Cultural Leadership @ CCF/FCMA

Over the course of the past two years, CCF/FCMA Director Maegen Black participated in two extensive professional development programs that have directly benefited the organization. These programs are open for new applicants now, and she encourages craft sector leaders to consider applying. Read on to find out about her experience, and to learn more about these worthwhile programs. 






I began working with the CCF/FCMA as a Project Manager in May of 2006. Within a short time, I moved into the Interim, and then full time Director role with the organization. I learned on the job from some of the best, with mentors and volunteers from across the country helping to grow the organization into the thriving National Arts Service Organization it is today. I am a product of gumption, openness, and adaptability, paired with dedication and a continuing thirst for productivity. But there is always more to learn.

It is with this open mind – and extensive scholarship and grant support – that I took on two excellent opportunities for further training. Over the past two years I participated in the Cultural Human Resource Council’s Talent to Lead program, and the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity’s Cultural Leadership program. 

Talent to Lead included ten web-based workshops focused on human resources and team development, paired with a series of one-on-one mentorship sessions with a leader in the field. I was lucky to be paired with Richard Hornsby, an active performer, educator, arts administrator and arts advocate. He provided direct advice on ground-level logistical issues, while the workshops delved into relationship development, challenge and conflict management, succession planning, legal rights, and more. It was excellent to learn from seasoned veterans of the arts management world, and the program was provided entirely for free.

The Banff Centre’s Cultural Leadership program was a truly changing experience. Over the course of seven months, including three one-week sessions at the Banff Centre and a single week session at the National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal, I learned from twelve high profile instructors on varying topics of network mapping, change management, business models, evaluation processes, positive hiring and management practices, communication development and the importance of socially engaged practices. All 19 participants in the program were from across the cultural sector, from theatre, dance, music, museums, community development and more.  Each brought their own vision, strengths and challenges to the table, in a truly open and uplifting environment. Every workshop, exercise, lecture and reading was worth the time and energy to do. (A few of my favourites included: the Art Making Change report on Mapping the Landscape of Socially Engaged Artistic Practice, Martha Nussbaums’ Not-for-Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities, and the Strength Deployment Inventory personality test.)

I would like to thank the Bank of Montreal and the Banff Centre, who provided extensive scholarships for the program. Combined with individual grants from the New Brunswick Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture, Arts NB, and the Canada Council for the Arts, as well as my own personal contribution, I was able to cover all expenses for this program without any financial cost to the CCF/FCMA. I want to thank all the agencies and sponsors, and the leadership of the CCF/FCMA who encouraged and supported my leave for these events.

More than anything, I would like to see more craft leaders benefit from these programs. Application deadlines for the next cohort of Talent to Lead and Cultural Leadership programs are coming up in September. Do not miss your chance to expand your capacity, and to take your skills to new heights.