July 2019

An Arts Council England Lottery Grant has been awarded to appoint focused Project Management for Culture Forum North (CFN) – crucial to drive the growth of this nationally significant initiative.

From July 2019, the administrative hub of CFN will be based at the University of Leeds Cultural Institute, supporting the CFN Steering Group and Forum members across the North. The University, on behalf of CFN, would like to commission an individual or team to undertake the required programme of work over a twelve month period from September 2019.

It is an opportunity to shape the future of the network while working with high-level individuals across the HE and cultural sectors and beyond. The recipient of the contract will report to the CFN Steering Group to create a financially sustainable framework through the development and delivery of an ambitious strategic plan.


A maximum fee of £24,000 (plus VAT) is available for this commission, plus a budget for identified activity, your travel expenses and other costs agreed in advance.

Deadline for submission

5.00pm, Friday 19 July. See below for further detail.

Interview date

Interviews will take place in Leeds on Friday 26 July. Kindly clarify in your submission if you would be available on that date.


Culture Forum North (http://www.cultureforumnorth.co.uk/ ) is the first network of its kind in the UK. Launched in 2016, it aims to increase resilience within the cultural sector in the north of England, through partnership between cultural and higher education (HE) organisations.

Its mission is to strengthen the sustainability, diversity, adaptability, impact and breadth of skills within arts organisations to support positive social change.

CFN grew out of a knowledge sharing group of universities and arts organisations that first met in 2012. The Forum currently comprises 69 members, including 28 universities and 41 arts and heritage organisations spanning all art forms, geography & scale across the North.

The Forum is widely regarded as the leading organisation of its kind nationally. Its work has been endorsed by national bodies including Arts Council England, Arts & Humanities research Council, BBC, and National Archives, and the level of participation in CFN activities demonstrates demand from both higher education and the cultural sectors. The launch symposium in May 2016 had representation from 89 different cultural organisations and 28 universities.

The brief

We would like to commission an individual or team to undertake the following work. This is not a definitive list and additional opportunities may arise, reasonable within the brief.


To develop a financially sustainable framework, supported by a strong governance structure that cultivates and increases the number and quality of productive relationships with CFN member organisations, and connections with sector and other bodies regionally and nationally.

To underpin this with strong business, fundraising and communications plans; a programme of events; sector-relevant material such as case studies and tool-kits; and the dissemination of material and information online and through social media.

Activity, including, but not limited to: –

Strategic planning and business modelling

• Preparing, consulting on, ensuring the delivery of and evaluating the impact of CFN Strategic Plan; • Carrying out a business models options appraisal and put in place plans for delivery.

Member and relationship cultivation, and communications

• Maintaining and developing relationships with members, stakeholders and decision-makers; • Identifying and exploiting opportunities to increase profile and status of the Forum across the cultural and HE sectors and other relevant arenas; • Proactively seeking and securing new members; • Identifying and networking with stakeholders, policy-makers and decision-makers; • Writing and disseminating CFN e-updates; • Acting as an external voice and ambassador for the Forum; • Organising, promoting and delivering Forum events including the annual Symposium; • Updating the CFN website, monitoring and responding to web posts and email/phone enquiries and Undertaking proactive social media activity.

Creating and leading a delivery framework

• Supporting the Steering Group and Advisory Board; • Creating and supporting project Task Groups made up of Forum members; • Evaluating and reporting on activity; • Organising, attending and documenting CFN meetings; • Preparing, consulting, monitoring, evaluating and reporting on funding bids.

Acquiring and disseminating data

• Commissioning, interpreting and disseminating data; • Monitoring and reporting on relevant activity regionally, nationally and internationally; • Maintaining & managing the membership database.

Additional resources

Administrative support equating to one day per week, and access to office resources will be provided by the University.


It is hoped that the contract will start by September 2019 latest and will be delivered over twelve months. Consideration will be given to this being extended within the same fee subject to discussion in advance. The following draft timetable may be refined subject to mutual discussion and agreement.

September 2019: Develop workplan and reporting schedule, evaluation framework, partnership management frame work and communications plan; take over organisation and marketing of December symposium.

October onward: Develop and initiate partner recruitment strategy (ongoing); write/commission and publish partner-generated digital content including 2 blogs per month (ongoing); write and disseminate monthly newsletter (ongoing); research and prepare business model options appraisal.

November: Present business model options appraisal for consideration; plan for inaugural Advisory Group meeting.

December: Progress report to CFN Steering Group; deliver symposium at University of Leeds on 5th December (you need to be available for this date); initiate theme, planning and communications for April ’20 symposium.

January 2020: Draft and consult on new 3-year business plan and case for support, including new income generation strands; CFN Awards research, planning and engagement of partners/sponsors.

February 2020: Present and secure sign-off on 3 year business plan and case for support; initiate fundraising against the Business Plan; deliver inaugural Advisory Group meeting.

March: Progress report to Steering Group; ongoing delivery of strategic activity and Business Plan commitments.

April: Deliver symposium.

May: Finalise and announce inaugural CFN Awards in September 2020.

August 2020: Prepare and present final Evaluation report to Steering Group


By 5.00pm, Friday 19 July 2019, please submit your proposal in a single PDF to culturalinstitute@leeds.ac.uk • Kindly confirm if you would be available for interview in Leeds on Friday 26 July. • If you would like any clarification on this call for submissions, please contact Lesley Patrick lesley@dareyou.org.uk

Please provide a brief written submission that includes:

1. An outline of number of days and your approach to delivery of the above activity using examples from previous projects you have worked on.

2. A statement setting out your experience and skills in relation to the list of requirements below.

3. If you are working alone, a full CV. If you are working with others, the CV of the team leader and short biographies of other team members with an explanation of your respective roles.

4. A full budget breakdown, which includes the daily rates for all members of the team and any other expenses that need to be included as well as the fees (please note if you are eligible for VAT, please include these costings in your submitted budget).

5. The contact details of two previous clients, with the name of the project on which you worked with them.

6. A copy of two previous pieces of work. Please attach full and final reports only.

The successful consultant(s) will need to provide evidence of:

• Significant experience of running, or as a consultant contributing to the running of a cultural organisation or programme • An understanding of the current arts and HE landscape • The ability to be highly organised and to manage a highly varied portfolio of work; • Being a good communicator and be able to work with people at all levels; • Being a self-starter capable of working independently; • Experience of delivering financially robust business plans and organisational development • Writing and delivering strategic plans • Managing projects with multiple stakeholders and timelines • Experience delivering and organising Events • Undertaking marketing and social media • Previous Fundraising.

You may also have:

• Ability to work within a small team • Previous Involvement in cultural/HE partnerships • Prior experience managing membership programmes • Reported to a non-executive board previously • Undertaken Public Relations activity • Managing and developing databases • Website management and e-comms skills

In addition to the contract fee, a budget has been identified for the delivery of activity.