ACCELERATE is a tailored leadership skills development programme designed to provide Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders working within the creative industries with the skills and networks to generate, take up and excel in leadership positions.

The programme is aimed at Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people from across Australia who have at least five years’ experience in the creative industries and can demonstrate a bold vision for where they want to take their career and their community. 

ACCELERATE offers a blended learning experience. The 2016 participants will take part in intensive training workshops in Australia before travelling to the UK to develop skills in consultation with high profile individuals and organisations in their artistic fields.

On completion of the programme, participants form part of the national ACCELERATE alumni network, with access to continued support, training and international opportunities.

In its seventh successful year, ACCELERATE has been instrumental in discovering a pool of talent deep and wide in Indigenous culture as a new generation of leaders comes to the fore in Australia. Since its inception in 2009, the programme has developed an alumni of 29 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts leaders across the creative disciplines.

This year, ACCELERATE alumni will produce and drive an international First Nations creative leadership event. The event will be held during July 2016 on the lands of the Wodi Wodi people on Dharawal country at the University of Wollongong, and will see creative leadership and cultural practices of First National leaders shared, discussed and interrogated.

Applications for ACCELERATE 2016 are now closed. We are currently reviewing all applications and will be in touch soon.


The 2016 ACCELERATE programme comprises two stages: the Australian Leadership Intensive and the UK Programme.

Australian Leadership Intensive: Wednesday 17 – Friday 19 August 2016

Immediately after the announcement event on August 16, the five participants will attend three days of intensive training workshops to develop their understanding of leadership and to expand ideas for their individual UK programmes. 

Over three days, participants will undertake facilitated sessions that explore what leadership means in UK and Australian contexts, and discuss what it means to be a leader within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Participants will also gain practical leadership skills that will help them to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of their own personal leadership styles, outline sustainable and ambitious career pathways and identify the personal and professional obstacles to achieving them.

Sessions will be led by with Mark Wright from People Create, with support from British Council staff and ACCELERATE Alumni who will share their own experiences and offer advice to the new cohort. 

UK Programme: November 11 – December 5 2016

The UK Programme provides an opportunity for participants to make international connections, to observe different leadership styles and structures, and to gain broader insight into their own fields and professional practices.

In 2016, the ACCELERATE UK Programme will include:

• Two further days of leadership development training with Mark Wright (People Create) 

• Professional placements with leading UK organisations and institutions

• Group and individual meetings, including one-on-one mentorship

Individual programmes will be tailored to realise the vision outlined in the participants’ applications.  They are expected to research organisations and individuals of interest and articulate what they want to achieve from meeting with them.

“ACCELERATE is definitely a life changing experience for someone wanting to take the opportunity it offers. I’d highly recommend it.  You have to put in the effort – it’s a working program, so you have to want it, and be looking for change.”

- 2013 participant

“It was an incredibly intense programme but in the best possible way.  I was able to confront issues that had been troubling me about my career, in a positive proactive manner, with excellent resolutions or at least with progress. But I also realised that I don't need to have all the answers now as long as I remain focussed on my purpose.”

- Angela Flynn, 2015 participant


The application and selection process

Applicants must complete a written application, which will outline their experience, leadership goals and vision for the UK programme. 

From these applications, a panel consisting of British Council staff, a representative from the Australia Council for the Arts, and a representative from the relevant state funding body where the applicant is from will draw up a shortlist for interview. 

The criteria for selection are:

LEADERSHIP - understanding of leadership, reflection and analysis of your own leadership experience. (Q1 & Q2)

VISION – clarity of vision for your development in short to mid-term, and your capacity to achieve it. (Q3)

COMMUNITY – articulation of your leadership role within your community / sector and your vision for the development of this role. (Q4)

DEVELOPMENT – practical understanding of how you need to grow your leadership skills, and the importance of a UK experience in relation to this growth. (Q5a & Q5b)

TIMELINESS – articulation of how this opportunity will further your vision, and the importance of the opportunity at this point in your career. (Q6)

In 2016, five participants will be chosen, one each from New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and nationally. 

Who can apply?

ACCELERATE is a programme designed and managed specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants. Australian Indigeneity is a genuine prerequisite for this award and is authorised by Section 14 of the Anti-Discrimination Act, 1977. 

The British Council Australia definition of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander is a person of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent who identifies as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and is accepted as such by the community in which they live. Successful applicants may be required to provide a letter of confirmation of Indigeneity during the shortlisting or final stages of the applications assessment process.

ACCELERATE is open to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from across Australia with at least five years' experience in the creative industries. There is no formal age limit for applicants.


Applicants must be available to travel/attend events on the below dates:

• Announcement of participants (Melbourne): Tuesday 16 August 2016 

• Leadership Intensive: Wednesday 17 – Friday 19 August 2016 

• UK programme: 11 November – 5 December 2016

Applications for ACCELERATE 2016 are now closed. We are currently reviewing all applications and will be in touch soon.