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Cultural Leadership

Further information on future Cultural Leadership programs will be released in spring 2020. Please subscribe to our Leadership e-newsletter to stay updated.

Program Information


Canada's arts and culture sector is undergoing rapid transformation, creating an exciting opportunity for leaders who are committed to and passionate about strengthening this field. 

Several forces are altering what it means to be an artistic, creative, or cultural organization today, including the changing role of these institutions and initiatives within society, an increasing emphasis on equity, a national commitment to truth and reconciliation, and the impact of technology on the way we work and the way we serve our communities.

In this program, you’ll gain the skills and establish the frameworks to navigate the complexity of the Canadian arts and culture sector, and explore leadership roles within the sector. You’ll gain a stronger understanding of who you serve and the systems within which you operate as you build competencies and networks to help you make a lasting impact.

The Cultural Leadership program was developed and is offered in collaboration with Canada’s first Artistic Leadership Development Program at the National Theatre School in Montreal, QC. Significant funding is available, up to full program tuition, meals, and accommodation underwriting. To request financial assistance please see additional information in the How to Apply section, below.

What does the program offer?

Cultural Leadership includes four on-site intensives (three in Banff, one in Montreal) as well as workshops, seminars, and projects that may take place virtually or across Canada. The seven-month program features applied learning, small group work, reflective practice, large group forums, interactive processes, lectures, and case-study analysis. 

The program director and facilitator will be with program participants throughout the year as learning coaches. In addition, for each session and topic area you will be joined by academic guest lecturers and faculty, domain experts, experiential educators, and artists from across disciplines, sectors, and the world.

Cultural Leadership is designed to:    

  • assist a group of leaders in diverse traditional or non-traditional leadership roles to explore and better understand the increasingly complex environment of the Canadian arts and culture sector
  • equip you with the skills and contextual intelligence to navigate the landscape of the sector
  • develop awareness of networks – and build networks – that enable you to succeed

Who should apply?

This program is primarily designed for Canadian arts and culture leaders and/or leaders working in Canada (in traditional and non-traditional leadership roles), as well as leaders working abroad but for Canadian institutions. However, we recognize that all arts leaders are part of an increasingly global system, and international applicants will be considered in respect to building a diverse, broad cohort and network. 

All applicants should be interested in honing and developing a comprehensive set of competencies to prepare them for significant leadership roles in a variety of capacities, including for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, collectives, non-traditional partnerships, and as entrepreneurs.

We are seeking applicants who:

  • have some demonstrated leadership experience, and an ability to recognize opportunities and design and implement solutions
  • are actively pursuing or considering arts and culture leadership opportunities (roles or projects) of increasing scale and complexity
  • are outspoken, active, and recognized advocates within their respective communities
  • are willing to take risks, reimagine possibilities, and are curious and eager to learn
  • approach work and relationships with a spirit of sharing and generosity
  • believe in the role of cultural organizations as civic institutions that foster community growth, development, and wellbeing

About Banff Centre Leadership programs

Banff Centre Leadership programs integrate the power of the arts, the wisdom of Indigenous practice, and the extraordinary beauty of Banff National Park to prepare and empower the next generation of leaders.

The Cultural Leadership program is generously supported by BMO Financial Group, The Globe and Mail, and Thomson Reuters.

Banff Centre Leadership programs are developed with support from the Peter Lougheed Leadership Initiative.


Participants will be expected to attend all four sessions as well as partake in virtual sessions, and individual preparation and study in between the on-site intensives is required.

All accepted participants are asked to sign an agreement stating that they are committed to attending all dates of all four modules. If you are not able to make such a commitment, please do not apply to the program.

Module one: November 10-14, 2019 at Banff Centre
Module two: February 2-6, 2020 at Banff Centre
Module three: March 29 - April 2, 2020, at the National Theatre School in Montreal
Module four: June 7-11, 2020 at Banff Centre

In addition, there will be virtual sessions and individual assignments throughout the program.

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What's Included

AccommodationRead MoreClose

All Leadership participants who choose the Accommodation and Meal Package are provided private rooms with ensuite washrooms in one of our two onsite hotels, the Professional Development Centre or Lloyd Hall. Room upgrades may be available upon request at an additional cost.

Meal PlanRead MoreClose

All of your meals from the start to the end of your program are included; most of your meals will be at Vistas Dining Room, but there may be some special dining events scheduled as well. Please also feel free to visit the Maclab Bistro, Le Café, Three Ravens Restaurant and Wine Bar, but note that these outlets are not included in your meal plan, and thus will be at additional cost.

LibraryRead MoreClose

The Paul D. Fleck Library and Archives is located on the second floor of the Kinnear Centre, and provides access to great books, media, and work space.

Fitness and RecreationRead MoreClose

The Sally Borden Fitness and Recreation Centre is located in the lower floor of the Sally Borden Building, and provides all guests with access to our swimming pool, hot tub, steam room, climbing gym, fitness centre, spin studio, and gymnasium. Massage and physiotherapy appointments may also be booked ahead of time.

Banff Centre AmenitiesRead MoreClose

Enjoy free parking, wifi, and access to the Walter Phillips Gallery while you are a guest at Banff Centre. Our Participant Resources team is also available to assist you with medical support or event information. See our Events Calendar to learn more about what’s going on at Banff Centre while you're onsite.

Fees & Financial Assistance

$17 000.00
Meals & Accommodation Package
$4 192.00
Program Fees with Financial Aid*

*Financial aid up to 100% may be available to cover the costs of tuition and the meals and accommodation package.

Additional nights' accommodation may be available; please contact us for details.

The above fees do not include applicable taxes, such as GST, the Alberta Tourism Levy, and the Tourism Improvement Fee as needed.

Financial Assistance

Most participants receive significant funding up to and including full program tuition, meals, and accommodation underwriting. To request financial assistance please see additional information in the How to Apply section, below.

Call our toll-free number for more details at 1.888.255.6327.

How to Apply

It is important to be aware of all steps included in submitting your application.
Learn more.


Please include an up-to-date and maximum two-page resume that illustrates your professional trajectory.

Statement of Purpose

Within the online application please share experiences, stories, thoughts, or examples of your work that directly reference and explore the six bulleted “Who Should Apply” themes above. (500 words maximum per bullet point).

Application for Funding

Please do not let the program costs dissuade you from applying, as most participants receive full scholarship funding.  

We encourage successful applicants to seek additional external funding or provide a contribution from their organization to attend this program, to cover full or partial tuition or other fees. This will ensure maximum affordability for all, as it allows Banff Centre to allocate available funds to more participants. 

To request these funds, please describe the reasons why you require assistance (e.g. limits in your organization’s training budget, how many employees are covered by that amount, availability of training in your area, etc.). (500 words maximum).

Please note travel is not included in tuition nor in the program meals and accommodation fees, and is the responsibility of the participant. As noted above, these fees do not include applicable taxes, such as GST, the Alberta Tourism Levy, and the Tourism Improvement Fee.


Please submit one to two professional reference letters in support of your application. (One page each maximum).


Participants are selected by impartial adjudicators on the basis of their submitted material. In addition to merit, consideration will be given to the likelihood that the participant's work will benefit from the program.

All programs, faculty, dates, fees, and offers of financial assistance are subject to change. Program fee is subject to applicable taxes. Non-refundable fees and deposits will be retained upon cancellation. Any other fees are refunded at the discretion of the Banff Centre. The application deadline is 11:59 p.m. Mountain Standard Time.

Contact the Registrar

For questions on preparing your application, please contact the Office of the Registrar: