ACCELERATE - Developing Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander leaders

“It really does accelerate your career and your understanding of where you want to take your career as a leader, whatever part of the creative industry you’re in.” -- Solomon Booth, 2013 Recipient

ACCELERATE is a tailored leadership programme designed to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with the skills and networks to generate, take up and excel in leadership positions within the creative industries.

In its sixth successful year, ACCELERATE provides leadership development training, industry mentorship and a fully funded trip to the UK. The programme offers participants a chance to fast-track their careers and develop as leaders in their field. 

Participants join the national ACCELERATE alumni network, with access to continued support, training, and international opportunities. 

This year, alumni will curate an international gathering of First Nations leaders in arts and culture, scheduled for April 2016. They also will come together at a national leadership development intensive in September. For the first time this year, alumni can apply for an International Collaboration Fund for new creative projects with connections in the UK.

ACCELERATE is open to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from across Australia with at least five years' experience in the creative industries. We are looking for people with a bold vision for where they want to take their career and their community.

Applications for ACCELERATE 2015 are now closed. Watch this space for further updates.


The 2015 ACCELERATE programme comprises two stages: the Australian Leadership Intensive and the UK Programme.

Australian Leadership Intensive: Wednesday 2 – Friday 4 September, 2015

Immediately after the announcement event on September 1, the four participants attend a Leadership Intensive in Sydney to develop their understanding of leadership and to expand ideas for their individual UK programmes. 

Over three days, participants will undertake facilitated workshops that will explore what leadership means in UK and Australian contexts, and discuss what it means to be a leader within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Participants will also gain practical leadership skills that will help them to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of their own personal leadership styles, outline sustainable and ambitious career pathways and identify the personal and professional obstacles to achieving them.

Sessions will be led by with Mark Wright from People Create, British Council staff and ACCELERATE Alumni who will share their experience, advice and support. 

UK Programme: November 12 – December 7, 2015

The UK Programme provides an opportunity for recipients to make international connections, to observe different leadership styles and structures and to gain broader insight into their own field and professional practice.

In 2015, the ACCELERATE UK Programme will include:

  • Two days further leadership development with Mark Wright (People Create) 
  • A professional placement with company/organisation
  • Group and individual meetings, including one-on-one mentorship

Individual programmes will be developed to realise the vision outlined in the participants’ application.  They are expected to research organisations and individuals of interest and articulate what they want to achieve from meeting with them.

“ACCELERATE is definitely a life changing experience for someone wanting to take the opportunity it offers. I’d highly recommend it.  You have to put in the effort – it’s a working program, so you have to want it, and be looking for change.” -- 2013 Recipient


The application & selection process

Applicants must complete a written application, which will outline their experience, leadership goals and vision for a UK programme. 

From these applications, a  panel consisting of British Council staff, a representative from the Australia Council, and a representative from the relevant state funding body will draw up a shortlist for interview. 

The criteria for selection are:

  • LEADERSHIP - understanding of leadership, reflection and analysis of your own leadership experience. (Q1 & Q2)
  • VISION - clarity of vision for your development in short to mid-term, and your capacity to achieve it. (Q3)
  • COMMUNITY - articulation of your leadership role within your community / sector and your vision for the development of this role. (Q4)
  • DEVELOPMENT - practical understanding of how you need to grow your leadership skills, and the importance of a UK experience in relation to this growth. (Q5a & Q5b)
  • TIMELINESS - articulation of how this opportunity will further your vision, and the importance of the opportunity at this point in your career? (Q6)

In 2015, four participants will be chosen, one each from New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and nationally. 

Who can apply?

ACCELERATE is a programme designed and managed specifically for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander applicants. Australian Indigeneity is a genuine prerequisite for this award and is authorised by Section 14 of the Anti-Discrimination Act, 1977. 

The British Council Australia definition of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander is a person of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent who identifies as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and is accepted as such by the community in which they live. Successful applicants may be required to provide a letter of confirmation of Indigeneity during the shortlisting or final stages of the applications assessment process.

ACCELERATE is open to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from across Australia with at least five years' experience in the creative industries, . There is no formal age limit for applicants.


Applicants must be available to travel/attend events on the below dates:

  • Public announcement: Tuesday 1 September
  • Leadership Intensive: Wednesday 2 – Friday 4 September
  • Farewell event: Thursday 12 November
  • UK programme, Friday 13 November – Saturday 5 December (arriving in Australia on the 7th)

How to apply?

Applicants need to download and complete the application form, and email it to  by midnight (AEST), 6 July, 2015.

In addition to the completed application form, applicants must attach the following:

  • 500 word biography
  • headshot for publicity purposes (no larger than 1MB)
  • signed terms and conditions form

Interested applicants are encouraged to contact one of the ACCELERATE Alumni to discuss the programme and their application. Information about the Alumni and their contact details can be found here.  

Applications for ACCELERATE 2015 are now open, and close Midnight (AEST) Monday 6 July, 2015.

For further details please download the documents below. Contact Alison Murphy-Oates, ACCELERATE Programme Manager ( with any questions.