Course Outline
Arts and Cultural Leadership and Governance
BUSS 5436 Study Period 2 - 2019
Internal - City West Campus



Welcome to Arts and Cultural Leadership and Governance for 2019!

This course provides you with first-hand experience in arts and cultural leadership and governance, so important to the sustainability of arts and cultural organisations in an uncertain, turbulent world. I am drawing on my extensive experience on arts boards and as a leader in arts organisations as well as in university settings for this course.

I have led strategy in arts organisations as a board member, when I have sat on their boards, including Art Gallery of Ballarat, Duldig Studio House Museum and Sculpture Garden, and Multicultural Arts Victoria, to name a few. i am now on the board of the Australian Dance Theatre here in Adelaide. They are a contemporary dance company.

Hence, I have a great deal of experience in arts and cultural leadership and governance, both in my arts board work and also in my university work. I bring that knowledge to this course. I look forward to sharing my learnings with you. I have seen first-hand how arts and cultural leadership and governance is handled in other countries. For example, I was invited to be a Distinguished Visiting Speaker to La Salle College of the Arts, Singapore in February 2017. In the past I have been a key note speaker at conference in North America, Europe and other Asian countries, such as Taiwan. In March 2018, I will be visiting Denmark at the invitation of the Danish Arts Boards Association and the Copenhagen Business School to speak on arts governance.

I am an alumnus in art history and Germanic studies (Melbourne University BA Hons first class honours first place), as well as Management (Monash University PhD). I have played piano and painted for many years, as an amateur. Having a passion for the arts, even as an amateur, is common for arts managers (if not universal), but it is not enough. We also need to develop the skills, attributes and capabilities to ensure that arts organisations are sustainable. Hence, the importance of arts philanthropy.

I really welcome you to the study team and look forward to helping you succeed. Look at the materials provided in Week 0. You will find directions on how and when to do assignments, and other useful materials for this course, such as video clips and readings.

Ruth Rentschler OAM
Professor Arts & Cultural Leadership
Head, School of Management
UniSA Business School

Course Teaching Staff

Primary Coordinator:
Prof Ruth Rentschler
School of Management
+61 8 8302 4195
Staff Home Page:
* Please refer to your Course homepage for the most up to date list of course teaching staff.

Contact Details

School of Management

Physical Address:
Level 2, Room 32, Elton Mayo Building (EM)
North Terrace
City West
Adelaide 5000
Postal Address:
UniSA School of Management
GPO Box 2471
Adelaide 5001
+61 8 8302 0524

Course Overview


There are no prerequisite courses to be completed before this course can be undertaken.


There are no corequisite courses to be completed in conjunction with this course.

Course Objectives

On completion of this course, students should be able to:
CO1. Critically examine mission-led organisation leadership and governance principles, practices, dynamics and processes
CO2. Critically examine governance and leadership at the individual, board, organisation, and societal levels
CO3. Explain the role and nature of arts and cultural leadership, including dual leadership
CO4. Interpret arts and cultural leadership and governance principles
CO5. Critically examine tensions in arts and cultural leadership and governance
CO6. Understand leader passion which drives arts performance but also leads to pitfalls
CO7. Critically understand risk and its management in under-resourced arts and cultural organisations
Upon completion of this course, students will have achieved the following combination of Graduate Qualities and Course Objectives:

Graduate Qualities

A graduate of UniSA:
GQ1. operates effectively with and upon a body of knowledge of sufficient depth to begin professional practice
GQ2. is prepared for life-long learning in pursuit of personal development and excellence in professional practice
GQ3. is an effective problem solver, capable of applying logical, critical, and creative thinking to a range of problems
GQ4. can work both autonomously and collaboratively as a professional
GQ5. is committed to ethical action and social responsibility as a professional and citizen
GQ6. communicates effectively in professional practice and as a member of the community
GQ7. demonstrates international perspectives as a professional and as a citizen

Course Content

This course contains content that uses case studies, video clips and praxis-based student centred learning, on the role and nature of governance and leadership in a dynamic, ethical and legal framework; board dynamics and processes; governance and leadership principles; director and leadership responsibilities in an environment of heightened risk; the broad impact of governance and leadership on individuals, the organisation, the community and society that require insight, oversight and foresight.

Teaching and Learning Arrangements

Preparatory 1 x 1 week
Seminar 3 hours x 10 weeks

Unit Value

4.5 units

Use of recorded material

This course will involve the production of audio and/or video recordings of UniSA students. To protect student privacy, you must not at any time disclose, reproduce or publish these recordings, or related material, in the public domain including online, unless the videoed students give consent for reproduction, disclosure or publication. This requirement is consistent with University statutes, by-laws, policies, rules and guidelines which you agreed to abide by when you signed the Student Enrolment Declaration.

Learning Resources


You will need continual access to the following text(s) to complete this course. The library does not hold multiple copies of the nominated text books. It is strongly recommended that you purchase the book(s). An eBook version may be available but please check with the library as availability is limited and dependent on licence arrangements.
Rentschler, R 2015, Arts Governance: people, passion, performance, Routledge, Abingdon, England.


There are numerous readings selected and recommended for each topic that will appear in the e-readings in the side bar of the learn on line site.

Materials to be accessed online

learnonline course site

All course related materials can be accessed through your learnonline course site which you will be able to access from the my Courses section in myUniSA.


All study related materials can be accessed through:


Assessment Details

Details of assessment submission and return are listed under each assessment task. Assessment tasks will be returned to you within two to three weeks of submission.

If the Course Coordinator allows submissions in hard copy format, you will be required to attach an Assignment Cover Sheet which is available on the learnonline student help ( and in myUniSA.

Assessment Summary

#Form of assessmentLengthDurationWeightingDue date (Adelaide Time)Submit viaObjectives being assessed
1Case study2400 wordsN/A40%11 Apr 2019, 11:59 PMlearnonlineCO1, CO2, CO4, CO5, CO6
2Report3600 wordsN/A60%24 May 2019, 11:59 PMlearnonlineCO1, CO2, CO3, CO4, CO7

Feedback proformas

The feedback proforma is available on your learnonline course site. It can be accessed via the Feedback Form link in the Course Essentials block.


Case study

Task: Short answer questions

  • Select four of the following questions and answer each one with a 600-word answer.
  • Word count does not include references, appendices and attachments.
  • In total you will have written 2,400 words.
  • You are required to have at least four relevant academic references for each of the four answers.
  • Use Times New roman 12-point font.
  • Use the Harvard system of references.


Include a cover sheet on your assignment which includes

  • your name,
  • the name of the assessment,
  • the code and name of the course,
  • and the assignment number. This is Assignment 1.



Answer four short answer questions on arts governance and leadership by the end of week 4. Each question will be a brief case study pertaining to an aspect of arts leadership or governance. Typical scenarios will be covered in class so that students are prepared for the short answer questions set. One hour will be devoted to this task, with a recommended 15 minutes allocated to answering each brief case study.





A small, non-profit arts organisation is dominated by artists on its board. They are all saxophone players, over 50 years of age, with greying hair and white skin. You are a young, female saxophone player. You have been asked to join this board. What steps would you take to help this board move towards a more diverse composition? What benefits does a diverse board bring to an arts organisation? (10 Marks)


The board of directors of Goldfields Gallery has asked directors to sign a disclosure statement immediately, or the organisation will be fined. You were absent from the last board meeting, so you have not had the opportunity to be briefed on the matter. The statement asks you to declare that are satisfied that the company has appropriate processes in place for identifying and responding to risks of fraud; and are aware that the board has appropriately communicated its views on business practices and ethical behaviour to management and employees; and
   3.the company has appropriate operational risk policies in place.

You are aware that the company has draft policies and procedures but they haven’t been approved by the board. What will you do? (10 marks)


Tweedie Headlands, the oldest regional theatre in Australia, with a heritage Victorian building that constantly needs maintaining, is seeking to diversify its funding base. Board members have proposed to seek a commercial partnership with a global company whose product range includes tobacco. As a Board member, how will you make an informed decision and measure the risk, if any, before deciding whether you will vote in favour of such a partnership. (10 marks)


What constitutes a conflict of interest in director’s duties? How can these be best avoided and what action if any should you as a director take if you become aware that a conflict has occurred? (10 Marks)


The board of directors of Oz Ballet is preparing for its first meeting since the Commonwealth government made it mandatory that all Commonwealth funded arts bodies include a staff representative on their Board. The staff elected director has asked that all documents regarding the proposed wage cuts to the company be available to her before the meeting. The CEO is claiming commercial in confidence. Who is right and how should the board respond? (10 marks)


As a board member of a prominent non-profit arts company, your local Member of Parliament has asked that you make a case for the arts. Her colleagues request constant justification for government, corporate and individual support on the grounds that the arts are only for the elite. How would you address this? (10 Marks)


The local community arts company has entered into a $15 million contract to renovate its building. Shortly after the contract is signed the directors of the company are surprised to read newspaper reports alleging that the company to which the contract has been awarded is controlled by the son of the chairman of the board. Has there been a breach of director’s duties? If so how could this have been avoided and what action if any should the board take? (10 marks)


What constitutes a breach of director’s duties? How can these be best avoided and what action if any should you as a director take if you become aware that a breach has occurred? (10 Marks)





  • Report format with cover page (name and course details please!);
  • Section headings which address each of the four sections of the assignment.
  • Students are required to provide references to support the argument.
  • Ensure you include a title page with your name, student ID number, course name and code, and assignment number (e.g., Assignment 2 Report).
  • Include page numbers with your name and ID number in the header on each page. 

Word Limit:

  • 3,600 words (not including references, appendices and attachments)

CEO appointment by the Board


You are the Chair of a major contemporary dance company based in Hobart, Tasmania called DanceHub. Your CEO has resigned. You are recruiting a new CEO. Recruiting a new CEO is a key role of the board. You have advertised the position on ArtsHub and the Australian Institute of Company Directors web sites, as well as in the Weekend Australian Review section which has an arts focus. The key points for the advertisement state that:


Are you entrepreneurial, creative and respect quality in contemporary dance? Can you make dance work in a small, creative city? Then you may be the person for DanceHub! The Board of DanceHub seeks to become a leader in contemporary dance in Australia and Asia. You are required to define, develop and deliver a new and innovative strategy and structure for DanceHub. The successful candidate will possess a clear vision for Hobart. You will establish DanceHub as the pre-eminent contemporary dance company in the Asia-Pacific region. You will also identify means to ensure that DanceHub is financially sound going forward, expanding audiences, diversifying funding and working closely with the artistic director and the board to re-invigorate programming. Based in Hobart, DanceHub is committed to fair and equitable treatment of all employees and volunteers. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are encouraged to apply.


Your company has been successful in raising funds, other than from government, but contemporary dance traditionally has small audiences that make it difficult to ‘balance the books.’ You have a small, committed philanthropic team of 1 person. The CEO will be expected to commit to broadening the networks and raising funds too as part of the role.


You are going to make a presentation and write a report (with appropriate title page, executive summary, headings, subheadings, and appendices) to the board to be discussed at the next board meeting.

The purpose of the report is to recommend how to move forward with recruiting for the vacancy for the CEO of DanceHub.


Your task as Chair of the Board is to write a report that includes the RATIONALE for commencing recruitment for a new CEO. You will include in your report to the Board:

  1. a full advertisement for the CEO for the board directors to consider at the next meeting
  2. develop a position description and selection criteria for a new CEO
  3. develop an induction program for a new CEO
  4. develop benchmarks for performance (i.e., key performance indicators) to ensure you appoint the right person for the role

Please make reference to concepts introduced in the course using references to support your argument.


In your assignment should

  • define your terminology and key terms used in the report
  • outline various positions, making reference to the recommended reading list for this course and your own research
  • express and substantiate your arguments clearly
  • include at least eight to ten academic articles to show appropriate levels of reading.
  • cite references both in text and in a list of references at the end of the assignment
  • use appendices for detailed information that substantiates your argument. Appendices used at the end of the report need to be referred to in the body of the report. 

Appendices and references are not included in the word limit for this assignment. 

Submission and return of assessment tasks

See above under Assessment details.

Exam Arrangements

This course does not have an exam.

Variations to exam arrangements

Variation to exam arrangements does not apply to this course.

Supplementary Assessment

Supplementary assessment or examination offers students an opportunity to gain a supplementary pass (SP) and is available to all students under the following conditions unless supplementary assessment or examination has not been approved for the course:

  1. if the student has achieved a final grade between 45-49 per cent (F1) in a course
  2. if a student who has successfully completed all of the courses within their program, with the exception of two courses in which they were enrolled in their final study period, a supplementary assessment or examination may be granted where the final grade in either or both of these courses, is less than 45 percent (F1 or F2) and all assessments in the courses were attempted by the student. Supplementary assessment will not be available for a course under investigation for academic integrity until the investigation is completed, and determined that it did not constitute academic misconduct.

More information about supplementary assessment is available in section 7.5 of the Assessment Policy and Procedures Manual.

Important information about all assessment

All students must adhere to the University of South Australia's policies about assessment:

Additional assessment requirements

There are no additional assessment requirements identified for this course.

Students with disabilities or medical conditions

Students with disabilities or medical conditions or students who are carers of a person with a disability may be entitled to a variation or modification to standard assessment arrangements.  See Section 7 of the Assessment Policy and Procedures Manual (APPM) at:


Students who require variations or modifications to standard assessment arrangements should make contact with their Course Coordinator as early as possible in order to ensure that appropriate supports can be implemented or arranged in a timely manner.


Students can register for an Access Plan with UniSA Access & Inclusion Service. It is important to make contact early to ensure that appropriate support can be implemented or arranged in a timely manner. See the Disability Hub for more information:

Students are advised there is a deadline to finalise Access Plan arrangements for examinations. Further information is available at:

Deferred Assessment or Examination

Deferred assessment or examination is available for the course.

Special Consideration

Special consideration is available for this course. Note: Special consideration cannot be granted for a deferred assessment or examination, or a supplementary assessment or examination. APPM 7.7.6

Variations to assessment tasks

Variation to assessment methods, tasks and timelines may be provided in:

Unexpected or exceptional circumstances, for example bereavement, unexpected illness (details of unexpected or exceptional circumstances for which variation may be considered are discussed in clauses 7.8 - 7.10 of the Assessment Policy and Procedures Manual). Variation to assessment in unexpected or exceptional circumstances should be discussed with your course coordinator as soon as possible.

Special circumstances, for example religious observance grounds, or community services (details of special circumstances for which variation can be considered are discussed in clause 7.11 of the Assessment Policy and Procedures Manual). Variations to assessment in expected circumstances must be requested within the first two weeks of the course (or equivalent for accelerated or intensive teaching).


Students with disabilities or medical conditions please refer to Students with disabilities or medical conditions.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the foundation of university life and is fundamental to the reputation of UniSA and its staff and students. Academic integrity means a commitment by all staff and students to act with honesty, trustworthiness, fairness, respect and responsibility in all academic work.

An important part of practising integrity in academic work is showing respect for other people's ideas, and being honest about how they have contributed to your work. This means taking care not to represent the work of others as your own. Using another person's work without proper acknowledgement is considered Academic Misconduct, and the University takes this very seriously.

The University of South Australia expects students to demonstrate the highest standards of academic integrity so that its degrees are earned honestly and are trusted and valued by its students and their employers. To ensure this happens, the University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. For example, work submitted electronically by students for assessment will be examined for copied and un-referenced text using the text comparison software Turnitin

More information about academic integrity and what constitutes academic misconduct can be found in Section 9 of the Assessment Policies and Procedures Manual (APPM): The Academic Integrity Module explains in more detail how students can work with integrity at the University:

Action from previous evaluations

This is a new course. Please complete the MyCourse Experience questionnaire at the end of the study period so that your feedback can be taken into account for future offerings of this course.

Course Calendar

WeekDatesTopicAssessment details (Adelaide Time)Public Holidays
25 February - 3 MarchPreparation Week - Make sure you are online and have completed the preparation week activities
104 - 10 MarchArts and Cultural context for leadership and governance
211 - 17 MarchThe individual director on non-profit arts boards: How passion drives performanceAdelaide Cup Day 11 Mar 2019
318 - 24 MarchAvoiding financial crises in the arts: Is governance the answer?
425 - 31 MarchStrategy versus operations: getting the balance right
501 - 7 AprilBoard Performance
608 - 14 AprilBoard ConformanceCase study due 11 Apr 2019, 11:59 PM
15 - 21 AprilMid-breakGood Friday 19 Apr 2019
Easter Saturday 20 Apr 2019
22 - 28 AprilMid-breakEaster Monday 22 Apr 2019
ANZAC Day 25 Apr 2019
729 April - 5 MayAvoiding conflict of interest
806 - 12 MayGender and ethnic diversity on arts boards
913 - 19 MayLeadership at the top
1020 - 26 MayGovernance in PracticeReport due 24 May 2019, 11:59 PM
27 May - 2 JuneSwot-vac
03 - 9 JuneExam week