Arts Foundation — Chair

The Arts Foundation seeks to appoint a new Chair who will champion its support of artists and oversee the effectiveness of its Board to support its future ambitions and drive the next phase of the charity's development. They will have a strong enthusiasm for and knowledge of the contemporary arts and ideally bring financial acumen and fundraising experience to help the charity remain sustainable. (Deadline 7th July)

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The Arts Foundation is a registered charity that supports individual artists and creatives in the UK with unconditional financial support. It was set up by an anonymous bequest and since 1993 the Arts Foundation has given nearly £2m to artists across the spectrum of the Arts, with an endowment of c. £1m underpinning its revenue.

Its annual fellowship scheme, The Arts Foundation Futures Awards, gives out five £10,000 fellowships every year, with all finalists each receiving £1,000. These are awarded based on past work and enable future development. Each year the awards focus on both broad and innovative art forms, within the fields of Craft, Design, Film, Literature, Materials Innovation, Music, New Media, Performing and Visual Arts, and aim to highlight lesser-known areas of creative practice and also include emerging multidisciplinary artists.

The contribution of the Arts Foundation Futures Awards to the Arts in the UK is demonstrated by its past Fellows, many of whom have become leaders in their respective art forms, including Wayne McGregor (1994), Alice Oswald (1996), Sarah Kane (1998), Asif Kapadia (2001), Ali Smith (2001), Rufus Norris (2002), Lynette Yiadom-Boakye (2006), and more recently, Simon Fujiwara (2009), Alice Birch (2014), Hollie McNish (2015), Evan Ifekoya (2017), Holly Hendry (2019), and Bethany Williams (2020).

Role specification

Due to the current Chair soon to come to the end of their term, The Arts Foundation seeks a new Chair to work with the recently-appointed Director. The newly-appointed candidate will provide governance, leadership and strategic support.

Key responsibilities of the Chair will include:

  • Efficiency and effectiveness of the Board: Ensuring that the Board is refreshed through recruitment, reflecting the balance of skills, knowledge and experience needed to fulfil their role and reflect the population they aim to serve. Ensuring that meetings are well-planned and chaired, and that constructive relationships exist with and between the Trustees, as well as oversight of the Finance and Governance Committees
  • Relationship with the Director: establishing strong, effective and constructive working relationships with the Director, including regular contact to maintain an overview of the charity’s affairs
  • Outward-facing role and fostering external relationships in the interests of the charity: supporting fundraising, acting as an ambassador and spokesperson, when required. This could include representing the charity at funding meetings and events. Building new and maintaining close relationships with key funders and stakeholders in the charity’s network
  • Strategic leadership for the delivery of mission, vision and strategy: ensuring that the charity operates within its charitable objectives, maximises its impact for its beneficiaries and is in sound financial health with systems and management of its investments in place to ensure financial accountability

Person specification

The charity is looking to appoint a Chair with a demonstrable passion for the arts, some third sector leadership skills and ability to help income generation through fundraising, and ideally with investing its small endowment.

The ideal candidate will have a forward-looking, collaborative, empathetic style, ability to build consensus, interaction, and dialogue. With enthusiasm and the energy they will support the Director in building relationships and advocating with philanthropic decision makers, chiefly at trusts and foundations, and individuals. The candidate will also have a demonstrable commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion. It is also open to hearing from candidates who do not have prior Chair experience, as long as candidates have previous non-executive / trustee experience.

The Arts Foundation is committed to improving the diversity of its Board, for more information please see the Diversity section below.

Board composition

Please see here for more information on The Arts Foundation’s Board of Trustees.


The Arts Foundation welcomes and encourages applications from everyone regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, faith or disability. It wants its Board to reflect the diversity of the UK and is particularly keen to receive applications from individuals who represent the global majority and are currently underrepresented in the arts and culture sector and within the Trusts and Foundations landscape. All appointments will be made on merit, following a fair and transparent process. In line with the Equality Act 2010, however, the organisation may employ positive action where candidates from underrepresented groups can demonstrate their ability to perform the role equally well.


If you need any support to complete an expression of interest or have any access requirements, please contact:

Terms of appointment

The Arts Foundation’s Board meets four times per year, with an estimation of the time commitment at approximately one to two days per month. The term length for the role is for a maximum of five years, with a review after one year. The Arts Foundation currently adopts a remote working policy. Quarterly Board meetings are, where possible, in person, alongside support via phone and email. Pre-agreed reasonable travel expenses will be reimbursed.

The deadline for consideration is 7th July 2022.

If you would like to register your interest in this role, please fill in the form below. A member of the Nurole team will be in touch ahead of the deadline to let you know whether it would be worth submitting an application and to discuss the process further.