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The Charleston Trust

Archived: Director (Chief Executive)

Charleston is a seventeenth century Sussex farmhouse that from 1916 was the house of two of the most important and influential British artists of the twentieth century – Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. Their home became the country retreat of a group of individuals know as Bloomsbury which included Vanessa Bell’s sister Virginia Woolf, the economist John Maynard Keynes and critics Roger Fry and Clive Bell. Writers Lytton Strachey, TS Eliot and EM Forster were regular visitors. The house has a uniquely decorated interior which is illustrative of the ideals and lifestyle of the Bloomsbury group.

Today, Charleston is a thriving house museum. The Charleston Trust which runs it is internationally renowned for the way it uses the house, collection and intellectual legacy of Bloomsbury as the catalyst for creativity, discussion and debate. It receives no public funding to support its day-to-day running costs and each year is entirely dependent on self-generated income through the shop and café (operated through Charleston Enterprises Ltd) and constant fundraising. Charleston runs an extensive public programme which includes talks, seminars and workshops as well as the popular Charleston Festival in May each year and the short story festival Small Wonder in September. In January 2017 Charleston ran its first Charleston-to-Charleston Literary Festival in Charleston, South Carolina, subsequent editions taking place every November.

Charleston is in the process of completing a £9.3 million capital project (Charleston Centenary Project) which will enable the Trust to open year round creating a much more stable and sustainable future. The Charleston Centenary Project includes restoration of the Grade II listed barns into an auditorium and café as well as the creation of new Exhibition Galleries, Collection and Research Studio, and visitor facilities. The last phase will include the rebuilding of Charleston’s 17th Century Granary as a Creative Learning Studio and the refurbishment of the shop and offices.

Contract: Permanent, Monday-Friday, 35 hours per week plus additional weekends and evenings as necessary

Salary: starting from £65,000 pa

The Charleston Trust is seeking an enthusiastic, experienced, inspiring, forward and strategically thinking individual to become its new Director at this exciting time of change and development at Charleston.

The post holder will work within an experienced and successful team and will be able to draw upon the support and synergy of a Senior Management Team and Board of Trustees.

Main responsibilities for this role include;

  • successfully delivering the final phases of the Charleston Centenary Project (Charleston’s capital project) working alongside the Board of Trustees and the Capital Appeal Manager to secure any remaining funding.
  • ensuring that the Trust operates legally and consistently within the requirements of the Charity Commission, Companies House, and all current health and safety legislation.
  • providing excellent and supportive vision and leadership for the organisation and contributing to the vision and delivery Charleston’s objectives, mission, vision and 2018-2022 Forward Plan.
  • developing and maintaining good working relationships with the Trust’s funders, membership groups, volunteers, supporters, strategic partners and relevant regulatory bodies
  • being accountable for overall financial management, working with the Head of Finance, Chair of the Business and Finance Committee and Chair of Trustees to set and monitor throughout the year, the Trust’s annual budget and key performance indicators.
  • ensuring that Charleston presents exhibitions and public programmes of the highest artistic quality to offer both historic and contemporary contextualisation of the Bloomsbury Group’s values.


The successful applicant should have at least three years’ experience leading a UK or international arts organisation, charity or cultural institution and should have recognised skills in moving an organisation forward strategically in areas of brand, marketing, aesthetics and audience development.

We are looking for someone with significant experience of core cost and capital arts fundraising and who understands the challenges and opportunities faced by today’s funding climate. The successful candidate should have an understanding and appreciation of the contribution of the Bloomsbury Group to the development of 20th century art and culture and be willing to reflect the future ambitions of Charleston in supporting the team in delivering ambitious new activity onsite and through local, national and international partnerships.

For more information and details on how to apply go to our website

Deadline for applications is by 12 noon on Friday 9th June 2017

Image credit: Penelope Fewster