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Applications open for new Chair of the BSA

Chair of the Board of Trustees of the British Shakespeare Association

The Board of the British Shakespeare Association is looking to appoint new leadership from Summer 2023 onwards. This is an exciting opportunity to lead the Board of the BSA during the year of Shakespeare’s quarter-centenary and help take the BSA forward.

The BSA is committed to values of equality, diversity, and inclusion, and are keen to reflect this within its governing body. We welcome and support applicants from all backgrounds, particularly those who have been traditionally less well-represented by the BSA and the field of Shakespeare scholarship more broadly. The process of appointment is governed by the BSA’s EDI policy.

About the BSA

The BSA was founded in 2002 with a mission to bring together academics, teachers, theatre practitioners and other people who work with Shakespeare’s texts into a professional association. In 2007, the BSA was incorporated as a charitable company limited by guarantee with a commitment to educate the general public about Shakespeare and his works. The BSA typically has around 300 paid up members and over 1000 members on its database. Members pay an annual subscription fee of £25 although there are also concessionary rates. The BSA’s flagship event is its Biennial Conference, which brings together Shakespeareans from all of its communities to discuss latest research and the most recent insights into teaching and performance. Between conferences, the BSA runs a number of other events, most notably an annual Honorary Fellows event. We appoint two Honorary Fellows a year – past Fellows include Stanley Wells, Chris Grace, Janet Suzman, Cicely Berry, Adrian Lester, John Russell Brown and Adjoa Andoh. The BSA is also associated with two publications: Teaching Shakespeare, a magazine edited by Myfanwy Edwards and published through the BSA website and Shakespeare: the Journal of the British Shakespeare Association, which is published by Routledge and is considered to be one of the best academic journals on Shakespeare in the world. The BSA’s website disseminates news and events relating to Shakespeare and gives members access to additional resources.

About the Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees (which is also a Board of Directors) is made up of: 4 Officers, 6 elected Trustees, and 3 ex officio Trustees representing the Shakespeare Institute, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the Routledge Journal. Four committees also report directly to the Board: the Events Committee, the Honorary Fellowship Committee, the Education Committee and the Performance and Media Committee. The Chairs of these Committees are appointed by the Board and are entitled to attend Board meetings, but can only vote if they are also Trustees. The Board meets three times a year, usually online  and holds one Annual General Meeting. As well as overseeing the various activities of the BSA, the Board is responsible for ensuring good governance and for ensuring compliance with auditing requirements for Companies House and the Charity Commission. The Board’s work is governed by three documents: its Articles of Association, the Rules of the BSA, and the Financial Procedures of the BSA. Meetings typically last 2-hours and currently follow a standing agenda.

Chair

The Chair of the British Shakespeare Association is also the Head of the British Shakespeare Association. The main duty of the Chair is to ensure that the charitable object of the BSA, to educate the general public about Shakespeare’s works, is being fulfilled by its activities. The Chair is responsible for the day-to-day management of the BSA and for working with the Board to set its strategic priorities. This person chairs meetings of the Board and reports to it. The Chair also manages the Officers of the Board (the Treasurer, the Membership Officer and the Web and Communications Officer) and the Chairs of the Board’s Committees to ensure that they are working effectively towards furthering the BSA’s charitable objects. The Chair also chairs the Annual General Meeting.

The Board is looking for someone who is committed to the BSA’s vision and is able to work across its different communities in ways that bring them together into a positive and dynamic association. In normal circumstances, the Chair will serve between 3 and 6 years, in line with the terms for our Trustees. After their appointment, the incoming Chair will be asked to shadow the outgoing Chair to ensure smooth transition of BSA business.

Essential Criteria

  1. A natural negotiator and diplomat who is able to collaborate with other members of the Board and make the most of their talents
  2. A good strategic thinker who is able to balance risk and opportunity to help the BSA grow
  3. An effective leader with good communication skills and the ability to articulate a clear achievable vision for the BSA
  4. Experience of chairing meetings and effectively following up agreed actions
  5. Willing and able to act as the public face of the BSA
  6. Either a long-standing member of the BSA who has demonstrated a commitment to its values or substantial equivalent experience of a cognate charity
  7. IT-literate

Desirable

  • An experienced Chair and/or a Trustee of a charity
  • Pro-active in using modern technology to engage members

As Chair, you will also be a trustee and consequently cannot stand for the Board if you are disqualified from being a trustee either by law or under the constitution of the BSA. For more details on eligibility criteria for trustees, please see this document: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/finding-new-trustees-cc30/finding-new-trustees  

The deadline for applications is 1 October 2022. Shortlisted candidates for the Chair will be invited to an informal meeting with the current Board followed by an interview with a panel.

This is a volunteer position, but reasonable expenses will be paid.

To apply, please send a letter of application, a CV and the names of two referees to britishshakespeareassociation[at]gmail.com by the appropriate deadline.

For an informal discussion about any of these roles please contact Alison Findlay, the outgoing Chair of the Board, by emailing a.g.findlay[at]lancaster.ac.uk

A PDF version of this text is available here. A document outlining the BSA’s policies and procedures for appointments to the Board is available here.

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