Supporting the next generation of creative leaders

24 February 2023

The latest round of an ongoing leadership program aims to boost the number of young people from diverse backgrounds on Victoria’s creative industries boards.

The latest cohort of The Observership Program was launched earlier this month, with 29 creative industry organisations participating in this year’s program, including Melbourne Recital Centre, Footscray Community Arts and ACMI.

Founded in 2014, the program offers training and practical experience in not-for-profit board leadership and networking opportunities. Participants – called “Observers” – are paired with an organisation for one year, where they attend all board/committee meetings and learn about the principles and function of boards and governance processes. Around a quarter of Observers are appointed to their boards following their Observerships.

Creative Victoria has partnered with the program since 2019 and in that time, creative industry board participation in the program has increased from seven organisations in 2017 to 29 in 2023.

As part of the Victorian Government’s Creative State 2025 strategy, Creative Victoria is expanding its partnership with the program to increase board diversity in the creative industries.

This partnership will support 40 emerging Victorian leaders from diverse backgrounds, targeting participants from First Peoples, Deaf/Disabled and regional backgrounds over four years, from 2023 to 2026.

The Observership Program will also develop an alumni database and match-ready service of past Observers participants for potential appointment to Victorian not-for-profit and government appointed creative industry boards.

While creative industries boards are doing better than average in the areas of gender balance and LGBTQI+ representation, there is work to do to increase participation by young people, First Peoples, Deaf and Disabled, regionally based and culturally and linguistically diverse Victorians.

Released in 2021, Creative State 2025 includes an action to develop more opportunities for young leaders that drive more inclusive and representative creative boards.

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