be more flexible and adaptive. Actually, at the end of five years your plan could bear only a mild resemblance to what it started out as. Cultural leaders have nowadays this sense of being more adaptive, having to be responsive to external changes. You can sometimes feel that you are less in control of your environment. There's certainly less that you can predict and control.
Could you tell us more about the future projects of Clore Leadership?
The two years since I started working at Clore Leadership have gone by very quickly and it's been a terrific time. I've had the joy of working with two cohorts of Clore fellows and four cohorts of Clore leaders who did our intensive courses. If you enjoy people development this is a great space to be because we provide excellent programs and we see the benefit as cultural leaders develop. I am very keen to hold on to the very best of what we've learned over the last 15 years, but also cast forward in terms of our current and future context. It's really critical to constantly look outside of your peripheral vision. I want to ensure that Clore Leadership is aware of what's on the horizon and is interacting with it.