Artistic Director

Castle view from Dance Base roof
Please note: the closing date for the expression of interest is now Wednesday 19 May

Dance Base Scotland is recruiting for the role of Artistic Director

Twenty years since we opened our purpose-built studios for Scotland’s National Centre for Dance and closer to thirty years since the organisation was founded, Dance Base is at a moment of generational change. After 27 years Morag Deyes MBE will be passing on the role of Artistic Director in September 2021 and will bid her final farewells after delivering our 2022 Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme.

This is a time of significant change. The COVID pandemic has brought into sharp focus many of the challenges that dance artists already face in Scotland and challenged us to respond to the new realities. Throughout the last year, we’ve responded by accessing significant new funding to support dance artists across the country and moving much of our activity online. With a new Chief Executive and Chair and some significant recent board and executive team appointments, we’re finalising a strategy for the future that’s ambitious and collaborative.

Our new Artistic Director is the lynchpin to deliver that strategy. It’s a fantastic opportunity for the right person (or people) to help lead Dance Base into the future, ensuring that Dance Base is supporting the talents and the needs of the diverse range of dance artists who choose (or will choose) to live and work in Scotland, and for making our country a place where dance fulfills its potential across society.

If Dance Base is a place for all dance artists to feel at home, then the Artistic Director is the host; ensuring the welcome is as broad as possible, providing a range of support and opportunities that are open to many as well as more tailored help for individuals at important points in their careers. You’ll draw on your own experience as an artist who has worked in dance or movement.

We’re advertising the role on a four-year term – we see this as the right period for a talented individual to build on what’s been achieved and bring their own artistic vision to the organisation, while ensuring that others can prepare to take the opportunity later. 

It’s a wide-ranging role with an ambitious job description and we’re committed to providing support for the successful candidate to develop over the four years in the role. We encourage anyone interested to submit an expression of interest, and we’ll offer as many people as possible a conversation with the Dance Base team to help them decide whether to submit a full application.  


The successful candidate(s) will need to cover five main areas of activity:

  1. Strategy and leadership
    You will work alongside Chief Executive Jim Hollington and the Board to set and implement the strategy for the organisation, in collaboration with Centre Director Isabel Moura Mendes and the Head of Dance for Health and Wellbeing Emili Åström

  2. Support for professional dance artists
    You’ll be directly responsible for the design and delivery of Dance Base’s programme of support for professional dance artists in Scotland, leading a small team to do so, supported by our Artist Advisory Group of dance artists from across Scotland

  3. Advocacy and representation
    You will help represent the organisation and the sector across Scotland, the UK and globally, championing artists and identifying needs and opportunities.
  1. Curation and programming
    You’ll be responsible for the programming of performance at our Edinburgh venue, taking responsibility from 2023 for Dance Base’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme.

  2. Support for the whole Dance Base team
    You will work with Centre Director Isabel Moura Mendes and Head of Dance for Health and Wellbeing Emili Åström to ensure their work reflects the diversity of talent in Scotland and supports dance artists’ careers.


About you

KNOWLEDGEABLE – You will be working or have worked as an artist in dance or movement, developing a deep understanding of dance in many styles and contexts and a reputation and network in the dance sector.

NURTURING – You’ll have experience of identifying and nurturing dance artists with talent and potential.

WELCOMING – You’ll have a track record of collaborating and building relationships with people with a diverse range of experience, perspectives and ideas

CONFIDENT – You’ll have the confidence to develop and express your opinions on public platforms, and you’ll be equally confident to know where you need to learn from others.

STRATEGIC – You’ll be interested in the bigger picture, setting ambitious long-term goals and developing the plans that will deliver them.


We are interested in identifying a single candidate, but are just as interested in identifying two candidates who might cover the role between them while maintaining other professional interests, including as a practising dance artist. We welcome candidates at the expression of interest stage who are applying together as a job share, or those who are only interested to deliver part of the role.

We particularly encourage people from under-represented communities to apply, including but not limited to disabled people, those who are D/deaf, Black/+ People of Colour, those from minority ethnic communities, those who are part of the LGBT+ community, and all those who feel their voices are not commonly represented.


Detailed Job Description


Main Duties

Strategy and leadership

  • Shape the overall Dance Base strategy and business plans, in particular the vision for how the organisation works with dance artists, working with the Chief Executive, Board and other senior staff
  • Working with the Chief Executive, Board and other senior staff ensure that equality, diversity and inclusion are not just central to Dance Base’s strategy and plans but visible in what and how we deliver
  • Alongside the Chief Executive lead the Dance Base team to deliver the strategy, ensuring the promised benefits to dance artists and demonstrating Dance Base core values of inclusion, courage, collaboration and responsibility
  • Support the development and delivery of core funding bids and strategic fundraising initiatives, working with the Chief Executive and Head of Marketing & Development
  • Engage with the board collectively and individually to harness their skills and expertise for the benefit of the organisation


Support for professional dance artists

  • Identify new trends and practice in dance globally relevant to Scotland
  • Shape a funded programme of activity across Scotland, often in collaboration with other organisations, that builds relationships with dance artists at all stages of their career, in particular actively removing barriers for people currently under-represented
  • Ensure that our programme of support reflects the specific Scottish context, including environmental sustainability and Scotland’s diverse cultural and physical landscapes
  • Mentor individual dance artists, including as appropriate through the DEBS and Associate Artists programmes and identify other appropriate mentors from across the dance community
  • Ensure a diverse range of dance artists based across Scotland are involved in the design and delivery of Dance Base activity


Advocacy and Representation

  • Support dance artists in Scotland to work across the UK, Europe and the world including as an active member of EDN, NDN and other networks as appropriate
  • Represent Dance Base and dance from Scotland effectively in relevant industry fora in Scotland, the UK and internationally
  • Champion new Scottish practice reflecting a wide range of lived experience
  • Advocate with government, public funders and other supporters for the needs of dance artists in Scotland

Curation and programming

  • Ensure curatorial rigour and judgement is exercised in all decisions where Dance Base is selecting artists to support, involving diverse groups of dance artists in the process and ensuring that selections reflect a wide range of lived experiences
  • Support dance artists in Scotland to benefit from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe as a platform for their career development
  • Work with partners across the country to ensure audiences in Scotland can access an attractive and diverse range of high-quality dance work by Scottish-based as well as international makers


Support for the whole Dance Base team

Public Class Programme

  • Engage with the recruitment, professional development and monitoring of teachers, supporting them to work inclusively and equitably
  • Inspire customers with new styles, ideas and approaches
  • Foster collaboration between the public class programme and our work with professional dance artists
  • Create the potential for performance opportunities

Dance for Health and Wellbeing Programme

Work with the Head of Dance for Health and Wellbeing to:

  • Identify potential partners and collaborators
  • Enable dance artists in Scotland to benefit as fully as possible from our work in this area
  • Identify new approaches globally in the use of dance in public health settings
  • Champion support for the health and wellbeing of dance artists through our work in this area
  • Create the potential for performance opportunities

Line Management Responsibilities include:

Programmes Manager, who is responsible for the delivery of the professional programme and for Dance Base’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe activity


Skills, Knowledge and Experience


  • Experience of working as an artist in dance or movement
  • A deep understanding of dance across different styles with professional networks across Scotland, the UK and beyond
  • A track record of growing and sustaining relationships with dance artists at various points in their careers
  • An acknowledged track record in fostering diversity and inclusive practice
  • Experience of supporting strategic change that benefits the dance sector
  • A skilled and effective communicator



  • An international network and reputation in dance and wider arts ecology
  • Fundraising experience
  • Experience of developing organisational partnerships
  • Financial management experience


This Job Description is intended as a guide to the nature of the work required of this position, it is neither comprehensive nor restricted and is subject to review.


Terms and conditions

Salary: £40,000 per annum
Contract: Full time, four-year fixed term contract
Hours: Your normal working week will comprise 40 hours. Given the nature of the role and of the dance world some evening and weekend working will be required.
Place of Work: The Dance Base office in Edinburgh. Working from home is currently expected and encouraged in accordance with government safety restrictions, and we expect working away from the office for some of the time will become a part of the working pattern. Work travel across Scotland and beyond is anticipated.
Holidays: 32 days per calendar year, inclusive of 10 designated public holidays
Overtime: No overtime is payable but Time off in Lieu is possible with the agreement of the Chief Executive

How to Apply

We welcome questions about the job description through or via Twitter @dancebase or Facebook @DanceBaseScotland, so that you can make an informed decision about applying. We’ll also publish answers to general questions as an FAQ on our website help all potential candidates.

The formal process will consist of two stages.

1. Expression of interest (new closing date 19 May 2021)

  • All potential candidates should complete a brief Expression of Interest Form along with an Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form - see links below. 

  • We’ll ask all those who we consider to have potential for an informal Zoom discussion with key members of the Dance Base team to help them understand the role and the organisation better and identify whether or not they wish to make a full application

  • This is not an ‘assessed’ interview. Dance Base would not prevent anyone who has been invited to a Zoom discussion from proceeding with a full application after this point

2. Full application (closing date 14 June 2021)

  • Candidates who have attended the informal Zoom discussion will be invited to submit a more detailed written application
  • A limited number of candidates will be selected for formal interview to be conducted via Zoom
As a Disability Confident Employer, Dance Base guarantees an interview to anyone with a disability who meets the essential criteria for the job.






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