Chair of Trading at Bluecoat

Chair of Trading at Bluecoat

Bluecoat is seeking a new Chair of Trading

 Bluecoat is Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts, offering a year-round programme of exhibitions and a range of music, dance, literature, live art and heritage events.  As conservators of a rich history and ornate building, which marked its 300 year anniversary in 2017, we are also home to around thirty artists, collectives, small arts organisations and craftspeople.

Bluecoat is now seeking an exceptional individual to chair its trading subsidiary, Trading at Bluecoat, which leads the commercial elements of Bluecoat’s activities.

We used our building’s 300th anniversary to reflect on our past, but also to plan for the future. We want to realise the potential of our unique Grade 1 listed city centre building to generate income which, in turn, will allow us to achieve our charitable purpose.

The Chair of Trading at Bluecoat will lead a team of committed board members and staff who will develop and implement a new commercial strategy which will drive growth across all aspects of Bluecoat’s work.

At present the trading company provides an essential element of the experience and facilities at Bluecoat,  providing café, restaurant, bar and events facilities to the general public, gallery attendees, activity attendees, occupiers and related building users. As such it is a centrally important element of servicing and animating the building, gardens and courtyard. The operation also contributes to building overheads.

At Bluecoat we feel there is potential to extending the trading operation, which also includes retail and workspace rental, into new areas of activity. The income generated will support our ambition, as the UK’s first arts centre, to develop an artists’ hub for the North, underpinned by local talent development and linked to national and international opportunities. The new Chair of Trading will lead on the development of a business model for Bluecoat which will combine an effective catering subsidiary with other trading activities to realise our vision of vibrant centre for artists in the heart of the city. 

Bluecoat’s purpose is to:

  • Support diverse artists to develop their practice at all stages of their lives and careers, to engage dynamically with audiences and to communicate the power and value of art to as broad a spectrum of people as possible.
  • Preserve, reveal and interpret the multi-faceted story of our historic building –  making it accessible to a range of audiences through activities, exhibitions, events and digital content in appropriate formats.
  • Help more people find a meaningful place for the arts in their lives, creating safe and inclusive spaces for everyone to engage as audience and participant.
  • Develop increasingly sustainable facilities that will generate income and support from a range of sources in order to support local and international artists and arts participants.

We are seeking a Chair for our Trading Company board to:

  • Lead the development of a commercial strategy for Bluecoat.
  • Bring ideas, imagination and flair to the commercial activities of the Bluecoat, along with experience of successfully running a business or having made a significant contribution to the commercial success of a business or organisation.
  • Support the organisation’s ambition to increase the financial contribution from trading activities and occupiers.
  • Help support a change of culture within the organisation to create a more entrepreneurial and enterprise-orientated approach across all activities whilst bringing the rigour and realism needed to track return on investment for new ideas or services.
  • Extend the networks which can be activated to support the organisation’s fundraising.
  • Bring private sector experience to the Bluecoat, strengthen our capacity in key business areas and fulfil the other functions of board membership.

Skills and experience

With this purpose in mind, the appointment should be someone who:


  • Has a proven track record in managing a successful commercial business or having made a significant contribution to the commercial success of a business or organisation, and the gravitas to lead the Trading Company board.
  • Has knowledge and experience of the distinctive local business environment.
  • Has the ability to assist Bluecoat in its ambition to create a portfolio of profitable business activities consistent with its artistic vision.
  • Understands and supports Bluecoat’s plans to build an entrepreneurial culture, which will enable it to turn visitors into customers.
  • An interest in and some knowledge of the arts. 


  • Can augment the organisation’s capacity in strategic planning.
  • Has at least three years’ experience as a Board member in the NFP sector.
  • Has experience of finance and audit oversight.

Meetings of Bluecoat’s Board

The Chair of Trading at Bluecoat will also be a member of Bluecoat’s Board.

The Bluecoat Board meets five times a year, four quarterly meetings and one away-day to reflect on existing work and develop plans for the future.  Board meetings are normally on a Monday from 3pm – 5pm, but this is under review as we seek to diversify our membership.

Board Members serve for a term of three years. Membership may be renewed once, for a further three year term, based on a three-yearly skills and composition audit.


If you are interested in applying for the role of Chair of Trading at Bluecoat, we would be delighted to hear from you. Please send a CV or summary of your experience and a statement setting out what you would bring to the role to:

Closing date: Tuesday 22 May at 5pm

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to interview.

Company limited by Guarantee No. 02246627  

Charity No: 700862