Roanne Dods: an appreciation, by Janet Archer

Published: 16 Feb 2017

Roanne Dods

It is with deep sorrow that we mark the passing of Roanne Dods - mother, partner, cultural leader, creative mentor, inspirational coach and friend.

Roanne Dods has been profoundly influential for so many who work in the arts, culture and creative fields in Scotland and beyond. Her background as a dancer combined with a fierce intelligence gifted her with the ability to think multi-laterally and beyond convention. Her passion and her joie de vivre was her trademark, her human approach and her energy and persistence in championing change was fiercely respected by many in Scotland and beyond.

Roanne played many multifaceted and varied roles over the course of her long career. She was particularly interested in talent development, the qualities and practices of supporting people to do their best work and of the contribution of artists and their work to new ideas and shifting culture. In 2004, she was presented with an Angel Award by ISPA for ‘innovative and spectacular work across the artistic spectrum’ by Sir John Tusa. The Cultural Leadership Programme appointed her one of the ‘Women to Watch’ in 2010.

Roanne embodied a style of leadership which was feminine, courageous, empowering, generous, open, collaborative, informed, intuitive and full of humility. She believed strongly in a philosophy of asking good questions, but listening hard, she always gave space for people to work up their own views, she didn’t believe we all have to be the same. She gifted everyone she encountered with a sense that they were special and could achieve anything, lifting things out of our reach into clear vision and possibility. As a lawyer she was also analytical and reasoned in her practice, balancing her perspective on things through a combination of logic and intuition.

For 11 years Roanne was the Founding Director of the Jerwood Charitable Foundation where she oversaw the expansion of their activities across all art forms supporting talented artists. She was the founding co-director of Mission Models Money working with Clare Cooper since 2005. She also supported the start of The Work Room (for independent choreographers at Tramway, Glasgow); and IC: Innovative Craft (with Amanda Game and Elizabeth Goring). She was a board member of Cove Park and a Fellow of the International Futures Forum and the RSA. She was also Chair of BAC, Vice-Chair of Scottish Ballet, and on the boards of Sistema Scotland, Fuel, Young Vic and the Jerwood Space. She was also Director of PAL Labs and RoseOrange and Deputy Director of the Dovecot Studios.

In 2014 she set up Small is Beautiful with Deborah Keogh for people who commit to small. The conference has play formed some of the world's leading thinkers on solopreneurship and provided the tools and inspiration for people to make the leap to start small enterprises, and continue their journey as small enterprises across Scotland and beyond.

Roanne has worked with Creative Scotland in many different ways, informally offering advice and formally sitting on the external reference group set up to oversee the shaping our 10 year plan, leading a workshop with specialism leads on exploring options for diversifying income streams and working with us to strengthen relationships with London based Trusts interested in collaborating more fulsomely with Scotland.

Travel safe Roanne, we will miss you hugely but we will never forget you. Our thoughts are with your family and friends. Thank you profoundly for your wisdom and generosity. Your beautiful smile and strong sense of hope will remain with us always.

Janet Archer
CEO, Creative Scotland

Photo provided via PRS for Music Foundation