ICO Board Members

Independent Cinema Office (ICO)


Salary: Expenses paid for time and attendance at board meetings

The Independent Cinema Office (ICO) is now recruiting for new board members.

We are especially interested in hearing from people under 30 as well as people who reflect more widely the communities we serve in audiences across the UK, whether that be through heritage, lived experience or access to opportunities. Currently, our staff of 22 and board of ten are not truly representative of everyone we work with (see our most recent data on ICO staff and board demographics). We are endeavouring to change the way we operate and share the privilege and space we have with other people – and believe we can do this a lot better with your help.

About the ICO

Founded in 2003, the Independent Cinema Office (ICO) is the leading cultural agency in the UK for film exhibition and has pioneered successful models for a sustainable, culturally challenging and inclusive exhibition sector that are shared both nationally and internationally.

At the ICO, we believe that like all great art forms, cinema can transform people’s lives. We try to ensure that everyone in the UK has access to the widest possible range of cinema and the ability to share it with other people. We do this by bringing different kinds of work to audiences via our network of partners – mostly independent cinemas but also film festivals, village halls, community venues and pop-ups.

We run industry leading training schemes from entry level through to CEO level. We work with distributors, filmmakers, producers and national and international agencies. We programme cinemas, release films, create touring programmes, deliver consultancy services, fund filmmakers and support Young Programmers’ groups amongst other activities. For more information about our work, see our ‘About Us’ section and our annual reports.

About the role

We are looking for people who love cinema as much as we do and who have the energy, commitment and lived experience to help us continue and develop our work. We are especially keen to recruit young Trustees: we know that the future of the industry is in your hands and want to be mindful of the current and future challenges for your generation.

We believe that with your help we can develop a more equitable industry and enable people to connect on screen with stories that resonate with them. We want to create a more open and challenging sector and help build more sustainable businesses to support it.

Trustees provide direction, challenge and support to our leadership team. We don’t want you to deliver work or get involved with day-to-day operations (although we would love you to attend our events and programmes) – what we need are fresh perspectives alongside oversight and supportive encouragement as well. 

Key info

  • Four board meetings per year, with some additional time to review meeting papers
  • Meetings usually last no longer than two hours and we try to accommodate everyone’s needs around timings
  • Last year all meetings took place on Zoom, but in future we hope to meet in person at least once a year
  • Trustees are currently unpaid (though we cover expenses) but we are taking legal advice to see if we can pay those who work freelance an attendance allowance in future.

The ICO’s offices are near London Bridge but we are a national organisation and most of our work takes place across the UK. We also have a special responsibility for the South East of England through our role as the lead organisation for Film Hub South East, part of the BFI’s Film Audience Network.

ICO Trustees usually serve three years in the first instance, but we recognise that young Trustees may have different commitments throughout a three-year period, so we propose to appoint for a year initially and then review in hopes that you can stay. However, if a year is all you can commit to, we still want to hear from you.

What’s in it for you?

Joining the ICO board is a fantastic opportunity to help steer and shape a national cultural agency and in doing so, influence the activities and practices of the wider UK film exhibition sector. The ICO is a relatively small but extremely creative and dynamic organisation that responds quickly to new ideas, enabling you to make a meaningful difference and help effect real change in what can be a hugely rewarding role.

You will have the opportunity to bring existing skills to the table as well as to develop new ones – in governance, planning, team working, financial operation, arts administration and more – and gain valuable insight into and experience of the UK film industry. You will also be able to access ICO events and programmes.

We know that Trustee job descriptions can sound quite dry – and to be clear, it is a legally responsible position that will require commitment on your part. But the professional skills and lived experience you bring to the table might simply be around working with other people and having initiative and a passion for cinema; you don’t need to be at a senior level in the film industry to contribute. As an organisation, we want to include everyone in our definition of audiences – we don’t want to leave anyone out – and our Board of Trustees must do the same.

Support on joining

If you are invited to join the board and accept, we’ll give you a thorough induction process. You will be paired with an existing board member as a support “buddy” for the duration of your term, as well as a member of ICO staff who will be your chief contact and another point of support for you during your time with us. You will meet the staff, have the opportunity to undergo financial training with our Head of Finance, and have the support of your buddy when reviewing board papers. You can come and observe a board meeting before taking up your place if you wish.

Find out more

We will be holding three open Zoom Q&A sessions online where you can meet some of the current Trustees and staff and hear a bit more about what the role entails. You do not have to attend these sessions to apply, but we hope that they will be useful to you. Feel free to ask us anything and come and find out a bit more about us and what we do!

Q&A session dates:

If you would like to attend one of these sessions, click the links above to register and receive a Zoom joining link.

How to apply

Interested? Read through our ICO Board Recruitment 2023 info pack before submitting a cover letter and/or a short video explaining why you would like to join our Board of Trustees and the qualities and skills you feel you can bring to the ICO.

If you would like to submit a video, please send a downloadable file (MP4, MOV or AVI) or a viewing link. Videos should be no longer than three minutes.

Email your cover letter and/or video link to: info@independentcinemaoffice.org.uk

If you would like a copy of our info pack in a different format, please let us know at info@independentcinemaoffice.org.uk and we can supply.

Interviews will take place on Zoom.

The closing date for this position is 22/09/2023 at 17:00

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