From left to right: Pegram Harrison, fellow in entrepreneurship, Saïd Business School; Lucy Shaw, programme director, Oxford Cultural Leaders; Paul Smith, director, Oxford University Museum of Natural History; Richard Evans, director, Beamish, the Living Museum of the North

Oxford University Museums unveils leadership course

Gary Noakes, 12.11.2014
Aim is to make museum leaders more entrepreneurial
A course to help museum leaders become more entrepreneurial has been launched by Oxford University Museums in partnership with the city’s Saïd Business School.

The Oxford Cultural Leaders course is supported by Arts Council England, and the first intake is due in the spring.

Lucy Shaw, the manager of Oxford University Museums Partnership, said the week-long course was designed to bring “resilience” to the sector at a time of reduced central funding.

“It’s about being able to develop the ability and confidence to take risks, about how you change behaviour to become more of an entrepreneur,” she said.

Shaw argues that entrepreneurial museums are more likely to attract government funding.

“The message is to think about how you can develop more income streams – that is the way the world is going. If you look at the way the arts council is allocating funds, it goes to organisations that are successful. Money doesn’t go to failing organisations.”

The programme faculty includes Saïd Business School fellow Keith Ruddle, who specialises in transformational change and Richard Evans, the director of Beamish, the Living Museum of the North, who will explore entrepreneurial ways of thinking and behaviour.

Maurice Davies of Kings College London and the Museum Consultancy will offer a “provocative” view of the cultural sector’s future.

“We think we are one of the first set up in partnership with a business school,” Shaw said. “Others have drawn on advice, but this was drawn up with three members of faculty that have many, many years of experience in the commercial sector but who are interested in the cultural sector as well.”

The residential programme runs from 15-20 March in Oxford with up to 18 places available. Applications are competitive, based on the individual and the organisation “and how ready they are to adapt”.

The closing date is 14 January. Fees for those from within the EU are £750. The rate for international participants is £2,500.

Other courses are planned to follow the first one.


The article originally stated that "unlike the Clore Leadership programme, which is restricted to those working in England, the Oxford course [is] open to any nationality". In fact, Clore programmes are open to candidates across the UK and internationally, no matter where they work.