Jobs & Opportunities


Job Description: Head of Programming/Events Manager

Contract: Full-Time, Fixed Term Contract (Until 30 June 2022 with opportunity to apply for permanent role)

Probation: 2 months from start date

Application: To apply, please send a cover letter (approximately 1000 words max) and an up-to-date CV to

Deadline: 12pm on Tuesday 2 November

Interviews: Interviews will be held on Monday 8 & Tuesday 9 November

Second Round Interviews: Week commencing Monday 15 November

Salary: £28,000-£31,000 (Experience Dependent)

Hours: 35 hours per week, Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm / 10am-6pm (occasional evenings and weekends depending on programme demands)

The Role

This is a fixed-term, 6-month contract, however, there is scope to apply for a permanent position as Head of Programming during the 6-month period.

The Head of Programming role at Poplar Union will combine the skill sets of a curator, producer and event manager, whilst leading on a creative strategy that will be inherited from the outgoing Artistic Director and developing plans for the creative future of the organisation. In the interim, you will work collaboratively with the wider Poplar Union team and will report to senior managers within our lead partner organisation and the chair of our board. The chosen candidate will be entering the role during a time of substantial change as Poplar Union will be undergoing recruitment for both a new Artistic Director and Business Manager simultaneously. As such, we are looking for someone with a proven record of working professionally in a similar role and/or within a comparably scaled organisation. The role requires a very driven, self-motivated and proactive individual who can ‘hit the ground running’ in both delivering two pre-existing seasons of programming (Nov-Dec and Jan-Mar) whilst developing their own Spring/Summer programme for 2022.

We celebrate and advocate for greater diversity in the arts and cultural industries so are particularly keen to hear from candidates from under-represented, disabled, LGBTQIA+ and migrant communities.

Why work at Poplar Union?

Poplar Union is unique in its approach to arts and community programming and engagement. Having opened in January 2017, the past four and a half years have seen the organisation develop into an established, respected and much-needed creative and cultural resource and a community hub in one of London’s most diverse, vibrant and challenging boroughs. We take a person-centered approach in all that we do, placing artists at the heart of our creative strategies to nurture new and existing talent and to contribute fruitfully to a healthy creative eco-system in the East-End.

Furthermore, our community-oriented programming is designed for and with the myriad groups and individuals who make up the diverse landscape of Tower Hamlets and East London more broadly. We run multi-disciplinary programmes that are genuinely inclusive, engaging and up-lifting for our audiences, participants, artists and staff.

We are a small but mighty team of passionate individuals who believe in shared vision of communities united through arts, creativity and wellbeing.

Your profile

The candidate will manage the creative and community programme (spanning theatre, dance, film, arts & crafts, health & wellbeing, music and community events) and will use their extensive strategic, planning and practical skills to develop, lead, collaboratively create and deploy a programme that is informed by the priorities and vision of Poplar Union and reflective of the wants and needs of our local community. The candidate must be collaborative in
their approach, a genuine team player though confident in their ability to work independently and to tight deadlines with limited budgets. Knowledge of audience development and community engagement is vital as is a willingness to learn from and adapt to the new environment.

We welcome applicants from a variety of backgrounds such as, but not limited to, curatorial, senior event management, creative strategy, learning, engagement and education roles, as well development and programming
departments in arts centres, theatre, venues, galleries and museums, educational institutions, charities and research.

Key Responsibilities

– Responsible for curating, delivering, administrating and running a diverse and inclusive programme including theatre, film, music, health and wellbeing, family, community/applied practice and dance demonstrating a deep understanding of inter/multi-disciplinary arts.

– Producing large-scale events and festivals including Poplar Union’s in-house International Women’s Day festival: Women in Focus, community picnic: Poplar Picnic, Black History Month, Bengali New Year, Pride.

– Responsible for drawing up front of house staff rotas in collaboration with Operations Manager, liaise with all front of house staff to offer pre-event briefings.

– Responsible for event management- attending and running public events, liaising with technicians, companies, artists, front of house staff, volunteers and audiences.

– Manage and grow artist development strands through the provision of in-kind space, consultation and mentoring, particularly working with young artists and companies, disabled artists and marginalized groups such as the Bengali and LGBTQ+ communities.

– Inherit and continue to confidently build a contact list of artists, facilitators, producers and fellow organisations and maintain excellent relationships.

– Act as a manager to fellow programmers within the organisation, offering support, guidance and codeveloping creative and financial strategies for the organisation.

– The role requires excellent lines of internal and external communication with marketing staff, administration, tech and facilities staff, funders and Poplar Union’s board of trustees.

– Competently and creatively develop programs that are relevant to the communities we serve, the audiences to which we appeal and are coherent with the vision and mission of the organisation.

– Demonstrate high levels of empathy and political sensitivity when considering representation, equality/equity, inclusivity and diversity within the programme presented and relationships formed, ensuring audience’s and individual visitors feel/felt seen, represented and respected across each artform we present.

– Substantial and proven experience in reporting and evaluating the success of programs (both in terms of quantitative and qualitative evaluation, recognizing the need to report not only on the ‘hard demographic data’, but also the experiences of audiences/participants) and using this to approach programming in a way that is strategic, informed and sensitive to our communities’ myriad needs.

– Extensive experience in drafting funding applications from large and small-scale funders, including private and public organisations and in contributing to reports for funders; the charity’s Board of Trustees and major partners.

– (Desirable but not essential): experience in using programming software such as Artifax, Midas, CRM software including Spektrix, full Office Suite and some experience in film, audio and photo editing software.

See full Job Description here

To apply, please send a cover letter (approximately 1000 words max) and an up-to-date CV to before Tuesday 2 November, 2021.