News

VSSN Executive Officer role – Invitation to Tender

The VSSN Steering Group is inviting tenders from individuals, partnerships or organisations for the contract to provide the VSSN Executive Officer role from 1st October 2019.

VSSN is a volunteer-led organisation but benefits from the involvement of an Executive Officer, a role which has become crucial to the smooth running of the network. The role involves a range of administrative and communications functions which support the Steering Group and wider membership.

The intention is to issue a three year contract with a review at the end of the first year. Full details are provided in the Invitation to Tender available here.

Please help us reach a wide and diverse range of potential applicants by passing on this Invitation to Tender to any relevant networks, individuals or organisations.

 

 

 

Call for papers: ‘Civil society in the four UK nations’

The call for papers is now open for the next VSSN day seminar, taking place on 28th November at Cardiff University, in partnership with WISERD, the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods.

The theme of the seminar is Civil society in the four UK nations: past, present and future challenges

Find out more and read the full call here or download the flyer here.

Book now for 2019 Research conference

Bookings are now open for this year’s VSSN / NCVO research conference, happening on 10th/11th September at Aston University in Birmingham.

The conference will build on ongoing debates about how civil society can be at the heart of the changes needed to ensure that all communities can thrive. These debates present opportunities and challenges for civil society actors and for research undertaken on, with and for them, many of which will be explore through the conference.

Highlights in this years’ programme include:

  • An opening plenary in which the architects of two civil society reports – Julia Unwin and Danny Kruger – will discuss their visions for the future of civil society and consider the implications for research
  • A plenary panel of three civil society leaders and policy makers – Andrew Purkis, Debra Allcock Tyler, and Alice Wilcock – will provide some personal reflections on the future of civil society
  • A World Café session on the future of civil society research, during which participants will have an opportunity to meet and share ideas with new and experienced researchers in their field, developing social and professional networks and agendas for future research.
  • Six parallel sessions of papers, panels and workshops across the ten core Conference Streams
  • The largest ever New Researchers session, with 20 participants from a range of institutions and disciplines

The full draft programme is available here (note that this is subject to change).

Full conference details are available here.

*See for example to the Civil Society Strategy and Civil Society Futures

Call for Papers Now Live: Voluntary Sector and Volunteering Research Conference 2019

10-11 September 2019, Aston University, Birmingham UK

 

A civil society for the future: setting the agenda for voluntary sector and volunteering research in the 2020s

 

Please visit https://www.vssn.org.uk/2019-research-conference/ for full details. 

 

Increasingly the voluntary sector and volunteering is viewed through the lens of ‘civil society’ and the past 12 months have witnessed considerable public and political debate about how civil society can be at the heart of the changes needed to ensure that all communities can thrive. This includes how to strengthen social value within communities, how civil society can revitalise and enhance democracy, and the potential for reshaping state-civil society relationships.

These debates present opportunities and challenges for civil society actors and for research undertaken on, with and for them. Each year, the Voluntary Sector and Volunteering Research Conference – organised by the Voluntary Sector Studies Network (VSSN) and the National Council of Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) – provides a unique opportunity for academics, policy makers and practitioners from the UK and further afield to come together to share findings and discuss the implications of research. This year the conference – hosted by Aston University Business School – will focus on ‘a civil society for the future’.

We welcome submissions for individual papers, panel sessions and workshops. Given the conference theme, we are particularly keen to receive proposals offering critical reflections on the future of civil society, but we welcome proposals that address a range of issues relevant to the voluntary sector and volunteering, including:

 

  1. The Conference Track – Critical Reflections on Civil Society
  2. Democracy and grassroots voluntary action
  3. Diversity, race, (in)equality and inclusion
  4. Volunteering, participation and social action
  5. Advances in theory and methods
  6. Funding, fundraising, philanthropy and social investment
  7. Organisational management and governance, including law and regulation
  8. Historical perspectives on civil society, the voluntary sector and volunteering
  9. Civil society at the boundaries: relationships with the state and/or private sector
  10. Measuring civil society: outcomes, impact and social value
  11. New researchers stream

 

Please consider submitting a proposal and forwarding this email to those you think may be interested. The full call for papers on our website provides all the necessary details for proposal submissions.

 

Deadline for submissions is 13 May 2019

 

Any questions, please email conference@vssn.org.uk

 

We look forward to receiving those abstracts!

 

Best wishes

Angela, Chris, Mike, Carolyn, Veronique, Jane, Lisa and David

The VSVR conference organising team

Small groups, big issues? Researching local, community-based, and ‘below the radar’ organisations and action

Thursday 23rd May, The Circle, Rockingham Lane, Sheffield City Centre

The next VSSN day seminar will be held in Sheffield and is focused on small charities, community groups, ‘below the radar’[i] organisations, and informal grassroots action. Charities with multi-million pound incomes and global brands largely dominate discussions within the third sector press and drive related policy interventions. In parallel, formally organised voluntary sector service providers have also dominated much academic research. However, the need to pay close attention to small organisations, and the distinctive contributions and value of small groups and movements could not be greater.

We welcome proposals from researchers and practitioners which address these themes and consider the ways that different small organisations organise and work from diverse perspectives. We also welcome presentations related to this theme which will promote discussion around community activism, community development and community organising among different communities.

For example, topics might include the following:

  • How is austerity impacting on small charities and community organisations?
  • How are wider social and political changes affecting small local charities, community groups and new movements (in the UK and elsewhere)?
  • The value and distinction offered by small and below the radar groups
  • Challenges in approaches to studying ‘below the radar’ and grassroots groups
  • ‘Informal’ voluntary action, local support and neighbourliness
  • Relationships between small and large charities

This day seminar will bring researchers together with practitioners working or volunteering for small and community-based organisations and groups, to reflect on the day-to-day challenges faced in such work and action, and help build a collective research and policy agenda in this area.

If you want to contribute?

To submit a proposal to contribute to this seminar – either individually or through a panel session –please provide a short abstract or descriptive summary of between 150 and 300 words of what you would like to present and include your contact details and organisation/group. Please send to Alison Body a.m.body@kent.ac.uk by 1st April.

Please also indicate how your proposal relates to the theme of the day and what presentation format you intend. If you have any questions about the event or want to discuss contributions, please contact us.

[i]For example, see: McCabe, A. (2018) ‘Ten Years Below the Radar: Reflections on Voluntary and Community Action’, TSRC Working Paper 143, November 2018 https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/generic/tsrc/documents/tsrc/working-papers/10-years-below-the-radar-final.pdf

Voluntary Sector and Volunteering Research Conference 2019

Happy New Year!

The Voluntary Sector Studies Network (VSSN) in partnership with the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) are delighted to announce the date and location of the Voluntary Sector and Volunteering Research Conference 2019.

The conference will take place at Aston University (Birmingham, UK) on 10th and 11th September 2019.

This is the leading UK-based interdisciplinary research conference for academics, policy makers and practitioners with an interest in civil society, the voluntary sector and volunteering. It is an opportunity to share research and network across different contexts, fields and disciplines from the UK and further afield. It is open to those at any stage of their career, from early-career researchers to those established in their field.

Please do add the dates to your diaries now, and the call for papers will be published in February 2019.

If you would like any more information at this time, please don’t hesitate to contact conference@vssn.org.uk

Kind Regards,

The Conference Steering Group.

Voluntary Sector Review: Call for Practice and Book Reviews Editors

The Voluntary Sector Studies Network (VSSN) and Policy Press invite applications for the positions of Practice Editor and Book Reviews Editor to join the current editorial team for the Voluntary Sector Review from February 2019 to December 2022.

Voluntary Sector Review (VSR) is a journal with a growing international profile that publishes high-quality, peer-reviewed, accessible papers on third sector research, policy and practice.

The new Practice Editor will join an existing Practice Editor, and will focus on editing practice-oriented papers. S/he will work closely with the VSR Editorial Team, the Editorial Management Board and Policy Press. Tasks that the Practice Editor will undertake include:

  • receiving submissions, identifying suitable referees, making editorial decisions on acceptance, revision or rejection in the light of referees’ reports
  • maintaining and further developing the national and international reputation of the journal
  • commissioning articles, encouraging submissions, and supporting authors for the Practice section
  • participating in person or virtually in twice yearly meetings of the Editorial Management Board.

The new Book Reviews Editor will focus on identifying and receiving suitable books for review, inviting and supporting reviewers, and editing reviews. S/he will work closely with the VSR Editorial Team, the Editorial Management Board and Policy Press.

Job Descriptions for both roles can be found here.

The Editorial Management Board of VSR is looking forward to receiving applications from those interested in taking up these positions on the editorial team of the journal from February 2019 for an initial period of three years.

Applications

The deadline for applications is 10th January 2019. Applications should be sent to: d.kamerade-hanta@salford.ac.uk.

Applicants should have experience of research, research methods, academic writing and /or teaching in a relevant field, as well as experience of working or volunteering in the voluntary sector/civil society arena.

All applicants are asked to provide a short CV highlighting relevant experience.

Applicants for Practice Editor should also provide a brief account of their strategic plans to maintain and develop the VSR’s Practice Section.

Prospective applicants are welcome to contact the current Practice Editor (Chris Dayson – c.dayson@shu.ac.uk) and Book Reviews Editor (James Rees – james.rees@open.ac.uk) informally to discuss the roles further.

Prospective applicants may also contact other members of the selection committee:

Daiga Kamerade, Chair of the Editorial Management Board (d.kamerade-hanta@salford.ac.uk)

Rob Macmillan, Editor (rob.macmillan@shu.ac.uk)

Julia Mortimer, Publisher (julia.mortimer@bristol.ac.uk)

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed by the Selection Committee.

Conference report and presentations – Diversity in the spotlight

The report and all presentations from our recent conference, Diversity in the spotlight: highlighting perspectives on race, culture and migrants, are now available to download.

Thank you to all our speakers and attendees for a very stimulating start to what we hope will be a series of events exploring the marginalisation or absence of diverse groups from voluntary sector research and debates.