TAC Leaders Lab
TAC Leaders Lab is a facilitated program for arts professionals to enhance leadership capacity in Toronto’s arts and culture sectors.
For questions about this program, contact Peter Kingstone, Program Manager
Toronto Arts Council (TAC) is seeking enterprising creative individuals to participate in the TAC Leaders Lab. This program has been created by TAC and Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) to enhance leadership capacity in Toronto’s arts and culture sectors. The program is designed for arts professionals who have demonstrated the potential to lead change in their organizations, communities or arts sectors. TAC Leaders Lab is, as its name suggests, an evolving program. The experience of each year’s cohort is slightly different as TMU works with TAC to develop the most effective experience for Toronto’s arts leaders. The program stresses a balance between personal and professional development. Participants will be selected in a competitive process managed by TAC. The ideal candidate will share a deep desire to challenge their concept of leadership and manifest change in Toronto’s arts sector. The panel is tasked with choosing a cohort that represents a diversity of practice and ideas but can work together and they will embrace the open exchange of ideas in a cross-disciplinary environment. This means that many worthwhile candidates may not be selected and are encouraged to apply again the following year.
The goal of the program is to build a network of open-minded, creative problem-solvers and innovative thinkers from across arts disciplines, who will explore concepts and practices of relational leadership. The program focuses on power/influence, resilience/self-care, systems/networks, and community/civic engagement. Our aim is to strengthen leadership capacity in the arts sector, by creating bridges, networks, tools and the space for exchanging different perspectives and approaches. The TAC Leaders Lab aims to support individual leaders as they develop collaborative solutions to complex challenges. Finally, the program is designed to invigorate and inspire one of Toronto’s most vital assets – our arts leaders – and to ensure their future capacity to drive the health and success of the sector and the city as a whole.
TAC Leaders Lab participants will make a commitment to attend a one-week intensive leadership retreat in Spring, and activities and exchanges every second week at TMU for the year. Those applicants with full time employment are asked to submit a letter of support from their employer confirming that they will be granted paid time off to attend the retreat and Toronto sessions. Employed applicants who do not have the support of their employer are still eligible to participate in the program but must commit to making the necessary arrangements to take leave from work as required.
Schedule of events:
- Retreat (TBC): April 29, 2024 - May 3, 2024
- Monthly Sessions (none in Aug or Dec or March): May 22, 2024 - Feb 1, 2025
- Guest Facilitator: May 22, 2024
- Uriwangyuhs Conversations - Team 1: June 19, 2024
- Uriwangyuhs Conversations - Team 2: July 17, 2024
- Guest Facilitator Session: September 18, 2024
- Leaders Lab: City Hall Visit (6-hour field trip) (TBC): November 6, 2024
- Arts Ecology Case Study - Create Teams & Structure: January 15, 2025
- Arts Ecology Case Study - Team Working Session: February 19, 2025
- Arts Ecology Case Study - Presentations & Handover Lunch: April 2, 2025
WHAT TO EXPECT
Through a process led by facilitators from across disciplines and sectors, participants in the TAC Leaders Lab will enhance the skills, tools, networks and knowledge that will support personal leadership growth and new collaborative opportunities.
Participants of the program can expect to:
- Engage in an intensive leadership process at the retreat aimed at reframing personal perspectives and challenges;
- Examine the multiple contexts of the Toronto arts ecology;
- Identify key challenges in leadership development, and the necessary steps to create positive action;
- Exchange information and ideas related to personal leadership, change strategies, creative place-making, equity, community engagement, collaboration and best practices in arts leadership;
- Build an active network of Toronto peers working in different disciplines;
- Share opportunities for participation in the activities of Leaders Lab participants;
- Participate in ongoing evaluation of the program including surveys and interviews;
- Engage with innovative leaders from the arts and other sectors about change-making initiatives;
- Make a year-long commitment to the program that will include events in Toronto focused on skills and connections, and online engagement with fellow participants;
- Challenge assumptions.
All program costs will be covered by TAC and include the following:
- Transportation, meals and lodging at the retreat.
- A stipend oto cover business and personal costs during the program.
Projects involving Deaf artists and artists with disabilities may apply for a TAC Accessibility Grant by completing the Accessibility Expenses section of the application. A TAC Accessibility grant will provide up to a maximum of $5,000 towards accessibility costs incurred during the program. Accessibility costs include but are not limited to: ASL interpretation, audio description, closed captioning, communications assistants, and attendant care.
This program is open to professional arts workers living and working in Toronto. TAC recognizes the diversity of artistic, administrative, generational and cultural leadership styles and backgrounds that make up the Toronto arts sector and will factor that into its selection process.
Each applicant must:
- Be a permanent resident of Toronto;
- Be a professional arts worker1;
- Have demonstrated leadership qualities in the arts and culture sphere;
- Have demonstrated experience with community engagement;
- Not be an employee of the City of Toronto.
1 TAC recognizes that due to systemic barriers within the broader arts community (e.g. limited mainstream presentation opportunities for artists from equity-seeking communities) that some flexibility may be required in interpreting eligibility criteria to take into account equivalent professional experience and contexts. Potential applicants from equity-seeking communities are encouraged to discuss their eligibility with the program manager in advance of submitting an application.
TAC has two distinct funding envelopes: 1) Arts Discipline funding (e.g. discipline-specific project grants and operating grants) and 2) Strategic funding (e.g. Animating Historic Sites, Animating Toronto Parks, Artists in the Library, etc.). Eligibility exception: you are able to receive a grant from this program in addition to one other grant from the Arts Discipline envelope and one other grant from the Strategic funding envelope per calendar year. Applicants are not eligible if they have an outstanding final report in any other program within the Strategic funding envelope (e.g. Animating Historic Sites, Animating Toronto Parks, Artists in the Library, etc.).
TAC ACCESSIBILITY GRANT
Projects involving Deaf artists and artists with disabilities may apply for an additional TAC grant by completing the Accessibility Expenses section of the application and including the requisite information in their budget. A TAC Accessibility grant will provide up to a maximum of $5,000 towards accessibility costs for artists incurred during the project. Accessibility costs include but are not limited to: ASL interpretation, audio description, closed captioning, communications assistants, attendant care (including helpers for Elders), support workers and equipment rentals or other supports required to meet artists' accessibility needs).
Discover more TAC grants
Arts leadership resources
Learn more about the TAC Leaders Lab Fellows