Pettman DARE Fellowship in Music Education and Community Engagement Project Management

A Pettman DARE Fellowship provides a fully funded year of applied research in Music Education and Community Engagement in the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

It is delivered in a partnership between New Zealand Opera, and Opera North and the University of Leeds in the UK.

Fellowship for a New Zealand citizen

The Fellowship is an incredible opportunity for New Zealanders to gain international experience in the arts and cultural sector. Throughout the 12 months fellows are encouraged to question, challenge and learn how arts organisations impact the people and places that surround them. I have thoroughly enjoyed gaining hands-on experience for 9 months with Opera North, helping project manage a wide variety of community-based projects in the North of England. Through this process, combined with my study at the University of Leeds, I have been learning about how artists can collaborate and engage with diverse communities to cross physical, social and political borders. I look forward to travelling home in June to spend three months with New Zealand Opera, and applying this learning to the New Zealand cultural landscape.’  Blaire White, Pettman DARE Fellow from New Zealand 2018/19.

Some context

As leading national cultural organisations, Opera North in the UK and New Zealand Opera create and tour opera and music of the highest quality. We seek to encourage people of all ages and from all walks of life to explore our work, and are committed to breaking down barriers to enhance the health, wellbeing, and cohesion of communities.

This Fellowship is for emerging arts professionals from New Zealand, who want to gain experience in and knowledge about community engagement in music organisations.

One Fellowship awarded to a New Zealand citizen each year

What is it?

Through this combination of practical experience and academic study, the programme is assessed and accredited as a Post-Graduate Diploma in Performing Arts Management.

What benefits do Fellows get from the programme?

How does the experience in the UK connect with New Zealand Opera?

The partnership between New Zealand Opera, Opera North and the University of Leeds has been growing since 2010. We each create and tour award-winning opera and music, and we share a commitment to diversity – internally with our workforce and artists, and externally with our audiences and the communities around us.

In advance of starting in the UK, Fellows spend time with the team at New Zealand Opera, discussing the Company’s ambitions and challenges and identifying a key question to be researched in the UK.  For example, How can opera companies use their resources to aid young people affected by social exclusion and/or economic hardship?; How can collaboration with other organisations and community groups benefit opera companies?; What can opera companies do to assist who are settling into a new community?

This question informs the research and practical learning for the 60-credit, practice-based project in the UK (see below).  Communication with NZO continues throughout, and the learning from the project will inform the development of activity at NZO during the final three months of the Fellowship.

 What do Fellows do and learn at Opera North?

For at least two days a week, Fellows are at Opera North in Leeds, within the Education and Community Partnerships departments.  This includes: –

What does the Fellow do at the University of Leeds?

‘My studies at the University of Leeds has been a personal highlight of my Pettman Dare Fellowship. Arts Management is a relatively new field of research, and the lecturers at University of Leeds are leading development in this field. Attending these lectures have encouraged me to think critically about how arts organisations are funded and managed, how they engage with their audiences, and how they stay relevant in today’s climate. All theory is related to practice, with case studies taken from arts and cultural industries from around the world.’  Blaire White- Pettman Dare Fellow 2018/19


You spend at least two days a week studying at the university or researching off-campus. As a post-graduate student, you have access to the vast range of learning opportunities offered by the University as well as specific support for your programme of study from your academic mentors – great for research into topics relevant to music education and community engagement.

In addition to the Diploma’s assessed modules, you can audit (sit in on, without assessment) other lectures across the campus.

When in the UK, do Fellows connect with organisations and activity outside Opera North and University of Leeds?

Fellows are actively encouraged to find out about and visit relevant organisations and activities across the UK.  Former Fellows have, for example, visited Education and Engagement practitioners at Welsh National Opera; Scottish Opera; Glyndebourne; and Liverpool Philharmonic. Fellows are also encouraged to attend relevant conferences and symposia, subject to budget

Is there any formal training?

Yes.  Fellows’ training needs are identified, and appropriate courses are sourced, such as Fundraising, and Marketing, subject to budget.

How is the Fellowship monitored?

You need to be self-driven.  We provide you with a broad range of opportunities and aim to respond positively to any suggestions you have.  It is up to you to make the most of them.

‘Whilst on the Pettman Dare Fellowship I have regularly met with key staff from Opera North and the University of Leeds who have mentored me throughout the fellowship. This personal development has helped me to discover what I am passionate about and shape my future career aspirations. The learning journal has been a great way for me to track my experiences, and plan so that I can make the most of my time in the UK.’ Blaire White, Pettman Dare Fellow 2018/19

How is the Fellowship Funded?

Thanks to the generosity of philanthropist Mrs Maureen Pettman and her late husband Barrie, the Fellowship is fully funded, including: –

Application process

To apply, you are required to have: –

Applications for the 2019/20 Fellowship are now closed.  The 2020/21 Fellowship will open for applications in May 2020.

If the appointed Fellow does not hold an EEA passport, a Tier 4 Student Visa is required before registering at the University of Leeds.  The cost of the visa will be paid by Opera North.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Opera North and the University of Leeds encourage and welcome applications from candidates regardless of ethnic origin, disability, sexual orientation, age, religious belief or any other irrelevant factor. To support this commitment and to help us develop our policies and procedures, we ask all job applicants to complete Equality, Diversity and Inclusion survey. Any information you provide will be treated as strictly confidential, be held separately from the application form and will only be used for anonymous monitoring purposes.  It will not be used at any stage of the selection process.  Please note all questions are optional and we respect your right not to provide all or some of the information requested, but the more information that is supplied, the more effective our monitoring will be.


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