How to set up, survive and thrive as a freelancer in the cultural sector

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National Council For Voluntary Organisations

8 All Saints Street


N1 9RL

United Kingdom

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Refunds up to 30 days before event

Event description


A one-day training course for those aspiring to be effective and successful freelancers and consultants.

Join this practical and inspiring training workshop designed to kick-start and sustain a flourishing freelance or consultancy business. The day is jam-packed with proven approaches, ideas and tools to get started, market yourself, find work, win work, manage your finances, handle client relationships and look after your health and wellbeing.

Who it’s for

Anyone thinking about, or in the early stages of, freelancing with arts and heritage organisations across any art form or specialist area.

Why attend

  • Invest just one day to fast-track your business development and gain long-lasting benefits

  • Gain a comprehensive understanding of what it’s like to work as a freelancer in the cultural sector

  • Discover proven and best practice approaches, practical tips, tools and frameworks to help you strategically develop and grow your business

  • Dedicate time out to reflect on what you want to achieve and create a realistic action plan

  • Develop your confidence to take the plunge or become a more proactive freelancer

  • Build a network of new freelance contacts working with a range of arts and heritage organisations

  • Learn from two experienced and passionate trainers, themselves successful and award-winning freelance consultants in the cultural sector

  • Receive a pack of handouts and further information resources to take home.

About the day

Course content

  • What to consider before you take the plunge

  • Setting up as a freelancer and getting started

  • Basic legal, financial and tax matters to be aware of

  • Creating a distinctive proposition and setting yourself apart from others

  • Marketing yourself

  • Finding and pitching for work more effectively

  • Managing your finances

  • Deciding what to charge

  • Managing client relationships

  • Maintaining a work-life balance and your well-being.


  • Arrival and refreshments from 9.30am

  • Training starts at 10am

  • The day concludes at 4.30pm.


  • Delegates will receive lunch, drinks and snacks throughout the day. Dietary requirements will be catered for.

Venue and access

Optional meet-up the evening before

We will organise an informal get-together around 7pm on Sunday 14 October in the King's Cross area for anyone who is interested - a chance to get to know each other and us a bit, as developing networks is so crucial for freelancers.


Early bird until 14 September: £200, after which it's £250. We are able to offer a staged payment option - please contact comms@christinalister.co.uk should you want more information about this.


For participants who want or need to stay in the area overnight, we recommend the Premier Inn King's Cross on York Way or Premier Inn St Pancras on Euston Road.

About the trainers

Christina and Marge co-run the Museum Freelance Network and are experienced trainers and award-winning freelancers who work in the cultural sector. They have also worked client-side commissioning freelancers, consultants and agencies.

Christina Lister is an experienced marketing and audience development consultant, trainer and facilitator for the cultural sector. She has worked with a wide range of clients including the Science Museum Group, South East Museum Development Programme, Colchester Arts Partnership, Ensemble Dance Co, University of Cambridge Museum of Zoology, the Scout Association, The Museum of English Rural Life, Vivacity Peterborough, Norwich Historic Churches Trust and de Havilland Aircraft Museum.

Christina’s work has won a range of marketing awards and she was a Runner-Up in the Freelancer of the Year Awards 2015, organised by the IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed). She speaks at conferences including the Museums Association Conference, the Museums + Heritage Show and the Visitor Studies Group Conference. Christina is passionate about bringing freelancers together and helping them have a voice in the sector and she recently authored a guide for museums on Working With Freelancers on behalf of SHARE Museums East. She is a co-founder of the Museum Freelance Network and a member of the Women Cultural Leaders Network East.

“Christina devised a bespoke programme, with content tailored to suit the needs of the delegates […] Clearly structured information was pitched at exactly the right level for the delegates present, with real-life case studies from delegates’ museums used as the basis for a practical exercise.” Miranda Rowlands, Shared Enterprise Project Officer, Norfolk Museums Service

Marge Ainsley is a well-respected freelance cultural consultant delivering professional training and facilitation across the UK, with specialist expertise in marketing, audience development and evaluation. A Fellow of the Institute of Training and Occupational Learning, and International Association of Facilitators, she was previously voted one of the 50 best freelancers in the UK by national marketing magazine, The Drum. Over the last ten years as a freelancer, she has worked with a range of clients including London Transport Museum, Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester Art Gallery, the National Trust, Arts Council England, National Museums Liverpool, Leeds Libraries, More Music, St Helens Libraries, and Macclesfield Museums Trust. Marge regularly speaks at seminars and conferences, including most recently at the Audiences Connected conference in Vienna and at the Museums Association Conference in Manchester.

“Marge is a joy to work with. Not only is she a great evaluator and marketer but also a fantastic trainer. She has delivered very effective workshops for our clients across the North West with great impact. The delegates and the MDNW team have gained a lot from her knowledge and have been able to apply it to working practice.” Kaye Hardyman, Museum Development Officer, Museum Development Northwest

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Date and Time


National Council For Voluntary Organisations

8 All Saints Street


N1 9RL

United Kingdom

View Map

Refund Policy

Refunds up to 30 days before event

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