Barra Culture, Programme Director

Creative People & 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) programmes 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 self in collaboration with established world class, exciting and innovative new artistic talent.

The Role

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.


Above: Open Source Swan Pedalo, Full of Noises

Barra Culture

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.

Barra Culture has received £1.93 million from Arts Council England over a four-year period, with a match-funding requirement, and therefore a minimum fundraising target, of a further £700K. Barrow is a stimulating town with a strong, distinctive commitment to culture and this is an exciting time for the right person to be leading a change-making programme like Barra Culture.




Below from left: Ashton Group’s Theatre Factory, Barrow Library Below. Signal Film & Media Workshop


Salary: £40-45k (dependent on experience)

Place of Work: The position will be based in the office of Women’s Community Matters, within the Nan Tait Centre, Abbey Road, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria LA14 1LG

Please note the closing date of 5pm on 30th August 2020.

Interviews will take place on 10th September 2020


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

Rebecca Robson  – – 01229 311102

Maddi Nicholson  –  – 01229 825085

If you require this application in an alternative format please let us know.

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


Further Reading