Unexpected Leaders

Unexpected Leaders are creative activists.

They are Leaders because they are passionate about social change through the arts.

They are Unexpected because they are people who may not usually be recognised for their leadership potential.

In 2020 we are working with three communities to coach new leaders. They will work in their creative communities in Devon, Plymouth and Salford and use their power to make change. This work is supported by a National Lottery Community Fund emergency grant. More news coming soon!

We think by transforming leadership and shifting power, we can change the arts.

Transforming Leadership

In 2020-2022 we are working with four different organisations as part of the ACE funded Transforming Leadership programme. 

We are working with Clore Leadership, The School for Social Entrepreneurs, Women Leaders South West and Rising Arts Agency to try new approaches to diversifying leadership.

  • It has been a privilege to be accepted onto this programme,
    I have met some extraordinary people, I have challenged myself (and others!)
    and I have learned a lot about my own beliefs and internal drives.

    Laura Brennan

  • The Unexpected Leader/Diverse City programme impacted on me personally,
    and once again gave me a great sense of satisfaction and pride
    to be part of this amazing inspirational team.

    Shiya Mohan

  • It empowered me, gave me a platform to speak and enabled me to unchain my inability.
    The goal I wrote with Unexpected Leaders 2 years ago has been achieved today.

    Ayad Mosab

  • Taking part in the Unexpected Leaders programme enabled DJ to take his leadership skills seriously, and understand how to he wants his career to develop – both as an artist and leader.
    Sarah Archdeacon, PA to DJ

In 2014 Diverse City was awarded the Clore Duffield Foundation’s 50th Anniversary Prize in 2014. This funded community engagement work during the Extraordinary Bodies tour of Weighting. We set out to develop a national network of Unexpected Leaders.

Between 2015 and 2016, 10 Unexpected Leaders were selected from Southwark, Stoke-on-Trent, Blackpool & Wyre, Stratford London and Bristol.
Each leader gained experience working with the local community and Extraordinary Bodies circus company. They also received professional coaching to develop their leadership skills and a bursary to continue their personal development.

In 2017-2018 We ran a programme with Clore Leadership to develop disabled coaches to work across the arts.

Clore Duffield Foundation logoWhite logo on a purple background reading: "Women Leaders South West".Arts Council England LogoNational Lottery Funded logo

Photography credits: Richard Blakemore (Page header image)