Sound and Music

Title of Post: Head of Artist Development (job share, two days per week)

Salary band: £37,500-£41,000 pro rata, depending on experience

Reporting to: Chief Executive


General Information

The Head of Artist Development is a key leadership post within the organisation. The role encompasses responsibility for all aspects of the organisation’s artist development work. It also forms part of Sound and Music’s senior management team, who under the leadership of the Chief Executive are responsible for overseeing the organisation’s programme of activity, strategic development, external profile and a positive and productive organisational culture.

Sound and Music is looking for applications from candidates with exceptional skills, networks and experience in working with composers and artists across a range of genres. They will need to have proven ability in working as part of a team to problem-solve, creating and nurturing internal and external relationships, and a demonstrable commitment to diversity and inclusion in their work to date.

Interviews will be held on Friday 7 September at Somerset House, central London.  Reasonable travel costs will be reimbursed for those travelling from outside London.

About Sound and Music

Sound and Music is the national charity for new music. Our vision is to create a world where new music and sound prospers, transforming lives, challenging expectations and celebrating the work of its creators. 

Our mission is to maximise the opportunities for people of all ages to create and enjoy new music.

Sound and Music has three overarching, interconnected and equally weighted aims that shape its activity:

  • Support and promote a diverse range of talented composers
  • Enrich the experience of a significantly larger national audience for experimental new music
  • Nurture and promote the musical creativity and compositional skills of children and young people

The creative programme for Sound and Music makes a unique and distinctive contribution to the arts in the UK.

Sound and Music’s work includes composer and artist development, audience development, education, touring, campaigning and advocacy, information and advice and network building. Sound and Music champions new music and the work of British composers and artists, seeking to ensure that they are at the heart of cultural life and enjoyed by many.

About the role

The post holder will play a leading role in delivering Sound and Music’s programme of activity, cultivating partnerships, supporting the delivery of a high level output, growing audiences for new music, developing new ways of working and making strategic decisions about how projects are best delivered.

Sound and Music’s programme of work aims to achieve artistic excellence and the Head of Artist Development will work closely with the Chief Executive and other members of the senior management team in ensuring and evaluating the quality of all aspects of the programme and its delivery.

The role provides leadership to a team of Creative Project Leaders, including line management responsibility for four of them (2 ½ FTE).

Key objectives of this post are as follows: 

  • Lead, develop, deliver and extend the impact of all Sound and Music’s artist development work
  • Ensure the selection of a diverse range of composers and creative artists across all artist development strands of activity, ensuring an inclusive approach to their work with the organisation and working with them to devise and deliver their programme of work and engagement with Sound and Music
  • Model an open, curious and generous approach to different forms of new music and sonic art
  • Identify, secure and enrich imaginative and productive partnerships to support Sound and Music’s artist development work and who will meet the needs of selected artists as well as contributing to the organisation’s strategic aims and objectives
  • Support the development of the British Music Collection, its growing aims and ambitions, and in particular in its role in supporting the profiling and promotion of those on the artist development programme
  • Support the development of audiences for new music and the creation of digital content and outputs with the artists and composers on the artist development programme
  • Ensure the appropriate system and procedures are in place for contracting, financial and logistical management of the artist development programme including data sharing and audience insight gathering
  • Support income generation, particularly through supporting funding applications, identifying commercial opportunities, contributing to developing and implementing commercial products and services, sharing information about funded activities and ensuring that funder relationships and agreements are prioritised and adhered too
  • Support Sound and Music’s monitoring and evaluation processes, including ensuring agreed data collection is implemented, and contributing to reporting to funders and Sound and Music’s Board
  • Working with the Chief Executive and senior management team to deliver, monitor, and review the Business Plan (agreed and submitted to Arts Council England as a condition of funding in January 2018)

The post holder will have budgetary control within their areas of responsibility. This will include working with the Head of Development and Finance Manager to track income generation alongside expenditure, ensuring that all activities are brought in on (or better than) target.

Key Responsibilities


  • Strategic responsibility and accountability for Sound and Music’s core aim Support and promote a diverse range of talented composers and all of its associated objectives, outcomes and outputs
  • Shared accountability (with other senior management colleagues) for the successful delivery and review of the organisation’s business plan
  • Ensure strategies and processes are in place for Sound and Music’s artist development work that lead to a high quality, diverse and balanced programme of composers, artists, partners and creative outputs including digital
  • Work with the Chief Executive and other senior management team members to monitor, evaluate and review strategies and activity so as to maximise Sound and Music’s impact. This includes reporting to the Board as required
  • Support the development of Sound and Music’s reputation and national and international profile including through networking, attending performances and representing Sound and Music at other events including conferences, participation in public panel discussions and other types of public presentation; being an active and engaging ambassador for the organisation
  • Work with the Head of Development to identify funding opportunities and prepare documents for key funders including Arts Council England
  • Encourage an environment where creativity and innovation can flourish enabling new, imaginative ideas and insights which have the potential to make a significant impact on the new music sector
  • Work closely with the Chief Executive, Head of Development and Finance Manager to formulate financial strategy against specified budget areas,  and to ensure that the artist development programme is sufficiently resourced, planned and delivered to budget
  • Assess the reputational, financial, delivery and other risks associated with current and new projects and partnerships
  • Empower, model, support and encourage cross-team working to realise the full creative possibilities of projects

Artist Development Programme

  • Lead the delivery, development and regular evaluation of Sound and Music’s artist development programme, currently encompassing:
    • New Voices (and its precursors)
    • Composer-Curator (national touring programme)
    • Adopt A Composer (in partnership with Making Music)
    • Sound and Music’s participation in the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM)
    • Francis Chagrin Awards
    • George Butterworth Award
    • and other aspects of the programme relating to artist development as they arise
  • Lead the recruitment, selection, induction and programmes of activity and support for composers and artists involved with Sound and Music; ensure high quality and personal feedback to unselected composers
  • Lead the identification, brokering and nurturing of appropriate partner relationships with regards to the delivery of the artist development programme
  • Work closely with the Head of Digital, Marketing and Communications to ensure that public outcomes and marketing are central to decision-making in the artist development programme
  • Ensure and encourage a searching approach to artistic quality, talent and potential, and develop an ongoing approach to artistic self-evaluation
  • Nurture sector wide relationships including: industry promoters, broadcasters, publishers, media, the education sector,  arts organisations and across new music genres
  • Identify commercial opportunities for Sound and Music, including sponsorship and advertising; contribute to the development of a more commercial mind set in the organisation including shared accountability for earned income targets
  • Negotiate fees and/or box office splits with partner organisations


  • Contribute to creating and monitoring the overall organisation budget
  • Ensure close monitoring of income and expenditure for relevant budget lines and contribute to senior management team financial planning and review

Skills and Knowledge

  • At least five years’ experience of working in the music sector and an understanding of the issues affecting it and the wider cultural sector
  • Detailed knowledge of experimental new music across a range of genres
  • Proven track record in working with composers and creative artists
  • Detailed knowledge of national and international contemporary and new music scene and trends within it; a good knowledge of other contemporary art forms and cross-arts activity
  • Understanding of the current political, economic, social and technological situation, including the challenges faced by composers and artists as well as new areas of opportunity
  • Network of influence, including key contacts across the sector both nationally and internationally
  • Excellent negotiating skills
  • Excellent planning and organising skills
  • Excellent budgeting and financial management skills
  • Excellent management skills including in leading and developing a team
  • Good knowledge of creative use of digital in making and sharing artistic work
  • Good knowledge of the funding environment

Personal qualities

  • Ability to articulate considered artistic judgements, and be confident in discussions about artistic quality
  • Ability to think strategically, laterally and creatively to support the development of Sound and Music
  • Ability to take high levels of delegated authority and operate within agreed strategies
  • Strong sense of accountability for achieving targets
  • Ability to work effectively with a wide variety of artists, freelancers and industry professionals
  • Ability to network and build effective, sustainable partnerships
  • Ability to facilitate as well as lead meetings with internal and external partners including composers and artists from a wide range of backgrounds and with a wide range of communication styles and preferences
  • Ability to research, analyse and evaluate programmes of work
  • Ability to work within a team structure and contribute to collaborative thinking
  • Excellent written and verbal communication and presentation skills
  • Excellent evaluation and critical analysis skills (to inform future work)
  • A collaborative, clear and supportive leadership style

Special conditions of the post

Particular conditions of the job that the post holder must be willing/able to comply with in order to perform the job.

  • A willingness to travel throughout the country as required by the role
  • A willingness to represent the organisation internationally on an occasional basis
  • Evening and weekend working to attend and network at events will be required

Common requirements for all posts

  • Exemplify an open, curious and generous approach to new music
  • Be a creative contributor to the development of the organisation and its relationship to the sector
  • Take a flexible approach to work and to be willing to undertake other duties as reasonably requested
  • Be an active and positive advocate for Sound and Music on a day to day basis and at events (as required)
  • Contribute to the organisation’s understanding of diversity and its implications for the arts and how it informs all decision-making
  • Ensure adherence (at all levels) to the organisation’s required policies and procedures with particular reference to Employment Rights, Equal Opportunities and Health and Safety and other statutory requirements
  • Lead by example by exemplifying the values of the organisation and adopting rigorous internal processes which adhere to agreed procedures and are compliant with good governance as set by the Board
  • Feel ownership of Sound and Music’s various digital platforms and take responsibility for generating and servicing content where it relates to your area of work
  • Provide excellent customer service in dealings with the public and Sound and Music’s community
  • Work in the best interests of artists, arts organisations and audiences throughout the country

To apply, please visit the Sound and Music website.

Deadline for applications: 1200, Tuesday 21 August 2018