Friday 29 May to Sunday 31 May 2015 

Resilient leadership for charities and art organisations in tough times

“Many senior museum and Gallery Directors have little opportunities to discuss the challenges they face. Given their positions, the number of people with whom they can talk openly is sometimes limited. This event sounds like a real opportunity for sharing and growth.”

Pim Baxter, Deputy Director, National Portrait Gallery Co-Chair, Women Leaders in Museums Network

This is a three-day Group Relations networking event exploring personal and professional issues, offering an opportunity for leaders in the arts, museums and the not-for-profit sectors to come together in a safe and inspirational environment.

Staying alive in tough times

In these turbulent times there is a tangible public need for the arts, museums and charities, and yet at the same time attacks are being made on these sectors. Arts and heritage organisations are valued, and yet undermined.

What happens to us as leaders in such situations? How do we stay alive and in good working order?

We all struggle to be effective, and need situations in which to experiment before responding to risky challenges in life and work.

The aim of this event is to share experiences, and to develop the confidence to reflect critically on challenges and take positive action.

The three-day Group Relations event will be experiential, offering the opportunity to learn through the experience of taking risks in a safe environment, away from our everyday work life. The event will offer a chance to reflect on the personal and group dynamics of stagnation and change, and to think about how to engage with difficult situations. You will have the opportunity to assess your own reactions, and those of your fellow participants. This experience will give you useful ‘tools’ to help you deal with complex governance situations and rapidly changing and possibly deteriorating circumstances.

How will we work?

Together we will explore typical situations which confront us in the workplace: negotiations, work-group and organisational dynamics and questions of authority and of being a leader or a follower.

As an individual, you will have the opportunity to develop an awareness of which actions help or hinder the ways in which you engage with those around you.

The Staff

This three-day event, led and designed by Elisabeth Henderson, Founder and Director of The Recess College. The Recess College has an established reputation for dynamic and life transforming programmes for senior professionals

The Staff and facilitators for the event include:

Elisabeth Henderson

Elisabeth is a lead consultant on major organisational change projects in industry, government and the private sector, and is committed to cross-national training and development. She works in Poland, India, Britain and The Netherlands. Her career began in social action, and she later trained at the Tavistock Institute. Following a year’s sabbatical in The Netherlands, Elisabeth initiated The Recess College in 1988 to offer similar experiences of personal transformation for leadership and authenticity to others – both in organisational and personal life.

Perdita Hunt

Perdita, Director of Watts Gallery Trust since 2004, was appointed to lead the £10m ‘Watts Gallery Hope Project’ to save the future of both the Gallery and its collection. She is now leading the creation of the artists’ village in Compton. Prior to joining Watts Gallery Trust, Perdita was Director of Communications of WWF UK, and led the management of change in several major national third sector institutions.

Julian Lousada

Julian, Organisational Consultant, Peopleinsystems, is a psychoanalyst, the Chair of the British Psychoanalytic Council, and a former Clinical Director of the Adult Department at the Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust.

Who is it for?

Senior managers, Directors, decision makers and consultants in the arts, museums, social enterprise and charity sectors. Psychotherapists and others are very welcome.

Costs & Booking

£490 for three days at The Charterhouse including lunch and refreshments (accommodation not included).

There maybe some bursaries available, please contact The Recess College Administrator. To book now email us at

Book before the 20March and pay only £449 all inclusive for the 3 days!


The Charterhouse is a former Carthusian monastery in London, to the north of what is now Charterhouse Square. Since the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century the house has served as private mansion, a boys’ school and an almshouse, which it remains to this day. The building is formally known as Sutton’s Hospital in Charterhouse, and is a registered charity (number 207773). Attendees will be given a tour of The Charterhouse by the master, Charles Hobson. The Recess College and Watts Gallery Trust would like to thank The Master of The Charterhouse for his support.

Friday & Saturday: 9.30 – 19.30
Sunday: 9.30 – 17.00, followed by a drinks celebration

Staying Alive is a partnership initiative between The Recess College and Watts Gallery Trust. The Recess College is unique in pioneering the skills of leadership and followership for those that carry responsibility for organisations, projects and people and partnerships. Watts Gallery is a centre of learning, apprenticeships and fellowship. the Trust seeks to make great art accessible and champion art for all.