Ros Abercrombie: Arts Leaders Program

Jan 15, 2020

Ros has been working in the arts industry for over 20 years with experience across creative direction, strategic design and arts management. Ros is currently the Executive Director of Regional Arts Australia.


What attracted you to the Leadership Program?

As the Executive Director of RAA I facilitate cross–sector, multi arts and intergenerational connections across the arts and creative industries in rural, regional and remote Australia.  Working creatively and collaboratively I work to advocate and support long-term regional sustainability and implement learnings to engage alternative and new models and generate dialogue between the rural and regional communities in which RAA works. This leadership program provides me with am opportunity for ongoing exchange and learning with peers and for opening future connections and opportunities locally, nationally and internationally.

Why do you think it is important to develop Arts Leaders?

The time is right for the arts and creative industries to take a lead role in regional development and for the arts to be understood as essential in the make-up of future liveable regions. It is increasingly critical that the Arts sector has a voice at all levels of government, industry, not-for-profits and commercial businesses and that leaders are best equipped and able to advocate effectively across disciplines and across policy sectors.

Are there ideas around leadership that need to change for our sector to thrive? Are the current notions of leadership still relevant?

I have observed a national Arts sector that demands a critical dialogue and is asking its representative organisations to understand the complexities of the cultural landscape and to provide leadership across all levels of government and business.

I believe in the importance of cross sector partnerships and collaborations as critical for the arts and culture sector to remain strong and vibrant and to set future directions.

What are the top three qualities of leaders that inspire you?

Ethical, integrity and respect.


Ros has been working in the arts industry for over 20 years with experience across Creative Direction, Strategic Design and Arts management.

Ros is the Executive Director of Regional Arts Australia, prior to which she was the Director and Creative Producer for Artlands Victoria (Australia’s national regional arts event) and other significant arts festivals.

Ros is committed to the concepts of collaboration as vital to building arts and creative industries and believes in the need to be innovative, accessible and founded in a practice that is multidisciplinary and participatory.

A signature of her approach is to bring together emerging, established and community artists. Her cross-disciplinary approach blends practical and academic experience. Ros considers art spaces as a cultural landscape to be more than their physical place and designs programs for the spaces in-between crafting unique contemporary experiences.

Working across the arts regionally, Ros is embedded in the national regional arts sector and has an understanding of state, national and international relations.

Learn more about the 2020 Leadership Program participants.