Race Forward
  • Oakland, CA, USA
  • Full Time

Title: Director of Narrative and Cultural Strategies

Reports to: Vice President of Narrative Arts and Culture

FLSA Status: Exempt

Salary Range: $98,301 - $107,517

Location: Remote

Tentative Start Date: As Soon As Possible

About Race Forward

Race Forward's mission is to catalyze movement building for racial justice. In partnership with communities, organizations, and sectors, we build strategies to advance racial justice in our policies, institutions, and culture. Race Forward imagines a just, multiracial democratic society free from oppression and exploitation, in which people of color thrive with power and purpose.

Since 1981, Race Forward has brought a systemic analysis and an innovative approach to complex race issues to help people take effective action toward racial equity. In 2017 Race Forward united with the Center for Social Inclusion to become the new Race Forward.

Position Summary

The Director of Narrative and Cultural Strategies resides in Race Forward's Narrative, Arts, and Culture (NAC) Department. The Director reports to the Vice President (VP) of NAC.

The Director will work in close partnership to the VP of NAC to envision, design, and implement narrative and cultural strategies that support Race Forward's overall mission, vision, theory of change, and programs.

The NAC Department harnesses the power of narrative in all its forms to build a culture that embodies racial justice - a central component of a just, multiracial, pluralistic democracy. In other words, the NAC Department works to make racial justice common sense and an imperative for our collective freedom. The NAC Department works in partnership with organizers, artists, journalists, communicators, and advocates to define our narratives and to scale those narratives by training and resourcing an ecosystem of storytellers. The Director will have the opportunity to shape the work of this Department through projects, programs, and partnerships.

The ideal candidate is a person with a depth of experience implementing narrative and cultural strategy, strong program management skills, a knack for engaging people with differing views, and experience navigating both small and large institutions.

Duties and Responsibilities

Principle duties and responsibilities include:

  • Working with the VP of NAC to develop a narrative and cultural "blueprint" that guides the Department's work
  • Working with the VP of NAC to design/adapt a "Narrative and Cultural Strategy" learning curriculum to pilot and scale across a diverse set of stakeholders
  • Working with the VP of NAC to seed, grow, and cultivate a "narrative ecosystem" via partnerships and collaborations that scales narratives for racial justice
  • Managing 2-3 grant-funded projects
  • Managing a portfolio of fee-for-service work (including training, coaching, technical assistance, capacity-building, speaking engagements, and more) for leaders and organizations, particularly in the U.S. arts & culture sector
  • Partnering with Race Forward departments on integrating narrative and cultural strategy to their work
  • Working with our Strategic Communications & Public Engagement Team and Colorlines Team to produce original content that lifts up narratives for racial justice
  • Creating, cultivating and ensuring high-quality relationships and collaborations that advance the mission of Race Forward

The Director will represent the NAC Department and Race Forward as a whole. This includes:

  • Building and maintaining deep relationships and potential partnerships with leaders and organizations, particularly in the narrative and arts & culture space
  • Assessing the needs for support within organizations, particularly in the U.S. arts & culture sector, that NAC could meet
  • Serving as a NAC spokesperson in order to amplify our department's thought leadership and create visibility for the Department's work

The Director will also be expected to assist the VP of NAC in department stewardship. This includes:

  • Assisting the VP of NAC and the Development and Partnerships department in identification of funding sources, proposal writing, and grant reporting
  • Supporting the department planning process for annual and strategic plans
  • Participating, on a limited basis, in Race Forward internal committees
  • Potentially supervising a Cultural Organizer and managing a team of affiliates

Supervisory Responsibilities

  • This role provides supervision for a manager-level position.
  • This role provides support, supervision, coordination, and collaboration for a highly skilled affiliate training team of 10-12 people.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

To perform successfully in this role, incumbent should possess skills identified below:

  • Advanced understanding of narrative and cultural strategy and how it intersects with racial justice
  • Familiar to strong understanding of the elements of Race Forward's theory of change
  • Informed and expansive understanding of the narrative and cultural ecosystem in the US - including players, individuals, networks and institutions working across fields of strategic communications, pop culture, media and entertainment, arts and culture, and narrative change (strong understanding of Race Class Narrative and projects like Story at Scale is a plus)
  • Clear understanding of the work, struggles, and equity challenges of artists, cultural workers and producers, arts administrators, and arts institutions
  • Intuitive ability to build, broker and maintain relationships with key players in the narrative and cultural ecosystem (including funders, media makers, journalists, artists, and cultural producers)
  • Intuitive ability to work with a wide range of stakeholders (including people in grassroots organizations, "grasstops" organizations, advocacy organizations, philanthropic organizations, and local/state/federal government) at different points in their journey of understanding racial justice and narrative and cultural strategy
  • Ability to cogently analyze the narrative, cultural, and political pulse, and assess movement-wide gaps that inform the NAC Department's work
  • Excellent public speaking, facilitation, and training skills, with a reliable ability to explain race-explicit content, synthesize and translate complex concepts on race and racism as well as on narrative and culture change
  • Strong program and process design skills to envision, design, create, pitch, and fundraise for innovative narrative and cultural projects
  • Superior project management skills including attention to detail, organizational skills, and the ability to manage complex projects
  • Basic proficiency in network mapping tools and analysis of maps or willingness to learn network-mapping tools and CRMs
  • Excellent writing and communication skills
  • Excellent facilitation, training, and teaching skills
  • Excellent management and collaboration skills
  • Ability to navigate both small and large institutions
  • Nuanced understanding of the role of national nonprofit intermediaries
  • Desire to explore the complexities and dilemmas inherent in operationalizing racial justice
  • Open to experimentation, learning, and adjustments along the way; ability to hold complexity to deliver results
  • Ability to work independently and think creatively about how to leverage the resources at your disposal
  • Adaptability, self-awareness, and a sense of humor

Qualifications and Experience

5 years of relevant experience and exposure in narrative and cultural strategy work, with familiarity about the diversity and scale of the arts & culture sector in the US

  • Demonstrated portfolio of work and projects at the intersection of narrative and culture change for social justice issues, ideally with a focus on race-explicit work
  • 5 years or more of experience with program design and strategy in narrative and/or cultural work
  • 5 years or more of experience training, facilitating, and teaching on topics of racial justice and institutional change
  • 1-2 years of relevant experience with community organizing (whether full-time or on a volunteer basis), canvassing, and/or doing institutional change work

Additional Information

This position requires long periods of time at a desk on a computer, performing sedentary work that primarily involves sitting/standing, and repeating motions that may include the wrists, hands, and/or fingers. Frequent travel for this position is required (35-50%)

How to Apply

External Applicants: To apply for this position, please click the link below. To ensure full consideration, please be sure to include both a cover letter and resume with your application.


EEO Statement

Race Forward provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws.

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