Freelance Brief Strategic Lead

This opportunity is now closed

Contract dates: Jan 2024 – July 2025 inclusive
Fee: £300 per day; total fee available £20,100
Working pattern: 67 days over 19 months;
Average 3.5 days per month, flexible + remote
Budget of up to £2,000 to cover travel and subsistence to meet potential partners.

Light Up The North is a network of light festivals which have come together to share their collective expertise and to learn together. We work together to support artists, to commission new artworks, to carry out research and as a strategic consortium which supports the development of the light art sector.

We wish to appoint a new Strategic Lead to work with us to continue to grow and develop the network consolidating the extremely successful growth in our membership, co-commissioning and partnership working in 2022.

Context/Background to Role

The Strategic Lead will focus on delivering specific strands of our programme of work set out in our recently successful National Arts Lottery Project application with support from key Sub-Groups made up of the full partners in the network (these cover Communications and Marketing; Co-commissioning; CPD and talent development and environmental sustainability). The Strategic Lead will also work closely with our Communications and Marketing Freelancer and have dedicated administration support.

The Strategic Lead will support the network to help light art festivals in the north deliver higher quality programmes, create new strategic partnerships in HE, be a fulcrum for more ambitious touring commissions and increase the number and ability of more diverse northern artists creating outstanding work at a national and international level. The Strategic Lead will help LUTN to become a robust, resilient sector-led network and will lead on a strategic review for organisational development beyond 2025.

LUTN’s objectives over the next 2 years are as follows:

  1. Establish strategic partnerships with, amongst others, the International Light Festivals Organisation, the Graphene Institute (University of Manchester), Culture Creative, Higher and Further Education, Outdoor Arts, Without Walls that will have a positive effect on the creative and cultural sector.
  2. Develop co-commissioning opportunities of larger scale, ambitious, innovative works with longer lead-in times, in association with new relationship partners, and increased co-touring to festivals across the north, nationally and internationally.
  3. Generate multiple talent platforms and programmes for diverse artists including an Artist’s Directory, SHINE, Spark, R&D LightLab, Light Gatherings, and a Light Up The North Community.

LUTN is committed to delivering more opportunities to and mentoring for artists, technicians and producers with protected characteristics at an early stage in their creative careers with opportunities being advertised widely and openly.

LUTN will share knowledge, good practice and expertise with other festival programmers across the country and with artists, production and technical professionals through online festival panels and networking events in experimenting with new ways of working with artists, the medium of light, academics and different professionals to develop the artform.

The Strategic Lead role is funded through the NLAP grant and is fundamental to how LUTN continues to develop its approach going forward. The Strategic Lead will report on a day to day basis to the Co-Chairs of LUTN. The appointed freelancer will enter into a contract with Blackpool Council for the fee and work programme to be delivered. Regular update meetings between the Strategic Lead, the Head of Arts at BC (accountable body) and the Co-Chairs of LUTN will be timetabled in from the start date.

Role and Key Tasks

We see the Strategic Lead working over an intense period of 22 months spreading 67 days out accordingly and in line with what is best for delivering what is required.

  • What does the role entail?

As the Strategic Lead has a limited number of days to work with the Network, your time will be focussed on the following:

  • Leading on a scoping exercise identifying existing and potential new partnerships between festival partners, the HE sector and/or the private sector seeking and where possible securing new collaborations to innovate for LUTN going forward into 2024/25.
  • Working with the Co-commissioning Sub-Group and leading on a scoping exercise identifying national and international partnerships with other outdoor festivals and local authorities starting to develop light festivals in their towns and cities. Identifying and developing partnerships that have the potential to deliver new touring commissions for 2024 and beyond.
  • Leading on a LUTN impact review
  • Agree approach with existing full and associate LUTN members on approach to growing membership further over the next 2 years, setting a target for growth and securing new members through promotion to sector. Undertake evaluation with Full and associate members on an annual basis.
  • Undertaking targeted advocacy and relationship building nationally and internationally guided by the Network partners.
  • Lead on planning, promotion and delivery of Light Art Community gatherings in 2023/24 liaising with partners such as Outdoors Arts UK and Without Walls.
  • Attend International Light Festivals Organisation AGM with Chair to promote LUTN and its work and explore potential new opportunities for collaboration with members.
  • Lead on the co-ordination of content for a regular newsletter.
  • Identifying and initiating learning opportunities from national and international festivals, including developing new opportunities relating to funding and partnerships that strengthen the financial resilience of the network
  • Providing regular written updates and reports for Network meetings as requested by the Chair. This is to include an overall review quarterly on how LUTN is performing against the outputs and outcomes set out in the ACE National Arts Lottery Project application.

Person Specification

  • Experience of working on the development of light festivals and commissioning artists to create new work for diverse outdoor locations.
  • The ability to be highly organised and focussed on the core tasks you are required to progress as the Strategic Lead
  • The skills of a good communicator and advocate able to work with people at a strategic level and broker collaborations and partnerships with a diverse range of organisations.
  • A self-starter capable of working independently.
  • Experience of overseeing business and organisational development.
  • Experience of writing and delivering strategic plans and funding bids.
  • Experience of managing successful projects with multiple stakeholders and timelines.

You may also have:

  • Experience of collaborating with or working within the higher education sector, and local authorities.
  • Experience of brokering partnerships with the private sector.
  • Experience of reporting to a non-executive board previously.

FEE: £20,100 total excluding VAT 

The fee is based on £300 per day, and an average of 3 days per month, although it is expected that the workload will be weighted to certain months in the year.

The fee is payable monthly on a retrospective basis.

You would be formally contracted by Blackpool Council and will require a UTR to receive payment through invoices and to meet the Council’s due diligence contracting procedures. 


Please submit your CV with a short supporting statement (no longer than 2 pages) describing your suitability and interest in the role. Please outline how your skills and experience fit the Person Specification and Tasks.

Submit by email to

Deadline: 15 December 2023, 5pm
Shortlisting: w/c 18 December
Invitation to interview  by: 22 December
Interviews: w/c 8 January 2024

As well as your application, please consider completing our Equality & Diversity Monitoring Form. This helps us to understand whether we are successfully reaching a diverse range of applicants. The monitoring form is entirely anonymous and not connected to your application. To complete the monitoring form click  HERE.

Contact information

To explore the post further or for any queries you may have, please email 

Criminal record information

Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974

A criminal record check is not required for this position. However, all applicants will be required to declare if they have any ‘unspent’ criminal offences, including those pending.

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