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Director of Civic and Arts

Engagement and Advancement

Location:  Highfield Campus
Salary:   Competitive: Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience (Level 7)
Full Time Permanent
Closing Date:  Friday 17 February 2023
Interview Date:   Friday 10 March 2023
Reference:  2146123CD

Shape our success

This is your chance to shape the way the University of Southampton engages with its cities of Southampton and Winchester, and the surrounding region.

We are seeking a visionary Director of Civic and Arts to deliver our new University Strategy’s commitment to being a powerful civic partner, making a positive social impact, increasing social mobility, transforming lives and enhancing prosperity, and contributing to local arts and culture.

Over the past year we have significantly strengthened our regional and civic links, and we will shortly be signing new formal Civic University partnership agreements with all five of our local authority partners. Our annual impact across the UK economy is remarkable – the most recent report documents an annual impact of £4.14 billion. of which nearly half directly benefits the South East and the Southampton region in particular.

The Director of Civic and Arts is a new role that will provide leadership around the new regional Civic University agreements, co-ordinate delivery of the university’s new Civic strategic plan, and  oversee our Arts and culture activities.   

Reporting jointly to the Executive Director Engagement and Advancement and the Executive Director of Research and Innovation Services, and with strong links to the Vice-President International and Global Engagement, you will have University-wide oversight and co-ordination of all activities relating to our civic and arts activities, spread across many of our academic and professional services functions.

You will regularly represent the University externally to enhance our reputation and contribute to our civic and regional activities, and support key members of the University Executive Board in their civic activities.

This is a fantastic opportunity to shape a new role, build a new approach, and make real impact.  

About you

You will need to provide visible and inspirational leadership, within the University and to our many civic stakeholders.  

To make the most of this exciting role, you will need a strong track record of achievement in engagement at multiple levels, from political to community stakeholders, and successful delivery of tangible outcomes. You will need a clear understanding of the civic role a University can play through its research, knowledge exchange and enterprise, and through arts and culture, in achieving socio-economic benefit, a positive social impact, increasing social mobility, transforming lives and enhancing prosperity.

A proven leader, you will be able to communicate and influence at all levels, comfortable with matrix working in a complex institution, fostering collaborative working relationships and solving complex problems. You will be able to translate strategic vision into reality, and you will have highly developed project management skills which enable you to direct and manage transformational projects supporting the University strategy. 

What we can offer you  

We support a flexible approach to work, as well as additional benefits that will make your life easier, such as a corporate healthcare scheme and generous holiday allowance. We will support your long-term future too, with access to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), subsidised health and fitness facilities, and a range of discounts. Furthermore, Southampton is a fantastic place in which to live, work and socialise; regardless of what life stage you are at, you will find yourself in a dynamic and vibrant city that caters for all. 

If you want to take your career to new heights and believe you have the skills, experience and drive to help shape the future of the University of Southampton, then we look forward to receiving your application.  We value diversity and it’s important to us that we find the right person, whatever their circumstances and we will look to be as flexible as we can to accommodate the right candidate(s).

A global and diverse university 

Southampton is aspiring to be a truly agile organisation, exemplified by our adaptations over the last 18 months. Our interim Bridging Strategy helped us navigate the impacts of COVID-19, enabling us to think smarter and approach challenges more flexibly. This smoothly transformed into our new University Strategy , which was launched in January this year. Our new Strategy encapsulates our Triple Helix of excellence that is research-education-enterprise, which makes the Southampton offer distinctive. It is against this backdrop that you will use your professional and personal life experiences to help us take the next steps. 

We welcome students and staff from all walks of life, and we champion a uniquely diverse working environment in which every colleague can excel, regardless of their background or life choices. We invite like-minded people into our community: people who care about changing the world, and who share our passion and vision for creating an innovative and forward-thinking learning and research environment.

As a founding member of the prestigious Russell Group, we have a global reputation for delivering world-class education, research and enterprise that makes a real impact on society’s biggest challenges. These challenges are broad and complex, and with the impact of the pandemic to contend with, it is more important than ever that we work creatively to reaffirm what matters most to us as a diverse community.    

We believe that we can only truly meet our objectives if we are reflective of society, so we are passionate about creating an environment in which you are free to bring your whole self to work. We are a Stonewall Diversity Champion and are immensely proud to have been awarded an institutional Athena SWAN silver award, which underpins our pledge to improve equality for women. We work with our people to ensure their ideas are always heard, and we invite you to share your background and life experiences with us to help us create a truly unique working environment.

We aim to create an environment where everyone can thrive and are proactive in fostering a culture of inclusion, respect and equality of opportunity. We believe that we can only truly meet our objectives if we are reflective of society, so we are passionate about creating a working environment in which you are free to bring your whole self to work. We welcome applications from candidates who are committed to helping us create an inclusive work environment. We encourage applications from candidates from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, people who identify as LGBTQ+; and people with disabilities. We would particularly welcome applications from candidates from working class, first generation Higher Education, the Global South and other underrepresented groups.  

Important dates 

A formal panel interview and a Stakeholder panel engagement opportunity are scheduled in-person in Southampton on Friday 10 March 2023.

How to apply

If you would like an informal discussion about the position, please contact 

Shaun Williams, Executive Director Engagement & Advancement: Shaun.Williams@soton.ac.uk  

Lorna Colquhoun, Executive Director Research & Innovation Services: L.M.Colquhoun@soton.ac.uk

Application Procedure 

You should submit your completed online application form at https://jobs.soton.ac.uk. The application deadline will be midnight on the closing date stated above. Please submit details for 3 referees and include your CV and publication list with your application. If you need any assistance, please call Wayne Wan (Recruitment Team) on +44 (0) 23 8059 2750, or email recruitment@soton.ac.uk. Please quote reference 2146123CD on all correspondence.

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Further details:

We believe equality, diversity and inclusion are fundamental to making the University of Southampton a welcoming, vibrant and successful organisation. Having a diverse workforce, inclusive of people of all ages and beliefs, from different racial, educational and social backgrounds opens up a wealth of possibilities, makes us more creative and accelerates our impact on society. We welcome applicants that value the diversity of our community and are willing to play their part in supporting the mission of inclusivity. 

Please note that applications from agencies will not be accepted unless indicated in the job advert.


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