Job title: Executive Director
Reports to: Artistic Director/CEO
Direct reports: Supervise Shubbak staff and any employees or freelance consultants (including conducting staff evaluations), as agreed with CEO
Salary range: £40,000 – £45,000 per annum (full time), dependent on experience
Application Deadline: Midnight 15th May 2019

Shubbak, the UK’s largest festival of contemporary Arab culture, is looking to appoint an Executive Director to join the team and work with Artistic Director/CEO Eckhard Thiemann to lead the organisation into our ten year anniversary and beyond.
Founded in 2011, Shubbak presents the work of Arab artists on major stages in London and across the UK in our festival every two years. We work closely with artists, venues and community organisations to produce a cutting edge festival, along with arts-focused participatory programmes on a year-round basis. Shubbak is a winner of the 2018 UNESCO Sharjah award for Arab Culture, and is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.
Following the appointment of Dan Gorman as director of English Pen from August 2019, we are now seeking to appoint an Executive Director to work with Artistic Director/CEO Eckhard Thiemann, the Board and the Shubbak team on continuing to develop and grow the work of Shubbak.
Working in partnership with and reporting to the Artistic Director/CEO, the Executive Director will provide Shubbak with strategic leadership, business planning, fundraising and partnerships as they oversee the organisation’s operational, administrative and finance functions

Shubbak is Europe’s largest festival of contemporary Arab culture, and winner of the 2018 UNESCO Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture. Our 2017 festival took place across London over 16 days in more than 30 venues, with over 60 events reaching over 50,00 people. Media coverage included BBC Radio 4’s Front Row, The Guardian’s Top 10, Time Out’s pick of the week and more, along with partnerships including the Royal Opera, Southbank Centre and Barbican. The festival had significant audience success, with one night enjoying 5 simultaneous sold out events on the same night and was met a strong critical response include a number of 4-star reviews and highlight listings, as well as new venue partnerships, increased engagement work and increased national reach. Shubbak is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.

Shubbak is now building towards our 2019 festival, to take place from 28 June – 14 July 2019 at venues across London, with work also touring to cultural partners across England. This festival will feature over 150 Arab artists, with cultural partners including the Barbican, British Museum, British Library, Southbank Centre, Gate Theatre, Rich Mix and more. Shubbak’s 2019 principal partners are Arts Council England, British Council, Bagri Foundation and A. M. Qattan Foundation.

In addition to the public event programme of the festival, Shubbak hosts a range of sector-facing events of professional development opportunities, panel discussions, networking and advocacy events to promote contemporary Arab culture.

Working with the Artistic Director/CEO, the Executive Director will provide Shubbak with strategic leadership, particularly in the areas of business planning, fundraising and partnerships. They will lead the team and oversee the organisation’s operational, administrative and finance functions. This will include ensuring Shubbak is fully compliant with all relevant legislation and charitable requirements. They will work closely with the Board of Trustees, Shubbak’s public and private funding supporters and our diverse range of partners.
The post will be based at Shubbak’s office, in the Arab British Centre, 1 Gough Square, London, EC4A 3DE.


  1. Organisational Strategy
    • Contribute to shaping the vision of Shubbak as a leading international festival to promote contemporary Arab culture.
    • Work with the Artistic Director to develop new ways of ensuring Shubbak represents a platform for the very best contemporary artists, musicians, writers, filmmakers, architects and designers of Arab origin.
    • Maintain relationships with current stakeholders, including patrons, and develop new relationships with key cultural organisations and individuals both in the UK, internationally and across the Arab region.
    • Work with the Artistic Director and Board of Trustees to ensure the organisation follows a path of sustainable growth.
  2. Organisational Development and Fundraising
    • Develop and lead on a strong fundraising strategy for Shubbak, in collaboration with the Artistic Director and the board of trustees.
    • Be responsible for the preparation of all sponsorship proposals and public, trust and foundation funding applications
    • Develop individual giving opportunities for Shubbak
    • Develop corporate partners.
    • Develop other fund raising vehicles for the organisation as appropriate.
  3. Organisational Leadership and Management
    • Coordinate with AD/CEO and Shubbak Chair agendas for board meetings.
    • Attend and minute all regular and special meetings of the Shubbak Board of Directors.
    • Keep Board of Directors informed by timely reports deemed necessary by the AD/CEO and Executive Director, required by the Board, required by the by-laws, and/or required by law.
    • Identify and research issues for the Board of Directors.
    • Plan and execute the operations of Shubbak in accordance with the by-laws and policies of the Board.
    • Develop and present to the Executive Committee a strategy for accomplishing the objectives of the Board of Directors.
    • Supervise Shubbak staff and any employees or freelance consultants (including conducting staff evaluations), as agreed with CEO.
    • Develop office staff position descriptions and make hiring and termination decisions in collaboration with the Board of Directors.
  4. Organisational Finances
    • Manage the organisational and festival budget and oversee all accounting processes for the charity.
  5. Administration oversight
    • Be responsible for the administrative running of the charity, including filing annual returns, coordinating with the Charity Commission and HMRC and handling all the paperwork connected to the charity.
    • Develop record keeping systems for the charity to include all legal paperwork, grant paperwork and finance paperwork
  6. Marketing and Public Relations
    • Act as an ambassador for the Festival and its representatives.
    • Oversee all marketing and press activity of the Festival.
  7. Other duties as assigned

The Executive Director shall report to and be supervised directly by the Artistic Director/CEO.

You will have strong experience of leadership in the cultural sector, with a focus on strategic planning, generating income, developing effective relationships and collaboration.
• Have held a senior management position in a cultural organisation or equivalent for a minimum of three years.
• A leadership approach that combines innovation and entrepreneurialism with a pragmatic and rigorous approach to business management
• Demonstrated ability to lead and inspire a team, manage staff and work closely with a Board of Trustees
• Experience in scenario planning, business plan development and the setting of a long-term strategy
• Strong diplomacy and astute negotiation skills, proven experience of using a fair and firm approach to negotiating complex terms with artists, partners and other stakeholders
• Experience in taking financial responsibility for organisations and/or major projects including setting and controlling budgets
• Demonstrated ability to fundraise through public and private grant applications
• Knowledge of trends within the arts, cultural field and, more broadly, the third sector in order that Shubbak can maximise its ability to flourish, grow and play a leadership role
• Commitment to equality of access and opportunity, cultivating an inclusive and representative organisation and broader creative sector
• Ability to represent an organisation to a broad range of stakeholders
• Knowledge of the current legislative framework and good practice guidance for charities and limited companies
• Excellent writing and communication skills
• Excellent organisational and time management skills
• A commitment to the aims and mission of Shubbak

• Knowledge of the Arab contemporary arts sector
• Knowledge of the London and UK contemporary arts sector
• A valid DBS enhanced certificate and commitment to Shubbak’s safeguarding policy
• A relevant university degree
• Experience in working within an Arts Council England National Portfolio organisation
• Written or spoken Arabic

Application procedure
Preferably you are eligible to work in the UK to be considered for this role. But Shubbak will aim to initiate work permits and visas for the right candidate.

To apply please send the following: cover letter of no more than 2 pages outlining how you meet the criteria for the post:

Deadline for applications:
Midnight, Wednesday 15 May 2019 (BST)
We aim for interviews for shortlisted candidates to take place in week commencing 20 May. Interviews will take place at The Arab British Centre, 1 Gough Square, EC4A 3DE, UK
Please note that due to limited resources we will not be able to inform candidates who have not been selected for interview.

If you would like to have an informal, confidential conversation about the role, please contact Eckhard Thiemann at