Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Job Advert: Creative Director for START: Thurrock Creative People and Place

Creative Director for START: Thurrock Creative People and Place

Information for applicants

Creative Director, START: Thurrock

(£40,000 – £44,000 per annum, dependent upon experience)

Full time, fixed term contract to 31st March 2025

(contract may be extended subject to funding for future phases)

For an informal discussion, please contact Scott Sullivan via scott@sbsa.co.uk 

Closing date for applications: midnight, Sunday 5th June 2022

We are working towards becoming a disability confident employer, if you identify as a disabled person and have specific access requirements then please let us know and we will make reasonable adjustments to support your needs.

Part 1: About Us

Our new Creative People and Place is START: Thurrock (Stronger Together Arts) through which our community will take the lead in creating a new story for Thurrock.  START will energise our people in the forging of a confident new arts-led narrative post pandemic.  With control held locally through our STARTer panels and inspired by our motto ‘By Thames to all peoples of the world’, we will form, write, tell and review our story over the next decade.  

Hosted by Tilbury on the Thames Trust as lead organisation with help from Thurrock Council, Thurrock Lifestyle Solutions CIC, Thurrock CVS and the Royal Opera House as ‘custodians not controllers’, we cannot wait to start cultivating, showcasing and growing world class creativity in the heart of our communities!

About Creative People and Places

Creative People and Places is a national action learning programme funded by Arts Council England.  It’s about more people taking the lead in choosing, creating and taking part in brilliant art experiences in the places where they live.  It focuses on parts of the country where involvement in arts and culture is significantly below the national average.  Creative People and Places programmes cover 56 local authority areas, including 11 entirely new areas announced in December 2021 – including Thurrock

About START: Thurrock CPP

START: Thurrock responds to low levels of engagement in arts and culture relative to the national picture.  At 35.8%, this was the lowest level in the East of England region without a CPP in place.  We want to increase this from 35.8% to 50% over 3 years (84,887 people) by facilitating public-led cultural programming through 7 action learning projects that develop place, develop cultural supply and demand, and increase quality and ambition by placing communities in the driving seat of cultural provision:

  1. Experiences: Action learning in Thurrock by community and creative sectors to increase public engagement quality
  2. Inspiration: Action learning outside Thurrock by community and creative sectors to increase artistic quality and ambition.  Includes CPP Peer Learning.
  3. Front Cover: New cultural activities for Thurrock audiences in safe spaces
  4. Chapters: Meanwhile spaces and support for Thurrock creatives to deliver public engagement
  5. Table of Contents: Central place to navigate Thurrock’s cultural calendar and possibilities, supporting public involvement and decision-making
  6. Thurrock Story: Flagship cultural programme in prime places by and for Thurrock audiences building from existing strengths
  7. Book Review: Reviewing and presenting our story to a national audience as part of peer learning and national evaluation.

About the START: Thurrock CPP Core Consortium

Tilbury on the Thames Trust is lead applicant.  Initiated by local people in 2015, TTT now works closely with the Port of Tilbury, co-designing the future of Tilbury Cruise Terminal to blend community and commercial use.  TTT is financially backed by the Port of Tilbury, which will extend corporate back-office functions to START CPP in-kind.  We believe inclusion of a CPP within the CSR programme of a high-profile commercial partner is unique, potentially yielding fascinating lessons for national sector development and peer learning.

Thurrock CVS represents our voluntary and community sector – around 500 voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise groups in Thurrock.  Thurrock CVS services the sector through development support, capacity building, liaison work, advocacy and partnership development.  Thurrock CVS is the driver behind ‘Stronger Together’, Thurrock’s ABCD programme – the foundation for START CPP.

Royal Opera House (ROH) represents our arts sector, providing recognised expertise in establishing cultural engagement programmes within Thurrock.  The Learning and Participation Team will lead on START on behalf of ROH, supporting our core consortium to translate the artistic excellence and principles behind the Trailblazer Cultural Catalogue into the START ‘Table of Contents’ – helping our Kickstarters navigate the creative sector.  

Thurrock Lifestyle Solutions (TLS) CIC services Thurrock’s disabled community via inclusion and offers invaluable experience in facilitating empowerment to shape service provision; 100% of their board identify as disabled.  TLS also provides recognised expertise in social enterprise, having been listed 1st on the NatWest SE100 index for the East of England.  TLS owns 5 residential properties, minibuses, an office and 7 locality buildings covering all Thurrock, supporting over 250 disabled people with 135 local support staff.  START CPP will benefit from this infrastructure to engage disabled people, building on the connections already engaged.  TLS spends over £20,000 per year on local artists.

Thurrock Council will link our CPP to Thurrock’s place-making programme including major regeneration initiatives such as Purfleet Media Village, borough cultural services including the library, museum and theatre, public health and wellbeing agendas, and regional initiatives such as the South East Creative Economy Network, Thames Estuary Production Corridor and the Towns Fund.  This includes tying our CPP development to a collectively owned arts, culture and heritage strategy.

Part 2: About the Role

We are seeking a new Creative Director to join us at a watershed moment as we seek to translate our vision for a community-led START: Thurrock into reality.  Your remit will be to lead on the delivery of the START: Thurrock programme to increase cultural engagement across Thurrock by listening to our residents and delivering a cultural programme that responds to demand whilst raising aspirations and expectations.

We are looking for an exceptional creative leader and an enabler of others with the ability to provide strong, ambitious and imaginative leadership needed for START: Thurrock CPP.  You will have experience in developing and managing teams, setting strategy and the ability to implement an artistic vision in true collaboration and partnership with the public.

You will have the ability to both lead strategy and address the detail in a small team focussed on delivery.  You will believe passionately in the value of art and culture in people’s lives and want to make a difference.

We actively encourage people from a variety of backgrounds with different experiences, skills and stories to apply for this opportunity.  

Job Description

Job Title Creative Director, START: Thurrock

Reporting to Tilbury on the Thames Trust Director (day to day) and START: Thurrock Core Consortium (strategic)

General purpose:

Deliver an innovative and relevant community-led cultural programme, ensuring residents in Thurrock have access to opportunities to lead, create and experience fantastic art and culture

With support from the Core Consortium and Tilbury on the Thames Trust, develop a new Business Plan for START: Thurrock covering its first 3 years

Lead on raising partnership support from earned income, businesses, trusts and foundations, and other public sources to build support for START: Thurrock CPP

Steer fundraising efforts (with the support of a freelance fundraising post) to secure delivery and develop sustainability of START: Thurrock beyond March 2025

Take day-to-day responsibility for direct delivery of START: Thurrock CPP, facilitating the Core Consortium and other key stakeholders, budget control and evaluation, and leading and supporting the staff team (which we envisage will include an Engagement Officer, Marketing Officer and Admin/Finance Officer)

Key responsibilities

Artistic Programming

Oversee the development and delivery of a dynamic and exciting community-led arts programme in Thurrock in line with the START: Thurrock vision and Arts Council England Creative People and Places Programme

Ensure that the programme is inclusive and reflects the diversity and voice of our communities

Oversee the development and maintenance of strong relationships with artists, companies, cultural organisations and local government to support the work of START: Thurrock CPP

Use specialist and diverse artform expertise to develop and attract outstanding new artistic work to Thurrock

Develop the strong creative offer through empowering community decision-making, an innovative programme of arts events, projects and activities, the effective use of community commissioning panels, and connecting to communities in different and relevant ways

Ensure the development and use of effective evaluation processes, sharing outcomes publicly and across the cultural sector

With the support of the programme team, take an active role in event planning, facilitation and delivery of events and activities.

Strategic Development and Management

Lead on the development and delivery of the START: Thurrock 2022-25 Business Plan with the Core Consortium and Tilbury on the Thames Trust board, as agreed with Arts Council England

Oversee the effective coordination of the activities of Core Consortium, Associate Partner Forum and STARTer Panels, supporting them with timely and clear information, analysis and planning documents to enable them to fulfil their roles

Work closely with lead organisation Tilbury on the Thames Trust directors to ensure that the organisation runs effectively in support of START: Thurrock CPP

Cultivate and nurture relationships and trust in our communities

External Relations and Communications

Lead on marketing and audience development for the programme, supporting the staff team members with delegated responsibility for this. 

Raise the profile and community awareness of START: Thurrock

Act as the main representative for START: Thurrock, advocating for its mission and work at a local, regional and national level

Lead the development of an online presence for START: Thurrock including the creation of new branding and design

Direct and maintain an overview of all aspects of START: Thurrock communications, branding and design


Lead on, develop and manage the Fundraising Strategy, drawing on freelance fundraising support where needed to lead on funding applications and partnerships to support organisational work and programme delivery, and ensuring income generation across a range of sources including earned income, sponsorship and donations

Financial Management

Oversee compliance with Tilbury on the Thames Trust and Core Consortium approved financial procedures, to ensure accurate and timely annual and project budgeting, financial management and reporting.  This will be supported by a Finance and Admin Officer with back office functions provided by the Port of Tilbury

Ensure accurate and timely financial reporting on a regular basis to the Tilbury on the Thames Trust board, Core Consortium, Arts Council England and other stakeholders


Recruit, supervise and motivate START: Thurrock staff and freelance artists and contractors, promoting a culture of initiative and collaboration

Work closely with Tilbury on the Thames Trust directors to ensure our operational policies and procedures are robust, and Tilbury on the Thames Trust complies with its legal obligations; including data collection, employment-related policies and obligations, Equality and Diversity Action Plan, and Environmental Action Plan

Take day-to-day responsibility for ensuring all programme activity complies with current legislation 


Oversees the successful implementation of the governance structure of core consortium, associate partners and STARTer panels 

Ensure the ongoing connections between the governance to maintain the core consortium role as ‘custodians, not controllers’, associate partners as advocates and that cultural commissioning decisions sit with the STARTer panels to ensure community leadership

Provide support to core consortium members, associate partners and residents to fulfil their respective governance roles

Evaluation and Monitoring

Develop and oversee the effective delivery of the START: Thurrock evaluation framework, including ensuring the effective audience data capture and reporting to funders as required

Act as the lead contact for ACE reporting

Play an active role within the Creative People and Place national evaluation framework, including the peer learning network, submitting case studies and representing the programme at conferences and events as required

Represent and advocate for START: Thurrock externally through speaking engagements and participation in local and national forums

Build environmental sustainability into programme delivery

The Creative Director will carry out other reasonable duties, as requested by the Core Consortium.  The summary of key responsibilities above is a guide to the nature of the work required of this position.

Person Specification

Essential Experience

Demonstrable management experience at senior level in an arts, cultural or community organisation

Recruiting talented individuals and leading/managing teams

Developing and sustaining exceptional arts, cultural and/or creative initiatives and programmes

Track record of engaging communities as decision-makers and leaders in creative projects

Managing large scale projects with significant budgets

Track record of fundraising and income generation

Programming/producing/curating professional arts projects

Risk aware but not risk averse

Desirable Experience

Previous experience of working in or knowledge of Creative People and Place programmes

Experience of working across multiple art forms

Experience with Thurrock communities

Essential Skills

Excellent negotiations and advocacy

Strong financial management skills and the ability to analyse budgets

Strategic planning and the skills to translate national aims and aspirations into a deliverable local/regional programme

Ability to broker and develop effective partnerships with a broad range of stakeholders

Ability to diplomatically negotiate between competing artists and enable collaborations and cooperation

Creative and innovative thinker, including effective problem-solving skills

Enabler and facilitator

Understanding of and commitment to a broad range of art forms

Understands the needs and aspirations of creative people

Understanding of culture led and place-based regeneration

Understanding of aims and objectives of Creative People and Place projects

Well networked in cultural and creative sector

Desirable Knowledge

Knowledge of Thurrock and the Thames Estuary, including local entrepreneurial spirit

The establishment of sustainable business models

Essential Personal Qualities

Enabler and facilitator

Able to work under pressure, multitask and to set and meet strict deadlines

Enthusiasm and determination

Outgoing personality, able to engage with a wide range of different people

Other Essential

DBS Check

Other Desirable

Driving Licence

Part 3: Recruitment Process

Tilbury on the Thames Trust is committed to equality of opportunity and access for all.  We recognise the positive value of diversity and promote, equality.  We welcome and encourage applications from everyone, irrespective of their age, gender, class, marital status, nationality, ethnic origin, disability, religious belief or sexual orientation or any other protected characteristics listed under the Equality Act.

To apply, please submit:

  • A letter of application setting out why you are applying, your interest in the position, and how your skills and experience match the job description and person specification (maximum 1,000 words) OR equivalent video/audio submission that is no longer than 5 minutes
  • Details of 2 referees, one being your current or most recent employer
  • Your CV

Deadline for applications is midnight on Sunday 5th June 2022

Shortlisted applicants will be contacted by 20th June and invited to complete a psychometric questionnaire.

Interviews will take place the week beginning 27th June 2022 in Thurrock (venue to be confirmed)

If you would like to talk about the role, you can contact Scott Sullivan at scott@sbsa.co.uk 


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