Working Life: Katharine Lane loves projects, travel - and spreadsheets

The director for community development at the not-for-profit arts organisation Superact says she enjoys the range of weird and wonderful projects

Katharine Lane
Katharine Lane

Superact is an entirely project-funded organisation, so I'm constantly looking for pots of money for new community arts projects. The positive side to this is that my job is really diverse and I work on a range of weird and wonderful projects – anything that brings people together through the arts, from putting communities back on their local bandstands to big outdoor music events. But it can be stressful because there are always many projects to juggle, and this can cause sleepless nights.

We've received a lot of European project funding, but this is often paid in arrears – one large project was 13 months behind. More funders are going down the route of payment by results – for a small organisation without the capital behind us, this is challenging. We've used the project-funded model since 2008, but are looking at ways to generate a core income that will enable us to develop and sustain the impact of our work. For example, charging for project management services and offering our BTEC qualification to more institutions would bring in unrestricted funds, and attracting private investment and sponsorship from corporate social responsibility budgets would enable us to work with more people.

When I'm not writing bids, I'm busy project-managing our community development projects, ensuring they're on track and reporting to funders. I love spreadsheets, but I like to get out of the office a couple of days a week to visit our regional projects, such as the courses we run with young people on probation in Somerset and Devon.

I also enjoy our international work and was in Germany recently for the start of a new project on engaging hard-to-reach adult learners. I'm off to France soon for a project that combines community development, food growing and the arts. I find the projects exciting and love it when communities embrace our work and tell us the difference we've made.

Katharine Lane is the director for community development at Superact, a not-for-profit arts organisation that helps people to gain access to arts projects around the country

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