UP Projects Chair of Board of Trustees

UP Projects
London (Greater)
Voluntary, some out of pocket travel expenses paid
14 Oct 2021
31 Oct 2021
Hours per month
1 to 10 hours
Long Term

About UP Projects

UP Projects curates and commissions public art. The organisation was founded in 2002 by Emma Underhill, with a mission to support artists to make new work that has social relevance, engages communities, encourages learning and enriches the public sphere.

We work collaboratively with artists, communities and partners to create extraordinary projects. Our outlook is international, activating spaces across the globe and in the digital domain. Our work explores the multitude of ways in which people can encounter and connect with contemporary art in unexpected places.

UP Projects reaches millions of people through ambitious public commissions by a diverse selection of artists, informal learning activities, artist-led community engagement and events.

We believe art and artists play a vital role in stimulating debate, shaping our environment, encouraging participation, and effecting social change. UP Projects is therefore committed to nurturing artists’ and curators’ socially-engaged practice through our learning and development programmes as well as through our projects.


We work with a broad range of public and private sector partners including major public bodies such as the Greater London Authority, local authorities and government ministerial departments, cultural institutions including Barbican Centre, Welcome Collection, Touchstones Rochdale and Flat Time House, corporations such as Crossrail and London Legacy Development Corporation, cultural festivals including Art Night London and Creative Folkestone Triennial, and education faculties such as Queen Mary University and Kings College London. We support our partners to be bold and innovative, bringing a breadth of experience and skills covering strategy writing, public art commissioning, digital commissioning, artist selection processes, community engagement, evaluation, and public event programming.

UP Projects receives regular funding from Arts Council England as a National Portfolio Organisation (NPO). The organisation achieves a mixed income generation model including project related funding from Public Funders, Trusts and Foundations, sponsorship, individual donors and earned income. The organisation became a charity in 2017 with charity number 1170960. It is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales with company number 4971057.


Our Core Values

Artistic Excellence – UP Projects deliver artistic work and cultural experiences that represent the height of ambition, talent and skill.  

Innovation – UP Projects provide an experimental platform for commissioning that challenges convention, questions our approach, supports risk taking and tests new ideas. 

Relevance – UP Projects are responsive to contemporary life and the diversity of the UK today; we consider social, political, geographical and historical contexts.  

Openness – We are open to collaboration, and to making our work as accessible as possible to people: conceptually, physically, geographically, considering disability and barriers to access. 

Learning to Learn – We take a collaborative and non-hierarchical approach to learning for all.    

Our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion

We want to create and sustain a productive, diverse and inclusive working environment. We expect everyone who works with us to champion this ambition and embed it in their day-to-day work and we monitor it through our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan. UP Projects recognises that diversity and inclusion is critical to the success of our organisation and that it is essential that the organisation’s team is representative of the diverse communities that we serve. We encourage applicants from all backgrounds and communities, and are particularly interested in receiving applications from people currently underrepresented within our organisation.

Description of the role and person specification

UP Projects’ Chair of Board of Trustees has the same governance responsibilities as the other members of the board. The description below sets out the additional duties that are part of the role of the Chair and should be read together with the UP Projects Trustee Role Description Document.

The role of the Chair

The purpose of the Chair of Board of Trustees is:

  • To lead and direct the Board and the organisation through an exciting period of development, evolution, and artistic vision
  • To ensure the Trustees fulfil their duties and responsibilities for the proper governance of UP Projects
  • To support the Founding Director, and to ensure the Board works in partnership with the Director and team


In addition to the responsibilities and duties set out in the Trustee role description, the Chair of Board of Trustees has the following responsibilities:

  • Chairing the Trustee Board meetings.
  • Providing Leadership – being willing and able to lead the organisation in partnership with the Founding Director, acting as a trusted advisor and providing support.
  • Clarity of Purpose – ensuring decisions made by the Board advance the purpose of the organisation in line with its vision, values and charitable objectives.
  • Creating Cohesion – nurturing productive relationships with and among other Trustees.
  • Considered Decision making – steering the board in identifying the key governance decisions that need to be made and managing any potential conflicts of interest.
  • Board Development - Ensuring the Board has on it the skills, expertise and lived experience required to govern UP Projects to the highest possible standard of governance.
  • Coordinating the annual performance evaluation of the Founding Director.
  • Acting as a figurehead and ambassador for the charity – representing it at events, meetings, through dialogue with networks, and potentially in the press.

Person Specification

In addition to the specification for the general role of Trustees, ideal candidates for the role of the Chair of Board of Trustees will also demonstrate:

  • A track record of high achievement and leadership
  • Strategic arts and business understanding
  • Good financial comprehension, particularly of the not-for-profit sector
  • Strong personal networks in relevant sectors
  • Prior Board experience and skill at managing meetings
  • Good understanding of Governance
  • Demonstrable public presence
  • Excellent communication and listening skills
  • Decisive under pressure
  • Ability to work collaboratively and supportively
  • Ability and willingness to devote the necessary time and energy to UP Projects

Essential Information

  • This is a voluntary role
  • Time commitment: Four board meetings a year, two online and two in person (in different locations). Additionally, Trustees are encouraged to join at least one of four Board Steering Panels which involves attending up to four online meetings per year plus ad hoc advice and discussion when needed. The Chair role requires a minimum of 6-8 hours per month.
  • Closing date: 31 October 2021, Midnight

How to apply

Please send us your CV, biography or equivalent, along with a short cover letter that summarises your interest in the role of Chair of the Board of Trustees at UP Projects and the skills and experience you would bring to the organisation. We are also keen to hear how you match the person specification outlined above.

Applications can be submitted in written form or as a video file. Please send them by email to tamsin@upprojects.com no later than 31 October 2021, midnight.

Interviews will be held online on Thursday 18 November 2021.

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