Front & Centre

Front & Centre: Arts Leadership Program for Women with Disability 

Produced by Accessible Arts with support from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Office for Women,Front & Centre is a professional development program for women with disability and/or who are d/Deaf working in the arts, creative and cultural sectors across NSW, the ACT and VIC. This is made possible with the support of Arts Access Victoria. 

Front & Centre addresses the issue of a lack of representation of women and people living with disability in leadership roles through an accelerated leadership development program as well as introductions and connections to decision-makers and influencers, and advocacy around the issue of representation by people living with disability.  

Outcomes of the program will include:   

  • increased and intersectional diversity in arts, creative and cultural leadership    
  • career development – changes in career aspirations and strategic actions taken   
  • advocacy – introductions, speaking engagements, publications   
  • connections – network of leaders and influencers supporting the program   
  • representation – participants will be encouraged to take active steps towards further leadership development.   

The program comprises of:  

  • Online group sessions throughout 2022, including onboarding information sessions and workshops, and webinars on topics including self-expression, service, community, self-care, and financial literacy.  
  • Eight private career and leadership coaching sessions online with accredited specialist arts and creative leadership coach Judith Bowtell of Albany Lane Consulting ( Access to Albany Lane’s Learning Lab, including the online Career Development program’s self-assessment tools and values and skills matrix.  
  • Access to Front & Centre Facebook group and alumni, and support from the Accessible Arts team.  
  • Graduation event in Sydney in November 2022 (pending Public Health orders)  

Key Dates   

  • Mon 21 Sept 2021 – Applications open    
  • Wed 20 Oct 2021 – Online Information Session at 2pm  
  • Mon 1 Nov 2021 – Applications close at 5pm AEST  
  • Fri 26 Nov 2021 – All applicants to be informed decision via email.    
  • Feb 2022 to Nov 2022 – Onboarding program (online information sessions and workshops)   
  • Graduation Ceremony to be confirmed.  

Front & Centre is open to women with disability or who are d/Deaf, or who have a chronic illness or mental health condition, and are living in NSW, the ACT or VIC.   

First Nations women, women from culturally linguistic backgrounds, older women, women in regional NSW, VIC and Western Sydney are encouraged to apply.  

Selection Criteria  
Selection will be based on the following criteria:   

  • Commitment to own development as an artist, creative, arts or cultural worker   
  • Community an involvement in activities outside of own creative practise or organisation   
  • Awareness of issues affecting the arts sector in NSW/VIC and Australia   
  • Coach-ability and willingness to take feedback and self-reflect, and openness to external challenges   
  • Diversity an understanding of the importance of diversity in sustainability of arts culture, barriers to representation and one’s own place within the arts and cultural sector.   

Applicants will be asked to outline an idea for a small project that you would like to undertake throughout 2022, that will demonstrate your leadership potential. You will have further opportunities to change or refine this project throughout the Front & Centre program.   

Your project outline should include: 

  • How will you be able to express yourself as a leader through the project? 
  • What group or community will it benefit, serve, or support? 
  • What will be the impact or legacy of the project in that group or community? 

It’s important to note that you may or may not complete the project during the Front & Centre program. The size, scale and even the completion of your project is not essential to you, as a developing leader, getting the benefits of the program.   

Accessible Arts will not be providing resources or funding for any of the projects during the Front & Centre program.   

Please note that applications for this program closed on 1 Nov 2021.  

Front & Centre Guidelines PDFWord

Applications will also be accepted in formats accessible to the applicant including Auslan, audio, video, printed, dictated, electronic and handwritten formats. Please contact to discuss your access needs.   


About Front & Centre Program Coach Judith Bowtell 

Judith Bowtell is a career and leadership coach who specialises in supporting people in the arts, creative and community sectors. She has been coaching executives and emerging leaders to develop their self-awareness, confidence and strategic skills since 2012, through her coaching practice Albany Lane Consulting Pty Ltd –  

Judith has had 25 years’ experience in arts strategy and policy, in funding and cultural agencies, and leading arts companies as CEO, chair and board member.  

Her coaching practice is a holistic, sensitive and dynamic approach which is particularly suited for: navigating major life transitions, transforming blocks, resolving inner conflict, generating cultural change and developing authentic power, self-mastery and leadership skills.  

Throughout her working life, Judith has been committed to seeing and developing the diversity of arts and cultural workers, especially women.   

In 2019, she designed and delivered the pilot Front & Centre program, in partnership with Accessible Arts, and with the support of the NSW Government (Women NSW).    

Image description: A smiling woman with shoulder length auburn hair and a dark blue top.

Testimonials from Previous Front & Centre Participants 

“This program is a great leadership program which is so empowering and informative for everyone including people living with disability.”  

“The program helped me work past some insecurities and identify unhelpful self-doubt and helped me decide to keep pursuing my plans. I would like to be known as a leader through collaboration and supporting others to build capacity.”   

“I was reminded that everything I do has an impact on these communities that I serve and how making connections and promoting inclusion is an important aspect of leadership”  

“I definitely believe the program improved my interpersonal skills, so I can now speak more confidently and productively with others in the arts industry. I think the program has also given me the confidence to envision a bolder future for myself.” 

“This program has improved my own self-awareness, in which I learned to know how my emotions and situations can affect my outlook on life and goals. This included learning how to prepare and to plan for the future and getting into self-care routines.” 

“I’m just so grateful that I was included in the program. I’ve never had coaching before and Judith was so wonderfully supportive, efficient, and fun to talk to. I appreciate everything Judith, Liz, and Accessible Arts have done for me, I can only say my heartfelt thanks. I never felt like an outsider during the program, and I know that’s because you guys have made a special effort to make everyone feel inclusive and welcome. You guys are awesome!”   



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