Engage is seeking to appoint a new Chair of Trustees

Engage wishes to appoint a new Chair of Trustees to take over from Shân Maclennan who stepped down in May having served wonderfully as Chair since 2018.

Engage, the National Association for Gallery Education is the lead body for visual arts engagement represents visual arts education professionals throughout the UK and in over 20 countries worldwide. We support arts educators, organisations, freelancers and artists to work together with communities in dynamic, open exchanges that give everyone the opportunity to learn and benefit from the arts.

This is a pivotal time for Engage as we set out a new strategic direction, having completed an organisational restructure in order to provide more flexibility within the core staff to respond to the fast changing environment for our members, as well as financial stability. We seek a chair who will ensure that a new strategic plan is realised in alignment with Arts Council England ‘Lets Create’.

The Chair will act as an ambassador for Engage, developing relationships with key stakeholders, provide leadership to Engage and its Board; oversee the forward strategy ensuring maximum impact for members and the sector, and will operate within our charitable objectives.

The Chair will support Engage to develop a fundraising strategy to create new revenue streams in order to become less dependent on support currently received from Arts Council England, Creative Scotland, Arts Council of Wales and from trusts and foundations.

The Chair will have experience as a charity trustee, working in small organisations, have credibility with decision makers and will being their networks to Engage.

Engage values and cares passionately about the diversity of its staff, trustees and members. Our board should reflect our diverse sector in order to ensure our network has leadership that draws fully on the different skills and perspectives our country has to offer.

Applications are encouraged from candidates from across the UK, regardless of sex, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, age, religion or belief, and from the broadest range of personal and professional backgrounds. We particularly welcome applications from those from a black or ethnic minority background and people living with a disability.

Read full role description.

Person Specification

We are looking for someone with passion for the visual arts and education.

The ideal candidate will have:


  • Leadership experience, including line management of a senior executive
  • Experience of working collaboratively
  • Experience of being a charity trustee
  • Experience of working with small organisations
  • Significant presence with personal stature and networks that will enhance Engage’s standing
  • Credibility with high level decision makers and those with influence in the visual arts

Skills and knowledge

  • Clear knowledge and understanding of issues affecting arts organisations and specifically visual arts and heritage and education
  • Clear understanding and experience of governance of a charity
  • An understanding of and commitment to the need for promoting cultural diversity and inclusion in the leadership and delivery of Engage’s work
  • Good communication and chairing skills
  • A sound understanding of financial management
  • An appreciation of the need for Engage to diversify its income and a willingness to support the organisation’s fundraising strategy
  • Time to commit to the role and the organisation, both for internal meetings, and in acting as an ambassador and advocate
  • Understanding of and commitment to promoting the aims and objectives of Engage
  • Ability to act as an authority, advocate and leader in the cultural sector and visual arts with an excellent track record of governance
  • Effective personal and communication skills, allied to an ability to be objective, listen, inspire and motivate


Role of the Chair

The new Chair will join a committed Board of Trustees that seeks to support the Director, staff team and members in developing the organisation.

The role of the Chair is to:

  • Lead the board of trustees in setting the strategic direction of Engage within its charitable objects and ensuring that it fulfils its responsibilities for the governance of Engage
  • Work with the Director and the wider Board to develop and deliver the Trust’s strategic direction and goals
  • Act as an ambassador and spokesperson for Engage and assist in developing relationships with key stakeholders
  • Optimise the relationship between trustees and staff
  • While it is an NPO of Arts Council England ensure that Engage’s vision is consistent with its Let’s Create investment principles
  • That Engage has an active and effective fundraising strategy and effective plans to increase membership fees and other new income streams
  • Line managing and supporting the Director whose responsibility is to carry out the day-to-day management of Engage’s affairs and hold regular reviews of performance and the annual appraisal to ensure that the Director is fulfilling their own responsibilities


Terms of Appointment

Engage Trustees are appointed for a three-year period. A maximum of two terms of three years can be served.

The time commitment required is typically 2 to 3 days per month.

This is a voluntary position and is not remunerated. Payment for loss of earning might be possible depending on circumstances. Travel, and when necessary, accommodation expenses may be paid as well and any necessary training and support for this role.


Applying for the post:

We welcome applications from people with a range of diverse backgrounds, particularly people with disabilities, people of colour, people who identify as LGBTQ+ and people from a range of socio-economic and educational backgrounds.

To discuss this opportunity further please contact Jane Sillis, Director, jane.sillis@engage.org.

The outgoing Chair, Shân Maclennan would also be happy to speak to prospective candidates. Please contact Jane Sillis to request an introduction.

To apply, please submit your CV and covering letter addressing the person specification to executiveassistant@engage.org by Monday 23 August, 10am.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to meet with representatives of the Board at a mutually convenient time.


Reasonable adjustments

If you would like a confidential discussion regarding any reasonable adjustments during the process, please also indicate this in the covering email or letter.