Leadership in the cultural sector

The cultural sector is in motion. Audiences and preferences are changing, new technologies offer opportunities, funding is in transition. To address these challenges and developments, leadership is needed. KL contributes to a network of leaders in culture.


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Escalators in Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Maker: Gerard Stolk

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Escalators in Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

The cultural sector is important for Kennisland because a smart society is unimaginable without art and culture. The sector commentates, makes visible and inspires. To fulfill its task as ‘R&D lab of society’, we need a vital cultural sector that seeks for new approaches. Therefore, a powerful movement from within the sector itself is necessary, from directors of institutions, makers, fundraisers, marketeers and others who shape the cultural sector. Kennisland contributes to this network of leaders in culture through the learning programme Leiderschap in Cultuur(Leadership in Culture or LinC).

LinC ++LinCSee also the website.covers personal growth and professionalisation, developing and trying out new ways of working, and seeking out new connections with the audience, other cultural producers, disciplines and sectors. LinC contributes to self-reflection, self-awarenessHerman de Coninck once said: “I would like to popularise poetry without abandoning its complexity.” I base my motto on this: I want to generate an interest in culture from a wide audience without abandoning its complexity. (Lieke Timmermans, participant LinC 1), the development of a vision and the capacity for innovation and change of (potential) cultural leaders. LinC also means collective leadership. This means that LinC is a ‘movement’ that speaks out, that offers a dissenting point of view where necessary in the political debate regarding the legitimacy and value of culture and that determines its own agenda!

Leadership means having the courage to take a position in the social debate

During their participation in LinC, cultural leaders research the new situation in the cultural sector from a critical viewpoint. They investigate both the opportunities that lie ahead and the assumptions upon which the sector has acted, built, programmed and organised through the years. Do people still want to sit in rows listening politely? What risks are inherent in mixing production and consumption? Where can a voice and an income for the artist and maker be found in the logic of market-based thinking?

“Culture is the lifeblood of society.”

These are the words of Marc van Warmerdam, lead“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”
– Warren Bennis
er of Orkater and guest at LinC. The truth of this hypothesis is indeed in evidence in that small theatre in Drachten, where classical performances are held, the boerenbond (farmers’ union) holds its general meeting and the annual school performance takes place. This is also what LinC is all about: it’s not just about big words and overblown debates, it’s not just about the economy, about numbers and about solving major social problems. LinC is about (re)valuing culture as an inseparable part of society and about how we must cherish and breath new life into it.

Kennisland offers, together with the U“The change we need make in the cultural sector is to ensure that we take matters into our own hands and that we lead from the front. Artists have a unique ability to make sense of the spirit of the times and to transform this into tangible forms capable of doing society a great service. My greatest ambition is to make art and culture as important as possible in our fast-changing society. I expect that the LinC programme will inspire me and provide new insights so that I can arrive at a new approach to doing so in my daily life.”
– Maurice Dujardin, participant LinC2
niversity of Utrecht, HKU and Coaching in de Cultuur, a platform where cultural leaders can meet, discuss and share knowledge but also research and employ new and unexplored possibilities together with other people and sectors. This leads to new insights and stories that contribute to the development and legitimacy of the sector. We make a particular point of stimulating fruitful connections between the cultural sector and other sectors.

We want LinC to grow to become a large network of leaders and innovators in the cultural sector who try out new business models, who reach out to their audience in new and effective ways and involve them in production. Leaders who make good use of digitalisation, who deploy their creativity and artistry to create public value and who, as regards government, take on a position of mutual dependence instead of simply dependence.