Job Opportunity: Executive Director

May 12, 2016

Are you our next Executive Director or know someone who might be? We’re on the hunt for a new Director to lead Underbelly Arts in 2017 and beyond. Applications open now, close Mon 30 May.



Underbelly Arts develops and presents work from the boldest new voices in Australian art. We present visual art, performance, theatre, live art, music, sound, dance, digital practice and ideas, with a focus on emerging artists and experimentation. By creating large-scale events in non-traditional spaces, we bring audiences and artists together for new art experiences unlike any other.

Underbelly Arts started in 2007 as a response to the number of artists working out of their bedrooms and in warehouses, in isolation. As a kind of social experiment, it sought to bring all those artists under the one roof and expose them to one another, and to new audiences.
Since then Underbelly Arts and over 800 artists have inhabited and transformed Carriageworks, Chippendale and most recently the iconic and historic Cockatoo Island. Participating artists are immersed in a residency program, the Lab where they develop their work, with a performance and exhibition outcome, the Festival.

Through Underbelly Arts our aims are to:

  • to present engaging and exciting arts events for artists and audiences;
  • to provide opportunities for artists to collaborate in depth, develop and

present new interdisciplinary work in front of large audiences;

  • to provide advice and mentoring for artists to develop their skills;
  • to provide artists with funds to develop and present new work;
  • to provide opportunities for audiences to actively participate in the development and presentation of artistic practice
  • to act as a networking body and foster a community amongst artists, audiences and industry


Currently the organisational staff consists solely of an Executive Director that works year round, supported by contractors on a project by project basis. The incoming Executive Director will be required to work during 2016 to develop and deliver our scheduled program of activities, in the lead up to the next Festival event in 2017.

Underbelly Art’s Executive Director position requires a passionate, innovative and flexible individual who is able to drive the strategic direction of the organisation and is committed to facilitating the needs and development of early and mid career artists.

Reports to: Board of Directors
Salary Range: $75,000 – $90,000 per annum
Contract Commencement: June 2016.


Program Development and Delivery

  • Developing and delivering the scheduled program of 2016 activities in line with the organisation’s vision, mission and objectives and available budget
  • Identifying and securing in-kind support for the program
  • Liaising with venues, sponsors, partners and other key stakeholders to ensure successful project delivery
  • Developing industry and media partnerships appropriate to individual projects
  • Represent Underbelly Arts at meetings, industry events, in the media and at Underbelly Arts functions as required
  • Provide mentorship and guidance for emerging artists as required
  • Oversee the marketing of Underbelly Arts through social media, media releases and other marketing materials as required

Operational Management and Staffing

  • Prepare and manage all contracts and agreements
  • Recruit and effectively manage contractors to deliver projects and events
  • Foster a supportive and welcoming environment for artists, staff and volunteers
  • Ensure the organisation’s OH&S policy is adhered to
  • Oversee the organisation’s volunteer needs and management of volunteers

Strategic Planning
In association with the Board of Directors, identify and develop:

  • The strategic direction of the organisation to achieve its vision, mission and objectives
  • Effective industry partnerships and maintain strong relationships with key stakeholders including venue partners, government funding bodies, philanthropic donors, sponsors
  • New audiences, markets, funding opportunities to support Underbelly Arts growth and sustainability

Financial Management and Governance

  • Prepare submission and secure funding for the organisation through grants, philanthropic giving, sponsorship and project-generated income (such as ticket sales) to meet budget targets
  • Acquit grant-funding as required
  • Develop and monitor annual and project budgets, forecasts and other financial reports
  • Monitor and track expenditure and income against forecasts and budgets while maintaining transparent financial accounting systems using MYOB and Excel
  • Ensure timely payment of invoices, BAS, payroll and super liabilities
  • Maintain strong relationships with, and regularly report to, the Board
  • Manage and deliver reports for Board meetings, AGM including the annual report
  • Ensure the organization is adhering to all required timelines, processes, legal requirements (ATO, NSW fair trading, ROCCO etc) and holds necessary insurance policies (public liability, D&O, workers comp, volunteer and equipment insurance)



  1. Management experience in arts, creative or not-for-profit sector
  2. Demonstrated financial management skills
  3. Experience in fundraising and ideally in securing government grants and philanthropic donations
  4. Excellent communication and negotiation skills – both written and verbal
  5. Demonstrated ability to articulate a vision and motivate and engage people to achieve that vision
  6. Experience leading and managing contractors and volunteers
  7. Ability to work independently and collaboratively
  8. Highly organised with excellent project management and problem solving skills – including a proven track record in managing schedules and budgets
  9. A passion for, and understanding of, the position and potential of Underbelly Arts


  1. Demonstrated experience in strategic business planning
  2. Demonstrated track record in producing large scale events or festivals
  3. An excellent understanding of the arts sector, interdisciplinary art forms and the needs of early and mid career artists.


To apply:

To apply, send covering letter and resume to Underbelly Arts Chair, Stuart Buchanan,, by Monday 30 May 2016.