First class 'entrepreneurs' to improve fundraising for the arts


DARE, the unique partnership between Opera North and the University of Leeds, has announced the appointment of the first new Fellowships to improve fundraising for the arts.

The 11 Fellows have been selected from a field of almost 200 applicants as part of the Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy Consortium – of which DARE is a participant – which aims to professionalise arts sector fundraising.

The Arts Fundraising Fellowship Programme, the first of its kind in the UK, hopes to create the next generation of leading development directors skilled with the vision, entrepreneurial expertise and ingenuity to make significant difference to the arts fundraising landscape. 

The University of Leeds’ Cultural and Creative Industries Exchange will manage the quality assurance and evaluation of the programme, led by Professor David Platten from the School of Modern Languages and Cultures. It will also certify the Fellowships.

Funded by Arts Council England (ACE), the first tranche of Fellowships were chosen by a panel of experts, including Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair of ACE, following an assessment day at the University of Leeds. 

The Fellows will now participate in an intensive 12-month training programme, including gaining valuable hands-on experience in fundraising, and will be expected to make a real contribution to their host organisation. 

The new Arts Fundraising Fellows and their organisations are:

Jill Richens: A New Direction; Stephanie Graham: Barbican; Sarah Ruff: Dance UK; Naomi Allen: Free Word; Sarah Johnston: Opera North; Tom Bevan: Royal Northern College of Music; Emma Pickering: Sadler’s Wells; Adam Cooper: Sage Gateshead; Bex Shindler: Tate Liverpool; Dana Segal: The Roundhouse; Sandie Mattioli: Whitechapel Gallery.

Sir Peter Bazalgette said: “I’m delighted to welcome these talented, entrepreneurial Fellows to this innovative programme. It is crucial that the arts harness the brightest and best minds to work in the important field of arts fundraising and I’ve no doubt that this first cohort of Arts Fundraising Fellows will make a dynamic contribution.”

Professor David Platten, University of Leeds, said: “This first cohort of Fellows will benefit from a pioneering, practice-based career development programme, supported by leaders in the sector.  I am delighted that this initiative seeks to raise the status of this critical profession.” 

Richard Mantle, Chair of Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy and General Director of Opera North, said:  “The Arts Fundraising Fellowship Programme responds to the shortage of skilled arts fundraisers at a time when many organisations have seen significant cuts and need to be flexible and entrepreneurial in the pursuit of alternative income sources.”

Earlier this year, Arts Council England (ACE) announced that the Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy Consortium would be the recipient of a major award through its Transforming Arts Fundraising commissioned grant. Working in partnership with ACE National Portfolio Organisations and across the wider arts sector, the Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy Consortium will deliver an England-wide programme of training, apprenticeships, coaching and digital skills development to promote innovative and effective practice in arts fundraising.

Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy Consortium partners include arts and education organisations across London in collaboration with development and fundraising enterprise Cause4, DARE (Opera North/University of Leeds), the Arts Marketing Association (AMA) and the European Sponsorship Association (ESA). 

Images courtesy of Steve Riding (Opera North) 

Further information 

Contact Gareth Dant, Press Officer, Communications, University of Leeds on 0113 34 33996 or email: