Meet Clare Reddington, Creative Director and CEO of Watershed, Bristol

photograph of clare reddington

Clare joined Watershed in 2004, establishing its creative technology programmes including Pervasive Media Studio and Playable City. Ten years later she became the Creative Director, and just this year took on the role of CEO. Clare works with industry, academic and creative partners from around the world to champion inclusion, support talent and develop new ideas.

10 minutes with Clare…

How would you describe what you do in 5 words?

Enthusiastic champion of difference and change.

What was your first job?

I worked in the cafe of Bristol bus station. It was an excellent learning experience – all life was there.

What was your worst job?

Typing in the addresses of people ordering Alton Towers Chocolate hotel brochures.

What achievement are you most proud of?

The Pervasive Media Studio is 10 years old – which seems incredible to me. The tiny, strange little community that we originally promoted to artists on the strength of its showers is an amazing global community making important and unusual work.

What’s your greatest fear for the creative and cultural sector?

That match funding becomes the only funding criteria that counts.

What are three unexpected qualities any leader needs?

I’m not sure about unexpected – but being kind, being generous, being consistent.

What’s your superpower?

Whilst I have a reasonable collection of excellent capes, I’m not sure I think a notion of leadership superpowers is that useful. The sector’s understanding of leadership is one pretty much styled on the patriarchy, whose powers are thankfully being challenged rn.

What motivates you every day?

The building opens and people come in to make, watch and share stories. The energy and hope they bring with them is extremely motivating.

What was the best piece of early career advice you received from a mentor?

Even when you are 30 (!) you probably won’t know what you want to do.

What advice of your own would you give to an aspiring or emerging leader?

Find your tribe – the people who approach things in a similar way to you, or are inspired by the same things – and cultivate those connections for collaboration, support and shared wisdom.

We’re extremely excited to have Clare joining us in The Big Debate – Leadership & Innovation, discussing how cultural and creative leaders can harness progressive potential.

You can follow Clare on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.