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Australian Council for the Arts

Australia Council Arts Governance Program

The Australia Council Arts Governance Program is a national program designed to help arts organisations to enhance their governance practices through a program tailored specifically to their needs. The program aims to enhance governance skills, supporting leaders to prosper and arts organisations to thrive.

Program Outcomes

  • Enhanced understanding of arts governance by boards and senior leadership in organisations of all sizes
  • Strengthened understanding between senior leadership, including artistic leadership, and board members
  • Greater confidence in managing board and organisational performance
  • Greater confidence in guiding the artistic health of an organisation.

Program Components

The Arts Governance Program consists of a number of discrete but inter-related components, delivered in venues across the country, as well as online.

The components of the program comprise an arts governance workshop series and webinar series, both of which are aimed at the leaders (including board members/chairs, as well as senior management and artistic staff) of small-medium arts organisations.

The workshops cost $350 per organisation (for a maximum of three people). This includes for each registrant a two-year membership of the Institute of Community Directors Australia (ICDA), a specialist not-for-profit governance membership body. The webinars are free.


About the Arts Governance Program

The Australia Council Arts Governance Program is a unique, tailor-made training and networking program designed to help Australian arts organisations to thrive.

An initiative of the Australia Council for the Arts and delivered by the Institute of Community Directors Australia (an Our Community enterprise), the program provides practical information to arts organisations on how to get the best out of the board, and how to enhance the relationship between the board and the organisation's senior artistic and management staff.

The challenges arts organisations face can at times feel overwhelming, but good management paired with good governance and an optimistic mindset can ensure an organisation stays on top of it all, survives and thrives.

Program Framework

The program will explore all of the themes and topics in the diagram above in greater or lesser depth depending on the program component and the needs and interests of each audience.

Two key themes will run through all program components: the central importance of artistic vision to an arts organisation's vibrancy and success; and the critical role of board culture in creating a high-performing organisation.

Contact Details

For more information please contact us by email or phone:

Australia Council


Information for workshop participants

Workshop participants:please click here to access the "further references" page.

I found that the program challenged some basic assumptions and offered exemplary insights into how organisations can think more strategically, laterally, and responsively. The Arts Governance Program provides a unique opportunity for executive staff and board directors to think about leading collaboratively and ways to develop new strategies for supporting organisational sustainability and ambition. Alexie Glass-Kantor, Executive Director, Artspace

As founder and CEO of a newly established charity I found the governance workshop extremely valuable. Firstly, because of the open and informative discussions led by the Our Community experts. Secondly, the new contacts, supports and resources made. Lastly, because of the reassurance that the issues we have experienced and are still currently working through are all 'normal' and that many others in the room had similar experiences I could learn from and take note of. Key takeaways: Don't panic, work through it with your board and always go back to the artistic vision!! Jacinda Richards, Founder & CEO, L2R

Thank you for creating these governance sessions tailored to the not-for-profit arts sector. Sometimes we need to refocus and be reminded that boards aren't just there to sign the audit papers, that it's a very important leadership role they are fulfilling. I was particularly glad to find that the workshop focused on the importance of the organisation's artistic vision and the board's role in its stewardship. I recommend board members and CEOs from small to medium arts organisations take up this opportunity to refresh their governance knowledge and to focus on ensuring their artistic vision is central to decision making. Sally Farr, CEO/GM Western Edge Youth Arts

As an experienced director, the Arts Governance program gave me an excellent opportunity to discuss governance issues with like-minded directors and to refresh my knowledge. I found the 'who owns the artistic vision' discussion and the challenge of linking the artistic vision to the organisation's strategic vision very interesting. As a result of my involvement, I have identified several issues to investigate further with my organisation and board in the coming months. Vicki Coltman, Deputy Chair, Art Gallery of Ballarat

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