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Chair Arnolfini Arts

Join us in shaping the future of contemporary arts in Bristol and beyond. Apply to become the Chair of Arnolfini Arts and be part of an inspiring journey of creativity and cultural impact.

  • Location: Bristol (1 day per month)
  • Salary: Reasonable expenses paid
  • Closing date: 9 a.m. Wednesday 4th September

Be part of an exciting and visionary team as Chair of Arnolfini Arts. Guide one of Bristol’s leading contemporary arts centres into its next chapter. Lead strategic vision, foster community connections, and champion diverse artistic expression. Join them in shaping a vibrant cultural future.

Who we are

Arnolfini Arts is a prominent contemporary arts centre located in the heart of Bristol, UK. Founded in 1961 by Jeremy Rees, it has grown from a small gallery space into one of Europe’s leading centres for contemporary arts. Named after Jan van Eyck’s famous painting, “The Arnolfini Portrait,” the centre embodies a deep commitment to artistic innovation, community engagement, and cultural enrichment.

Arnolfini Arts is a beacon of contemporary culture, offering a dynamic and inclusive space for artistic exploration and public engagement. Its rich history, innovative programming, and deep community ties make it a cornerstone of the arts in Bristol and beyond.

As it continues to evolve, Arnolfini’s dedication to fostering creativity and dialogue ensures it will remain at the forefront of the contemporary arts for years to come.

About the role

At the helm of the Arnolfini Arts, your role will be to steer the Board of Trustees in providing clear strategic direction and robust governance. Your leadership will ensure that the Board functions effectively and adheres to the highest standards of governance practices. A crucial part of your responsibilities will be fostering a close, collaborative relationship with the interim director and the team, guiding the Board through renewal and transformation as Arnolfini embarks on its next chapter.

You will be pivotal in shaping and executing Arnolfini’s strategic vision. By working closely with the Board, the Executive Team, and key stakeholders, you will help develop and implement a comprehensive strategic plan. Your efforts will propel the organisation towards its vision, ensuring that all activities align with its mission and core values.

As a key representative of Arnolfini, you will cultivate and maintain strong relationships with a diverse range of stakeholders, including funders, partners, artists, community groups, and government bodies. Your role as an ambassador will be critical in fostering these connections and enhancing Arnolfini’s reputation and influence within the arts community and beyond.

Your financial acumen will safeguard Arnolfini’s economic health and sustainability. You will collaborate with the Board and the Executive Team to oversee budgeting, financial planning, and risk management processes. Ensuring the organisation operates on a sound financial footing will be a cornerstone of your responsibilities.

In this role, you will support and guide Arnolfini’s fundraising efforts. This includes spearheading initiatives to identify new funding opportunities and nurturing relationships with donors, sponsors, and funding bodies.

Your work will be vital in securing the resources necessary for Arnolfini’s continued growth and success.

You will champion Arnolfini’s dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Your leadership will promote and support programmes and initiatives that engage with a broad spectrum of audiences and address the community’s needs and interests. Your commitment to inclusivity will help ensure that Arnolfini remains a welcoming and accessible space for all.

Finally, you will continuously monitor and evaluate Arnolfini’s performance against its strategic objectives. Your focus on performance metrics and responsiveness to the evolving landscape of the arts and cultural sectors will drive ongoing improvements and ensure that Arnolfini remains dynamic and relevant.

Who we are looking for

You bring a wealth of experience from senior leadership or governance roles within complex organisations, ideally within the arts, culture, or not for profit sectors. Your background demonstrates your ability to navigate and lead in multifaceted environments, leveraging your strategic insight to steer organisations towards their goals.

Your deep understanding of governance is complemented by a proven track record in effectively chairing boards or committees. You will maintain accountability and transparency at all levels, fostering a culture of integrity and trust within Arnolfini Arts.

Your exceptional ability to engage, influence, and build lasting relationships with a diverse array of stakeholders sets you apart. Whether working with funders, partners, or community groups, you consistently demonstrate your capacity to connect and collaborate, driving mutual benefits and strengthening Arnolfini Arts’ network.

With a solid grasp of financial management, you will have substantial experience overseeing budgets, financial planning, and risk management. Your expertise will ensure Arnolfini Arts’ financial health and sustainability, enabling it to thrive and achieve its mission.

Your experience supporting fundraising activities is marked by a keen ability to identify new funding opportunities and effectively engage with donors and sponsors. You will play a key role in securing the resources necessary to advance Arnolfini Arts’ initiatives and goals.

You are a staunch advocate for equity, diversity, and inclusion, championing these values across your organisation and its strategies. Your commitment to fostering an inclusive environment is evident in your efforts to promote and integrate diverse perspectives and communities into discussions and strategies.

Your genuine passion for contemporary arts and culture will inform your understanding and fuel your engagement. You understand the profound impact of arts organisations such as Arnolfini Arts on community development and placemaking. This, coupled with your knowledge of the creative sector and your business acumen, positions you to effectively lead and support the organisation’s artistic and strategic endeavours.

Your excellent communication and interpersonal skills enable you to inspire, influence, and engage with an array of audiences. Whether addressing stakeholders, leading teams, or advocating for Arnolfini Arts, you will articulate your vision with clarity and conviction.

Time commitment

Finally, you will be ready and willing to devote the necessary time and effort to fulfill the responsibilities of your role of 1 day per month.

This time commitment includes attending Board meetings and events, reviewing board papers, and participating actively in the Arnolfini Arts’ activities.

For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

Rebekah Abbott | rebekah@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07538 270749

Clare Connor | clare@peridotpartners.co.uk 

If you would like to know more about this role please contact Rebekah Abbott

View profile

Welcome from the Board of Trustees

Arnolfini is one of the UK’s leading centres for contemporary visual arts, renowned for its innovative and inclusive programming. Located at the heart of Bristol’s vibrant Harbourside, Arnolfini offers a dynamic space for exhibitions, performances, and community engagement, attracting diverse audiences from across the city and beyond.

Our mission is to champion creativity, cultural diversity, and social impact through the arts.

Alongside exhibitions in our main gallery, we run regular community workshops and live events across many contemporary disciplines. We have an embedded relationship with the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) and Arts Council England, and share our spaces and projects in a dynamic partnership with students, staff, community and partners.

We place collaboration at the heart of our practice, working on a long-term sustained basis with other cultural organisations, key third sector partners, communities and the creative ecology of the city region.

We are looking forward to working with our new Chair of Trustees to develop and enhance the vision for Arnolfini for the next generation and build organisational resilience and sustainability through financial security, partnership working and strong audience engagement.

Thank you for your interest in Arnolfini and for taking the time to consider this role.

Board of Trustees
Arnolfini Arts

Credit: Lisa Whiting Photography

About us

Historical context and evolution

Arnolfini began its journey in the 1960s in a converted tea warehouse on Bristol’s Narrow Quay, which now forms part of the vibrant Harbourside. Originally focused on presenting visual arts, it quickly expanded its scope to include performance, music, film, and interdisciplinary arts. This evolution reflects Arnolfini’s dedication to embracing diverse forms of contemporary artistic expression.

In 1975, Arnolfini moved to its current location in a Grade II listed former warehouse, a building that has become synonymous with its identity. This move allowed for a significant expansion of its activities and facilities, providing more space for exhibitions, performances, workshops, and educational programmes.

Artistic and cultural impact

Arnolfini has played a pivotal role in the UK’s contemporary art scene. Its exhibition program showcases both emerging and established artists from around the world, providing a platform for innovative and thought-provoking works. The centre’s inclusive approach ensures a wide range of artistic practices, from visual and digital arts to performance and experimental sound.

Over the years, Arnolfini has hosted exhibitions and performances by many renowned artists, including Richard Long, Yoko Ono, Grayson Perry, and Gillian Wearing. Its programming often intersects with critical social and political themes, fostering dialogue and reflection on contemporary issues.

Community engagement and education

A cornerstone of Arnolfini’s mission is its commitment to community engagement and education. The centre runs various educational programmes to foster creativity and accessibility to the arts. These programmes range from workshops and talks to collaborative projects with local schools and community groups.

Arnolfini’s learning initiatives are designed to be inclusive, catering to diverse audiences and making art accessible to all.

The centre’s emphasis on participation and inclusivity is evident in its extensive public programmes, which include artist talks, film screenings, and interactive installations. These initiatives not only enrich the cultural landscape of Bristol but also engage with broader audiences, encouraging public interaction with contemporary art.

Partnerships and collaborations

Arnolfini thrives on its extensive network of partnerships and collaborations. It works closely with local, national, and international organisations to enhance its artistic and cultural offerings.

Notable collaborations include partnerships with academic institutions like the University of the West of England and cultural entities such as the Bristol Old Vic and Spike Island. These partnerships enable Arnolfini to amplify its impact, reach wider audiences, and support diverse artistic practices. Through these collaborations, the centre continues to be a hub for artistic innovation and cultural exchange.

Future directions

Looking forward, Arnolfini remains dedicated to its mission of promoting contemporary art and fostering cultural dialogue. Its future directions include continuing to support emerging artists, expanding its educational programmes, and deepening its community engagement efforts. With a commitment to accessibility and inclusivity, Arnolfini is poised to remain a vital part of Bristol’s cultural fabric and a significant player in the international art scene.

Accessibility information

We understand that different members of the community have different access needs and have made some modifications to the way we do business to accommodate people from diverse communities and abilities.

Our accessibility provisions include:

  • Step-free access to the building, all key meeting rooms and bathrooms, and an accessible workstation.
  • Accessibility dogs are welcome.
  • Papers and materials can be presented in different formats.
  • A sign language interpreter can be accessed for interviews.
  • Working patterns and locations can be adjusted.

Applicants with a disability are invited to contact us in confidence at any point during the recruitment process to discuss steps that could be taken to overcome operational difficulties presented by the role, or if any adjustments or support are required regarding the recruitment process.

For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

Rebekah Abbott | rebekah@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07538 270749

Clare Connor | clare@peridotpartners.co.uk 

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    Thank you for your interest in this role. Please download the Role Description and Person Specification.

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    For further information about the role, or to arrange a confidential discussion, please contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

    Rebekah Abbott | rebekah@peridotpartners.co.uk | 07538 270749

    Clare Connor | clare@peridotpartners.co.uk 

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    Closing date: 9 a.m. Wednesday 4th September 2024
    Candidates informed of outcome: Wednesday 11th September 2024
    First stage interviews: Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th September 2024
    Second stage interviews: Wednesday 25th September 2024

    Equal Opportunities Monitoring

    Peridot and Arnolfini Arts are committed to promoting equality and diversity. To help us raise awareness and support a culture that is diverse and recognises and develops the potential of all, we need to appreciate the profile of candidates who apply for positions. We will send you an equality monitoring survey at the point of receiving your application, in the interview phase and at the time of placement. This ensures that our processes remain inclusive and equitable throughout, and provides us with important data to help us showcase our impact. The information will be treated confidentially and anonymously and will help us to support our commitment to fair recruitment practices. All information provided will be held in the strictest confidence and will not be shared with anyone, in line with the Data Protection Act 2018. The information provided does not form part of the decision-making process and will not affect your application.

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