Updated call for short contributions: understanding the voluntary sector’s role in shaping place, AND, the role of place in shaping the nature of voluntary sector leadership

We warmly invite suggestions for contributions to the first of two workshops supported by VSSN* aiming to shape an emerging agenda on understanding the voluntary sector’s role in shaping place, AND, the role of place in shaping the nature of voluntary sector leadership.We would like to receive contributions for SHORT presentations on the day from BOTH academics and non-academics alike. Please send these contributions to oubs-cvsl.org.uk by end of day on 14th January.

The first event will now take place on 8 March 2022 (online, Zoom) and will be a networking and participative event. The second (ideally face to face, accessible venue TBC) will involve a more structured format, focused on developing longer contributions which might constitute the chapters within an edited book project**. The longer-term vision is to develop a network and produce the book, which might contain a smaller selection of the workshop contributions.

Overall, the questions we want to address are:
• What difference does place make? Which characteristics of a place enable voluntary sector leadership to make a difference?
• What difference does voluntary sector leadership make to place?
• How does leadership influence and shape place through sharing leadership with other actors – formally and informally?

We are interested in discussing how you, through your work or personal engagements, think about how, when and why voluntary sector leadership is influential in some places and not in others. What is it about a place, or place in general, that enables voluntary sector leadership to make a difference? And finally, how does place change as a result?

Our starting point is perhaps best summed up in our recent paper published in Leadership (Rees et al 2021). We argue that voluntary sector leadership is networked and collaborative, and makes a real difference to the nature of activity and outcomes in a place. At the same time, something about the place influences the way the voluntary sector operates, and how it subsequently ‘leads’(or doesn’t) within a place. Our vision of leadership is inclusive and collective, not necessarily hierarchical (although it may be that too). Traditionally, voluntary sector infrastructure plays an important role in local areas, but hasn’t been widely explored in the academic literature (see Dayson et al., 2018). When we talk about ‘leadership’ we don’t mean solely leadership vested in a position or person, but instead advance an account that is relational, is created in a collective context, and is rooted in practice – this account, we believe, fits well with how voluntary sector place leadership actually occurs (see Terry et al., 2019).

To join the workshops:

We want to encourage as many contributions as possible to the first workshop, but in order to ensure it is coherent and useful to everyone, we ask you to submit a brief ‘elevator pitch’describing what you want to talk about. Please send an email to us with approx. 200 words describing your idea, and we will then develop this with you.

Our aim is to have a number of short and lively contributions at the workshop — 5 to 10 minutes each depending on numbers and we especially welcome different formats, including visual and story-telling, as well as allowing extra time for discussion and informal conversation.

Please send the email to oubs-cvsl@open.ac.uk

Best wishes,

Carol Jacklin-Jarvis and James Rees

(CVSL, Open University) (ICRD, University of Wolverhampton)

*This has been made possible thanks to generous support from a VSSN development opportunity grant,
**At this point, we have outline agreement with BUP/PP for an edited book on Place Leadership. We MAY invite contributors to the workshops to contribute individually or together to the book, but we also want it to be collaborative and not to close down other possibilities for publishing or further collaborating.

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