UKDN (formerly National Dance Network) is delighted to be recruiting an Independent Chair.
The role will cover two years from September 2021, with extension by mutual agreement
- Time commitment equivalent to 10 days per year
- Based anywhere in the UK
- Fee of £8,000 over two years
- Support offered with access requirements
- Closing date for expressions of interest: 9:00am Monday 12th July 2021
The role of independent chair of the UK Dance Network is an opportunity to guide and support the network of 31 dance organisations over the next two years. We are seeking a freelance culture professional who has excellent communication and facilitation skills, familiarity with the UK dance landscape and a commitment to inclusive leadership.
The UK Dance Network – formerly the National Dance Network – is a peer support network for UK dance organisations. It is a space for collaboration, a gathering place for the leaders of organisations with similar or shared developmental missions, and a platform for the exchange of ideas, intelligence and resources.
UKDN works closely with network members One Dance UK and People Dancing, as national lead bodies for dance, and encourages and promotes opportunities created by and for its member organisations and their constituents.
UKDN members actively engage with and proactively support a broad range of individual artists, producers, companies and venues as part of their own missions and then represent their interests in the network.
There are currently 31 member organisations in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland (see below). The network is seeking members in Wales.
UKDN is a non-constituted body run by its members via a self-selecting steering group (see below) and supported by a part-time coordinator. Running costs are met through annual subscriptions on a sliding scale determined by the budget of the member organisation or – in the case of larger institutions – the associated department.
During 2020 the network undertook a member consultation process, led by outgoing chair Gregory Nash and supported by the steering group, which resulted in a renewed statement of purpose, a revised offer and subscription rates to members, a refreshed approach to internal management and a reconfigured name and identity.
The independent chair of UKDN is appointed every two years on a freelance basis. The chair can be remunerated as the network is not a formally constituted body or charity. While the engagement period is two years in the first instance, this can be extended by mutual agreement.
The chair is independent in that they are not employed by, or a trustee or associate of, any of its member organisations. This exemption does not include artists or producers who may work with member organisations on an occasional freelance basis or under commission.
The chair convenes and facilitates a monthly Zoom meeting for members and a monthly Zoom meeting with the steering group. Every two years – next time in 2022 – the chair leads on the scheduling and programming of a face to face gathering and facilitates the meeting.
In between meetings there is some shaping of the meetings programme, exploration of and approaches to guest contributors, and – government guidance allowing – attendance at key events. Where agreed with the steering group the chair acts as the representative of the network at key events and speaks on behalf of its members.
The time commitment is equivalent to 10 days per year on a flexible basis.
Duties and responsibilities
- Works closely with the steering group to explore and approach guest contributors for member meetings both online and face to face.
- Works closely with the coordinator in supporting the membership, disseminating information and scheduling/creating agendas for meetings.
- Works closely with the coordinator in maintaining an overview of the budget and keeping the steering group informed of financial status.
- Facilitates a monthly 75 minute Zoom meeting for members – currently on the first Friday of each month.
- Facilitates a monthly 60 minute Zoom meeting of the steering group – currently on the second Tuesday of each month.
- Leads on the planning and programming of a face to face members’ gathering every two years – next time in summer or early autumn 2022 – and leads on the facilitation of this meeting.
- Attends events as the representative of the network and speaks on behalf of its members.
- Is a conduit for contacts, ideas, opportunities and intelligence that may be of interest to the network and its individual members.
You will be a self-employed individual with experience at a senior level within the creative and cultural sectors. You won’t be a substantive employee, trustee or associate of a member organisation but you may be an artist or producer who engages with member organisations though commissions or on a freelance contract basis.
You don’t need to be currently working in a dance context but knowledge of the UK dance sector and a network that includes some of its leaders, practitioners and key organisations is an advantage.
You will have experience and understanding of how arts organisations work – particularly in the areas of governance, operations and programming – and a forward-looking approach to the leadership of teams, engagement with audiences and the support of artists and producers.
You will have extensive experience of leading and facilitating group meetings both face to face and online and be a skilled communicator. Good listening and interpretation skills are essential. While your approach is authoritative it is also generous, inclusive and equitable.
You will be committed to fostering an environment which is welcoming and accessible and where the contribution of all network members and associates is equally embraced and valued.
You will need to be a really good time-manager as UKDN gatherings begin and end on time and while generous space is created sometimes the conversation has to be moved along confidently and sensitively to ensure all those who wish to contribute can do so.
Familiarity with Zoom and the ability to work in an agile way on the platform – or preparedness to take part in training to do so – is essential to the role.
The independent chair can be based anywhere in the UK but will need a strong and consistent internet connection and be prepared to travel to key events and gatherings where required.
Fee & conditions
The contract is fixed term on a freelance basis for a period of two years – approximately 10 days per year – commencing in September 2021 and ending in August 2023. It is renewable by mutual agreement.
The fee available is £4,000 per annum, paid twice yearly on invoice.
The independent chair is engaged on a freelance basis and therefore responsible for their own tax and NI contributions and insurance.
Reasonable expenses such as travel and accommodation – agreed in advance with the steering group – will be reimbursed as part of the invoicing process.
There is provision in the UKDN budget to support any specific requirements the chair may have, for example BSL interpretation, live captioning or personal assistance.
How to express interest
If you would like to express interest in taking on this role please send your CV in a format of your choice with a covering letter – on no more than 2 pages of A4 – saying why you are interested in being independent chair of UKDN and outlining your suitability according to the skills, experience and qualities described above.
If you would prefer to record your supporting statement and send as a sound or video file you are very welcome to do so. Or if there is another way in which you would like to express interest please just let our coordinator Lydia Wharf know.
Submissions should be received by Lydia by 09:00 on Monday 12 July 2021: lydiaNDN@mail.com
Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend a meeting via Zoom with members of the steering group on 19 or 20 July.
Everyone expressing interest in the role will be notified of the outcome of their submission.
If you would like to have an informal chat about the role before applying please contact our outgoing chair Gregory Nash at email@example.com and he will be happy to arrange a call with you.