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Leadership Recruitment

Lakeside Terrace

Photo by Dion Barrett

Building London’s Creative Catalyst for arts, curiosity, and enterprise

Welcome to the Barbican and thank you for your interest in joining us. We have three exciting roles open in our committed team, each of which offer challenge and opportunity in equal measure. 

To say that every day is unique at the Barbican is an understatement. The Barbican is a creative catalyst that sparks possibilities and transformation for artists, audiences, and communities. We have an important role to play in creating and supporting a thriving cultural ecology, here in the City, in London, and beyond.   

Our programme is broad and deep – each year we put on thousands of events spanning art, music, theatre, dance, cinema, book talks, learning programmes, community projects, graduations, weddings and business conferences. And we have a gift shop, bars, cafés and restaurants. It’s a lot. You name it, we do it.  

But the Barbican is more than just an audacious, iconic architectural landmark; it’s a place for discovery, a refuge for personal reflection, and a rich resource for our local community – which now extends far outside of our immediate boundaries. And we’re doing it in our stunning building which is undergoing a major renewal programme.  This will care for the things people love about the Barbican, whilst opening the creative experience for everyone. 

Since I joined the team about a year and half ago, we’ve spent a lot of time developing and reflecting on our purpose and values – about what it means to be a Creative Catalyst in London, and how this, alongside our values of being inclusive, sustainable, connected, daring, and joyful – influences both what we do, how we do it and who we do it for. 

We have recently finalised our new organisational shared goals – our strategic framework that sets out the areas we want to transform over the next 3–5 years. These shared goals unify us as an organisation and ensure clarity around what we’re all collectively trying to achieve.  

And this is where you come in. It’s an exciting period of change at the Barbican and we’re looking for motivated individuals who are keen to help transform our programming, our engagement with audiences, our building, our people, and help us reimagine what an arts centre can be. In return we offer a vibrant culture, flexible work practices and a team that is as committed as any you will find in the world.

If you feel inspired to shape the future of the Barbican and have a passion for people, audiences and  creativity, then we hope to hear from you. 


Claire Spencer 
CEO, Barbican Centre 

Annual Report

A photo along the Barbican Lakeside in bright sunshine, with a tower at the far end

Annual Report 2022-2023

Watch our Annual Report for 2022/23, featuring five staff members who reflect on a successful year and explain in their words what the Barbican means to them.

Our shared values

Barbican Centre Foyer

Our purpose and values

We’re London’s Creative Catalyst for arts, curiosity, and enterprise. We spark creative possibilities and transformation for artists, audiences, and communities – to inspire, connect and provoke debate.  

We’re the place to be in this Destination City, where everyone is welcome. Our impact is felt far outside our walls and ripples beyond the experiences we offer – locally, nationally, and internationally.  

We want to ensure that creativity, inclusion, community, and enterprise are an essential part of the Barbican’s future development. By underpinning everything we do with our organisational values, by being inclusive, connected, sustainable, and daring, and by approaching our work in a joyful way, we hope that being part of the Barbican community will become a positive, life-enhancing experience for everyone.  

Strategic framework

Our organisation-wide strategy enables us to deliver our purpose and values. It sets out the areas we want to transform over the next 3-5 years. These shared goals also unify us as an organisation and ensures clarity around what we’re all collectively trying to achieve.  


Read the framework

We're changing

Focussed firmly on the future, we’re working on ambitious plans to create better access to the arts, transforming our building reimagining what an arts centre can be, and doing our part to address the climate crisis. Through our work on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, we’ll ensure the Barbican becomes a place where everyone belongs – where creativity, enterprise, and learning coexist, and everybody can achieve their fullest potential.  


Read more

Our people and governance

From Theatre Administrators and Music Programmers to Engineers and Event Managers, the Barbican is an exciting and inspiring place to work.   

Our people are our greatest asset and they sit at the heart of everything we do. Every member of our 700+ staff plays a vital role in making the Barbican a catalyst for creativity which sparks possibilities for artists, audiences, and communities.    

The Barbican was founded by the City of London Corporation, which remains our principal funder today. It’s also the employer of all our staff. The Barbican is governed by the Barbican Centre Board, consisting of City of London Corporation and external members. Our charitable arm, the Barbican Centre Trust is led by a cross-section of corporate and cultural leaders. 

View the org chart

10 surprising things you might not know about the Barbican

1. We have our own Conservatory  
It's the biggest in London after Kew Gardens with over 1,500 species of plants and trees. Its original purpose was to hide part of our theatre fly tower - the tall building which holds scenery to be flown in on the stage of the Theatre below. In early design proposals, the Conservatory was envisioned inside a giant glass pyramid on the lake.  

2. There's a time capsule in our foundations  
It was laid in the early 1970s as building work got underway and has stayed untouched ever since. Jack Waller, an engineer who worked for a number of years from start to finish on the building site, filmed the time capsule being cemented in.   

3. The London Symphony Orchestra has recorded some of the most iconic movie soundtracks   
Our Resident Orchestra, the LSO, has recorded soundtracks for some of the biggest blockbuster movies including Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, Fiddler on the Roof, The Sound of Music, plus many more.  

4. We nurture the next generation of creatives  
Every year we run hundreds of learning activities, development programmes and events to nearly 50,000 participants, providing the resources needed for more young people to develop their artistic practice and access jobs in the creative industry.  

5. There are two Banksy artworks on our famous concrete walls  
Inspired by our hugely popular Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibition in 2017 titled, Basquiat: Boom For Real, Banksy paid us a clandestine visit just before the opening of the show and created two works overnight in homage to the pioneering New York artist.  


6. Our popular Martini Bar was inspired by a James Bond exhibition  
Believe it or not, but our Martini Bar started out as a pop-up bar in 2012 to cater to discerning Martini drinkers visiting our Designing 007 exhibition, and has been producing an exciting range of cocktails, both shaken and stirred, ever since.  

7. Lights, camera, action!  
The Barbican’s striking architecture has been the backdrop of numerous films and music videos for some of the biggest pop stars including Harry Styles’s hit 2022 single As It Was, Skepta's 2015 grime anthem Shutdown, and, of course, Kylie Minogue’s 2004 single Giving You Up featuring a giant 17-foot-high Kylie walking through the Barbican’s Beech Street.    

8. A revolutionary theatre  
On 8 October 1985, we presented the world premiere of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Les Misérables. The musical adaptation of a 19th century novel by Victor Hugo opened to initially unfavourable reviews. However, now in its 32nd year, Les Misérables is currently the world's longest running musical, and has played to more than 65 million people in 42 countries and 22 languages. And it all started in our theatre!    

9. A different kind of cinema experience  
The Barbican’s architects Chamberlin, Powell, and Bon had never designed a performing arts centre before they started working on the Barbican. As a result, when they were designing the cinema, they originally had the screen on the ceiling and the front row would have had moviegoers lying down on beds.  

10. Beyond our walls  
We often co-create events, from large-scale festivals to more-intimate talks and screenings, made by, for, and with our communities and neighbourhoods. We also offer community-led funding and grants which allows people to test new ideas and make things happen together in their local community.  

Director for Audiences

The Director for Audiences leads all aspects of the audience experience and journey. They will have a remit covering existing audiences but also those that are yet to engage. As such, the role leads the marketing, press and media relations, external affairs, digital engagement, brand and design, visitor and online experience and ticketing teams. It further ensures we present ourselves to the world in an embracing, inclusive, consistent and impactful way. 

This role is part of the Directors’ Group and reports directly to the CEO of the Barbican.   

They will lead in developing and implementing our Audiences Strategy, with clear goals to include new, diverse and more representative communities, and to improve the overall audience experience. 

The Director will develop an overarching communications and marketing strategy consistent with our Purpose, Values, artistic and corporate ambitions and which aligns to enhance the Barbican’s reputation, extend our reach and develop our revenues and income streams. They will also lead in driving digital transformation in the areas of promotional content creation and the management of our social channels and platforms and enhancing visitor experience through the use of technology. 

The Director will be accountable for the delivery of all the audience facing functions, with oversight of the end-to-end experience, both in person and online. It will also have accountability for: 

  • Reinforcing and building relationships with current visitors and audiences 

  • Developing strategies to attract new audiences  


Job Description - Director for Audiences

Summary of Terms and Conditions of Employment


Apply through GatenbySanderson


Recruitment timeline 

Deadline for applications: 24 November 2023, 09:00

Online psychometric tests: 29 November – 6 December 2023

Fireside chats: 4 December, in person, throughout the day, at the Barbican 

Colleague engagement panel: 6 December, in person, at the Barbican 

Final panel interviews: 11 December, in person, at the Barbican

Director for Buildings and Renewal

This post will manage the significant impact that the physical estate of the Barbican Centre and Guildhall School of Music and Drama has on the experience of millions of visitors, partners, staff, students, residents, artists and performers as well on the Barbican’s and the Guildhall School’s financial and environmental/sustainability and performance.  

The role has the unique vantage point of managing the specific challenges of the Barbican and School estates as well as leading the ambitions of our bold and visionary new plans as part of our Barbican Renewal Programme.  

Key aspects of this role will include strategic organisational planning and operational leadership, advising on estate management matters and driving value, including via third party/outsourced service providers in collaboration with the City of London’s City Surveyor. It will also drive and coordinate a fit for purpose approach to planned and reactive maintenance, security, health and safety, project and facilities management.   

The Director for Buildings and Renewal will ensure infrastructure and any relevant capital projects are delivered on time, to scope, to quality and within budget.  

This role is part of the Directors’ Group and reports directly to the CEO of the Barbican.   

The Director will develop and deliver on our organisational strategy as it pertains to the ongoing operation and maintenance of our buildings and facilities, ensuring the Barbican Renewal Programme will both restore and transform the Centre. They will also lead on all things to do with climate action and sustainability, as the most significant impact we can have is through our buildings. 

The Director will also have oversight of a number of contracts and services and will need to ensure that value for money, service delivery, innovation and environmental sustainability, audience sensitivity and staff well-being and productivity are at the heart of key decisions.  

This role will also be accountable for the delivery of the engineering (including buildings compliance and buildings risk management), projects, Barbican Renewal, climate action, safety and security activities, with oversight of everything that happens in the Centre related to these activities. 

Job Description - Director for Buildings and Renewal

Summary of Terms and Conditions of Employment

Recruitment agent

If you are an inclusive and leader looking for a new challenge, please contact our recruitment advisors at McLean Public:
Jonathan Swain on 07733 304094 or Rebecca Rampat on 07957 730837

Recruitment timeline 

Deadline for applications: 24 November 2023, 09:00

Online psychometric tests: 29 November – 6 December 2023

Fireside chats: 4 December, in person, throughout the day at the Barbican 

Colleague engagement panel: 6 December, in person, at the Barbican 

Final panel interviews: 12 December, in person, at the Barbican

Director for Arts and Participation

Working with our Heads of Art Forms (Music, Theatre and Dance, Cinema, Visual Arts, Barbican Immersive, and Creative Collaboration) the Director will develop and communicate an inspiring, distinctive, and forward-looking vision for arts and participation for a new generation of audiences as well as for existing audiences. 

They will take the Barbican’s leading reputation to the next stage and bring our purpose of being “London’s creative catalyst” to life. The Director will provide visible leadership both internally amongst staff and externally in the industry in delivering a diverse world-class, relevant artistic programme within available resources. The successful individual will be a magnet for artists and supporters, and act as an enabler for the arts, championing the industry, and connecting within and outside the organisation. The arts and participation division has circa 180 employees and the Director will be responsible for a salaries and expenditure budget of around £20m and an income budget of £12m.

They will also nurture and encourage greater integration and co-ordination between the activities of the Barbican and the wider arts activity of the Corporation of London, providing the highest level of best practice, advice and expertise to support the aspirations of Destination City, the Corporation’s strategy to make the City the best place to work, rest, play and visit. 

This role is part of the Directors’ Group and reports directly to the CEO of the Barbican. 

Job Description - Director for Arts and Participation

Summary of Terms and Conditions of Employment

Recruitment agent

Apply through Green Park

Please contact our Executive Search Partners at Green Park for more information or an informal conversation.
Ali Hollingbery can be contacted on 01730-776655 (VOiP) or [email protected]

Recruitment timeline 

Deadline for applications: 8 January 2024, 09:00

Online psychometric tests: to be scheduled

Fireside chats: to be scheduled

Colleague engagement panel: to be scheduled

Final panel interviews: week commencing 5 February 2024