Barra Culture – Programme Director

Creative People and Places


Barra Culture is looking to appoint an exceptional individual, a well-connected creative leader to be an integral part of the cultural change in Barrow-in-Furness. Barra Culture is one of 12 Creative People and Places (CPP) projects recently awarded funding by Arts Council England with the aim of increasing participation in the arts, particularly amongst those least involved.


Those in Barrow who already engage in the arts are absolutely passionate about it, but currently the town lacks the range of opportunities for participation that people in cities and more affluent towns take for granted. Residents in Barrow face significant barriers to taking part and the level of participation in the cultural activity that does take place is amongst the lowest in the country.

This exciting, once-in-a-generation programme aims to transform the cultural landscape and infrastructure in our geographically remote but creative and proud town. The four-year intervention will spark aspiration and pride across the local populace, taking our residents on a journey to explore and celebrate their sense of selves in collaboration with established world class, exciting and innovative new artistic talent.

As Programme Director you will lead in the management of projects across the wider artistic programme, building on the framework outlined in the Barra Culture CPP application document. Working in collaboration with communities in Barrow’s five most deprived wards (Hindpool, Ormsgill, Central, Barrow Island and Walney), Barra Culture’s expected outcomes include a programme of ambitious artists’ residencies, commissions, workshops and events that will culminate in a large scale celebratory festival in Barrow’s town centre. The programme will place emphasis on working with artists, makers, and partner organisations who can help us to develop and explore ground-breaking models of practice in engagement; models that are radical, sustainable outward looking, and with international links. Using the power of the arts to delve into the issues and conversations that preoccupy residents, your goal is to get them excited, enthused and dedicated to arts and culture as both makers and consumers – a key goal is to boost participation to half the population.

Your role will also include working in partnership with our research team to devise and pilot innovative tools for engaging deprived and isolated communities with the arts and finding fresh ways to collect, disseminate and spread our learning.


Below: Full of Noises, Open Source Swan Pedalo 

Barra Culture has been developed and is led by a Consortium of Barrow-based organisations who will provide strategic oversight; with Women’s Community Matters as Lead Partner and accountable body. The Consortium is made up of Brathay Trust, Barrow Borough Council, Cumbria County Council Libraries and Archives and Barrow Arts Group, comprising of Art Gene, The Ashton Group, Full of Noises and Signal Film & Media.


Barrow is a town of extremes, it is presently experiencing growth that is unprecedented in a generation, with emerging projects around the shipyard’s nuclear submarine programme resulting in an estimated £40bn of new manufacturing and infrastructure investment that will extend well into the 2050’s. This, in turn, is creating a new generation of workers in the town, with more young people choosing to remain in Barrow, or return from university to take up some exciting employment opportunities.

At the same time it has 4 of the poorest electoral wards in the country, and is ranked 5th nationally for health deprivation and disability; these are communities that are least engaged in the arts and culture. Barrow-in-Furness also ranks number 1 in the RSA’s Heritage Index of all 325 English Boroughs for its landscape and natural heritage. The Borough has over 40 miles of coast, islands and nature reserves, only minutes away from the dense urban core and the shipyard. The town, the people, Barrovians are a proud and strong community, welcoming people from all around the world as part of the shipyard, off shore windfarms and teaching hospital. It is an exciting vibrant time for Barrow, it’s a unique place to live, work and play.


Below left: Ashton Group’s Theatre Factory, Barrow Library

Below right: Signal Film & Media Workshop 


Download the full Job Description:

BARRA CULTURE – Job Description

Barra Culture – Programme Director – Job Description


Application submission to: Rebecca Rawlings, Senior Officer, Women’s Community Matters at

Closing Date: 5pm, 15th December 2019

Interviews: Tuesday 7th and Wednesday 8th January 2020

Anticipated start date: Monday 17th February 2020

For an informal chat about the post please contact as follows:

Rebecca Rawlings –     01229 311102

Maddi Nicholson –         01229 825085



Below: Art Gene, Inflated Barrow Terrace on Tour, Maddi Nicholson