Training & Programme Producer of Artistic Directors of the Future Sandra Thompson-Quartey talks about the 2021-2022 Board Shadowing Programme

Established in 2018, the Artistic Directors of the Future Board Shadowing Programme has offered a mixed programme of induction sessions, support, shadowing time, meet and greets, governance training, networking and evaluations for their alumni, continuing on with their mission to create opportunities for Black, Asian and Ethnically diverse creatives at an influential level. Taking part in this year’s programme, which will run from October 2021 – November 2022, Artistic Directors of the Future’s Training & Programme Producer Sandra Thompson-Quartey tells more about the programme’s importance, taking part as well as helping to organise and shape the initiative.

Hi Sandra, Artistic Directors of the Future are currently accepting applications for their 2021-2022 Board Shadowing Programme. How are you feeling ahead of this year’s programme?

I’m especially excited about it this year because I will be taking part as a shadower as opposed to running it.  I facilitated the second programme (London theatre companies) and this time around I have been part of the initial arrangements but this will be taken over by my colleague allowing me to experience being a participant rather than a facilitator

The award winning Board Shadowing Programme offers the chance for arts organisations to meet potential Black, Asian and Ethnically Diverse board members, an important initiative, what does it mean to be able to offer this unique platform?

I am proud to be part of an organisation that has created this programme. I would like to see more people from different backgrounds and ages on a board, the programme brings more awareness of the role of a trustee. Five years ago I didn’t even think about boards, nor did I know what they did or how important they were. Sadly, I think other people feel the same way so we are trying to demystify the process and make it  accessible

Organisations are also invited to sign up to take part in the initiative, how do they help to shape the programme? 

The programme is aimed at both individuals and organisations.  Even if an organisation is already ethnically diverse, they will still gain the opportunity to expand their network, build new relationships and they can consider new ways to induct trustees or alternatives on boarding styles.

“The ADF Board Shadowing Programme is designed to demystify the roles and responsibilities of a board, broker relationships with aspiring trustees and create an even playing field for opportunities”. What are your hopes for the programme?

I would hope that we see the shadowers go on to become trustees, even if it’s not with the participating organisations. I would also hope that any organisation that doesn’t have any Black, Asian or ethnically diverse trustees or only has one, are not still in the same position a year later. We are here to help change the narrative and the landscape.

The ADF programme includes induction sessions, support, shadowing time, meet and greets, governance training, networking and evaluation. How have you approached developing the programme?

This year we are including training workshops for the participating organisations to engage with before all the other activities and shadowing placements begin. Organisations will only be eligible to continue on the programme if their senior staff attend all of these workshops and submit an action plan.  We will also follow up with the organisations 12 months after the programme ends. It’s really important that we work with organisations committed to making an immediate change.

Since the programme’s creation in 2018, alumni have gone on to become board members of various influential organisations, including Anni Domingo, who is now a Trustee for Sheffield Theatres and Eileen Bellot, who has now become a Trustee for Tamasha Theatre and Stage Sight. How does it feel to be able to witness the impact of the programme on previous participants?

It’s wonderful! It’s always great to see progress. If you are unsure what a trustee does or if you are unsure if you are ready to be a trustee for an arts organisation, you’re not going to apply. On the flip side, if there are not enough opportunities to engage with an arts organisation or you don’t see anyone that looks like you on their board or within their senior team, you won’t feel welcome. This is what the board shadowing programme addresses. And we have real life examples of people you can be inspired by.

What advice can you offer to potential applicants?

You don’t need to have 15+ years of experience to apply for our programme. We are interested to know what you want to learn from the programme not just what you could bring as a potential trustee. Plus every life experience has value. Sometimes people have all the right ingredients to join a board and just need to learn more about the role, before committing to one. You do not have to work in the arts sector to be a trustee for an arts organisation, if anything, the mixing of sectors will be beneficial.  We want organisations to reconsider who can be a trustee, therefore we encourage all our members to apply.

Questions by Lucy Basaba.

Artistic Directors of the Future are currently accepting submissions for their October 2021 – November 2022. To find out more about how to apply, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop