Cultural Leadership

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Program Information

Cultural Leadership at Banff Centre

Please note, this program is now closed for applications, and applicants will be notified of their status in the program by September 29, 2017.


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

Shifting public interest, the changing role of civic institutions in society, and the impact of technology are just a few forces altering what it means to be an artistic, creative or cultural organization today. Leading such an organization is complex, and requires a profound understanding of the communities that organization serves, and the systems in which it operates. 

Banff Centre's Cultural Leadership program is uniquely positioned to equip participants with the competencies, skills, and frameworks to navigate the complexity of, and explore leadership within, the Canadian cultural sector. The program builds skills, networks, and contextual knowledge to help leaders make a lasting impact.

This 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, up to full program tuition, meals, and accommodation underwriting, is available. 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 participants throughout the year as learning coaches. In addition, for each session and topic area, participants 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 cohort of cultural leaders to understand and explore the increasingly complex and interdependent cultural environment in which they operate
  • equip them with the competencies, skills, and conceptual frameworks to navigate the landscape of the Canadian cultural sector
  • develop awareness of and build networks that enable them to succeed

Who should apply?

Leaders interested in honing and developing a comprehensive set of competencies to prepare them for significant leadership roles within the artistic and/or cultural sectors, including both for and not-for-profit organizations, collectives, and non-traditional partnerships. Applicants should:

  • have some demonstrated leadership experience, and an ability to recognize opportunities and design and implement solutions
  • be actively pursuing or considering cultural leadership opportunities (roles or projects) of increasing scale and complexity
  • be an outspoken, active, and recognized advocate within their respective artistic or cultural communities
  • be willing to take risks, reimagine possibilities, and be 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 Canadian leaders.

Programs help participants bring creative and reflective approaches to a rapidly changing world, and connect leaders with others who share their commitment to positive change in Canadian Indigenous communities, businesses, non-profit organizations, cultural institutions, and government.

The Cultural Leadership Program is generously supported by BMO Financial Group. 


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.

Session one: November 12-16, 2017 at Banff Centre

Session two: January 14-18, 2018 at Banff Centre

Session three: March 25-29, 2018, at NTS in Montreal

Session four: June 3-7, 2018 at Banff Centre

In addition, there will be three or four half-day virtual sessions, and individual assignments throughout the program.  

Program Themes


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

If you choose the Accommodation and Meal Package, 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 BistroLe CaféThree 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 & 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.

Fees & Financial Assistance

$23 500.00
Meals & Accommodation Package
$5 240.00

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

Significant funding, up to full program tuition, meals, and accommodation underwriting, is available. 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


Please include an up-to-date resume that illustrates your professional trajectory, and includes contact information for two professional references who can speak to your suitability for this program. Providing this information at this stage signals consent for Banff Centre to contact your references directly.

Personal Statement

Please refer to the following questions to guide the writing of your statement of interest:

  • Briefly describe the scope of your experience in the arts and/or culture sectors, and offer specific examples of projects you have led from conception to completion.
  • What project or accomplishment are you most proud of? Why?
  • What calls you to do the work you currently do?
  • Why is this the right program for you?
  • Why is this the right time for you to participate in the learning offered by this program?
  • What challenges you have consistently faced in this sector?
  • What are three opportunities you see that could create considerable impact in this sector?

Application for Funding

Please share a one-page funding request summary, which includes the following:

1. Your organization’s history, mission, and activities, and your role and responsibilities and length of service with the organization. 

2. The reasons why assistance is required (e.g. limits in your organization’s training budget, how many employees are covered by that amount, availability of training in your area, etc.). 

3. Charitable registration number, if applicable. 

4. The anticipated benefits you and your organization will derive from your participation in this program. 

5. A description of how you anticipate sharing the learning from the program with your team, your organization, and throughout your sector.

6. Name of your supervisor or board chair. 

7. Your financial contribution to attendance of a program, plus that of your organization. 

8. The names of other agencies to whom you have applied for funding for this program and the amounts requested. 

9. The minimum amount of funding required from Banff Centre.

Application Process

To submit your application and support materials, sign up or login to an existing account in our online portal SlideRoom. Please be sure of your exact program title so that you upload your support materials to the program to which you are applying.

SlideRoom allows you to login and edit your submission as often as required. However, once your application materials have been submitted, no further changes will be allowed.

Please note that SlideRoom is a third party site and you will be subject to the terms and conditions of that vendor. Contact for any technical assistance. You can also access the SlideRoom help desk.

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: