“Rethinking Malaria” at Chatham House.

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Professor Peter Case (UWE Bristol) was invited by Dr David Heymann, Director of the Centre on Global Health Security, to act as a discussant for a ‘Rethinking Malaria’ conference held at Chatham House on Wednesday 10 October. The conference focussed on tackling malaria in Africa and presenters included a delegation of Anglican bishops from Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia. The church plays a vital role in the region because of its ability to inform and influence congregations and communities with respect to public health issues. In his reflections on the presentations, Peter spoke about his ‘Organization Development for Malaria Elimination’ (ODME) work in Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia, emphasising the importance of improving front-line services and paying fine-grained attention to operational challenges; a message that chimed with that of the bishops. Also in attendance was Chris Flowers of the JC Flowers Foundation – a New York-based philanthropic organization that has offered to support Peter’s research team in Zimbabwe this coming malaria season.

10th Developing Leadership Capacity Conference hosted by UWE Bristol

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Last week saw the Business School host the 10th Developing Leadership Capacity Conference (DLCC)with around 70 participants attending to present ideas and share knowledge. The DLCC was originally developed with the aim of having a combination of those interested in researching the area of leadership learning and development and those interested in new ideas for practice, and this year, on the conference’s 10th anniversary, we believe we had a healthy mix of both. We also introduced a case study stream and a workshop stream this year to really engage practice with academic ideas discussed in a third stream.

We also had an  international feel to the conference this year with participants coming from as far afield as Canada, Ghana, Saudi Arabia and Australia. This year we were particularly interested in innovative and creative approaches to learning and developing leadership and we had a stimulating conversation across all groups over the two days on this theme. We also had keynotes from Professor Carole Elliot (Roehampton University) on Women’s Leadership Development, Dr Kevin Flinn (Hertfordshire University) presenting on a complexity approach to leadership learning and Professor Paul Hibbert (St Andrews University) who presented on an aesthetic approach to understanding leadership experiences. The keynotes are pictured below with the conference hosts and founders Dr Doris Schedlitzki and Dr Gareth Edwards and the Director of the Bristol Leadership and Change Centre, Professor Richard Bolden.



“Becoming enterprising”: a collaborative workshop

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By Dr Pam Seanor.


On Monday 11 June, BLCC hosted the “Becoming enterprising” collaborative workshop.

The workshop was attended by differing practitioners: those taking a critical approach in our teaching and research, those new to roles at UWE Bristol embedding enterprise in to the curriculum, practitioners who facilitate sessions on our modules or are part of the advisory board, artists and students. We also had our youngest attendee being under 1 years old.

It was a day of talking, listening, walking and creative approaches and proved a fun and engaging. It was structured to the following 3 scenarios:

Scenario 1: What do we mean by critical approaches to situated learning?

Facilitator: Karen Verduijn

Karen shared her views of what critical entrepreneurship means to her, challenging some assumptions, along with her experiences of teaching students and developing a community across facilities at VU University Amsterdam.

Scenario 2: Making connections between practitioner and academic views

Facilitator: Jayne Purcell

Jayne is a design thinker and worked with imagines and artefact participants brought of ‘what “becoming enterprising” means to you’  –  what you do, or your dreams and ambitions. We shared differing views, as well of experiences, of resistance and challenges in practices, of being inclusive, sustainability, and/or bringing in creative practices.

Scenario 3: Creative practices

Facilitator: Arthur Turner

After lunch, Arthur Turner facilitated a walk and we talked about the ideas and questions that came up on the day.

Refreshments Drawing it all together

We ended with the Visual Sketchnotes of key points of shared understanding of what others do, questions and imaginings arising from the discussion points and considering next steps.

We hope this to be the beginnings of a conversation where we see entrepreneurship-leadership-sustainability, particularly becoming inclusive, as more connected.

The workshop scenarios had a common theme of movement:

Moving the conversation from the “heroic” (white) male towards creative processes.

Of note, a comment was made in the workshop that there is a place for the “heroic” in practices. We are thoughtful in advocating the alternative approach that we do not seek to replace the dominant view, instead we seek to question the taken-for-granted assumptions. Thus, we take a pluralistic stance and do not seek one definition or one approach.

We hold a common understanding that entrepreneurship is about social change.

Doris and I intend to continue taking an affirmative critical approach in our teaching and research and helping our students to recognise the dominant views and then to question these assumptions so that they can find their voice and identify the alternative practices that they seek to change.

I end by offering the questions we worked through in the scenarios in the workshop:

  • What future are you going to want to create (what society are you going to wanting to live in?)?
  • What – if anything – do you feel needs to be changed from the status quo?
  • (How) can entrepreneurship provide a way forward?

The following link is to the sketch notes of the 3 scenarios

New assets here

On behalf fo Doris and my colleagues at BLCC, we look forward to collaborating.



Sustainability in the curriculum for responsible management education

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This year, the UWE Student Union introduced for the first time ever the ‘Sustainability Teaching Award’ as part of their student experience award scheme. This is also a demonstration of their quest for integrating sustainability in the University curriculum at large. A member of BLCC, Dr Svetlana Cicmil,  was among the 6 academics shortlisted for this award following the nominations by UWE students. An educational activist and scholar passionate about responsible business and management education, Svetlana experiments with pedagogies which address, in a critical and participatory way, the global sustainability agenda and international development. The ultimate aim is to offer the students a truly multidisciplinary dialogical learning experience in the class which is, in turn, a mix of UWE masters students from different fields (MBA, Environmental Management, global political economy,  sustainable development) . A student’s comment illustrates this :

“…. As an MBA student, … I had little to no exposure to sustainable development, … theory, perspectives, models or initiatives that were in this field. Not only has Svetlana shone a light and provided knowledge of sustainable development …, she has provided me the space to develop my own growing perspective, interpretation and definitions.”

Reflecting the spirit and the ethos of BLCC, Svetlana is convinced that we “cannot develop global leaders without addressing in the curriculum some of the most pertinent issues of our time, such as: ecological crisis, global ethics, and corporate responsibility related to equitable sustainable development. Being a complex and multifaceted concept, a mixture of technological, moral, political and sociological concerns, sustainability is relevant and can be linked, to every aspect of the business and management curriculum”.

More information about this award and the related UWE SU initiatives.


Talking Leadership on Ujima Radi.

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In March 2018 the topic of the month at Ujima Radio was Leadership. Alongside a range of local and national speakers Professor Richard Bolden, Director of Bristol Leadership and Change Centre, discussed the work that he and colleagues are doing in Bristol and beyond. In a wide-ranging conversation Gail Bowen-Huggett, presenter of The Babbers Show, invited his views on topics including African leadership, distributed leadership, leadership of place and inclusive leadership.

Amongst the initiatives discussed were UWE’s role in developing and delivering the Bristol Leadership Challenge and their involvement as academic partner in the Bristol Golden Key and Building Leadership for Inclusion initiatives.

The interview was first broadcast on 19th March 2018 and can be listened to in full by clicking here.

‘Of course, trust is not the whole story; narratives of dancing with a critical friend in social enterprise-public sector collaboration’

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Hot off the press! Our BLCC member Dr Pam Seanor has published the following chapter:

‘Of course, trust is not the whole story; narratives of dancing with a critical friend in social enterprise-public sector collaboration’  in Pascal Day and Chris Steyaert (Eds) Social entrepreneurship: An affirmative Critique, Cheltenham UK and Northampton, MA, USA, Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 159-181

Pam tells us, “The chapter began from hearing a story told at an academic conference. The story stayed with me and led me to query the adequacy of academic narratives which frame trust in univocally positive terms by conceiving it as an essential lubricant in collaborative relations between social enterprises and government. Based on interviews with social entrepreneurial practitioners and government officials in England, it shares the “everyday” stories where trust, rather the forming a linear and stable “thing”, is a fluid, constantly changing and contested social practice. Shedding light on the co-implication of trust and control, and the ubiquity of distrust, “calculative trust” and practitioner resistance, the chapter works as an injunction to rethink the centrality of trust in everyday life of social enterprises.”

Pam welcomes conversations with practitioners of their everyday aspects of social enterprise and social entrepreneurship: Pam.Seanor@uwe.ac.uk

Behaviour change in the illegal wildlife trade.

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By Dr Fiona Spotswood.


Recently I was invited to speak and take part in a policy workshop at Cambridge University on the Illegal Wildlife Trade. The event was coordinated by Cambridge University’s Science and Policy Research Centre, TRAFFIC and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The idea was to explore ideas in the run up to the main conference on the IWT, this autumn in London. This was the first time I had been involved in this topic, and it was a fascinating few days.

My contribution was as the expert in behaviour change. I presented some ideas around different theoretical assumptions underpinning behaviour change interventions and policies. I have presented this same talk in many different contexts, but normally it relates to physical activity or sustainability. The context of pangolins and rosewood was a first for me. However, the same theoretical contexts were highly prevalent. Can we think about the consumption of pangolin scales or rhino horn as a deliberated, conscious consumer decision, or is that decision embedded in established routines? These questions are at the heart of all my research into the way people enact everyday behaviours and answers many of our questions about why people get ‘stuck’ into different habits. Often, the people want to budge those habits, but sometimes they don’t.

The consumer context of the illegal wildlife trade is complex. For some consumption activities, the illegality of the purchase is part of the appeal. For others, there is confusion and mystery about the law. Rosewood is a good example. We know little about the consumer demand for illegal rosewood. It may be that rosewood furniture is part of a set of traditions that have nothing to do with its protected status. Understanding the practices in which rosewood furniture consumption is a significant moment would be a first step in identifying how to shape these practices and kerb consumption to within sustainable limits.

Practice theory offers insights into how behaviours happen and how they can be tackled. Often, the answer does not lie with persuasive approaches, although these can be an important ongoing focus. However, persuasion alone is unlikely to shift ingrained cultural routines and collective conventions. A good example of an intervention for the IWT which could easily have been designed using practice theory (although I should note was not) relates to the tradition use of shark fin in large, formal Chinese banquets. Shark fin has connotations of wealth, status and grandeur, so attempting to persuade banquet consumers, such as the ‘mother of the bride’ to forgo the tradition is unlikely to work. However, working with conference, wedding and party organisers has seen a shift in the way the banquets are planned and ‘framed’ to consumers. Alternatives have been offered and shark fin has gradually been consumed less and less on these occasions. Gradually, the collective conventions surrounding shark fin consumption have shifted so that its consumption is seen as outmoded.

Behaviour change is a complex area, but practice theories show time and again how embedded our ‘decisions’ are into our culturally significant routines, and how little we ‘decide’ about consumption activities which are just part of how our worlds work.

Dr Fiona Spotswood



LATEST BLOG: https://policyandpoliticsblog.com/

#myUWEBBSview …a new collaborative research project with ISG, Stride Treglown and Bristol Business School, UWE.

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An exciting new research project is now underway at Bristol Business School and Law School.

We would like all UWE Bristol staff, students, services and visitors to get involved.

Over the next year, we are asking everyone to take photos to show how they are using the building and how they feel about the building.

Participants can then post their pictures on Instagram using #myUWEBBSview and in the comments box, tell us what the picture means to you.

Or, you can email your pictures and comments to myUWEBBSview@uwe.ac.uk

Check out our project website for more details: www.myUWEBBSview.com

The research project is led by Dr Harriet Shortt, Associate Professor in Organisation Studies, in collaboration with ISG, the contractors, and Stride Treglown, the architects of the building.

Stride Treglown have also featured the project on their website.

Watch this space over the next year for more details!

Creating space for a critical approach to entrepreneurship .

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By Dr Pam Seanor.


The idea of this book took off from the 3E conference with invited participants who, like us, had voiced their interest and concerns regarding entrepreneurship education, experiencing a gap between entrepreneurship practices we studied and found in textbooks and what we felt was asked for in the classroom. I had the pleasure to be invited to co-facilitate a PDW and have now published a book chapter on my work:

Seanor, P. (2018). A space on the side of the road: creating space for a critical approach to entrepreneurship. K. Berglund, JK. Verduijn. In: Revitalizing entrepreneurship education: adopting a critical approach in the classroom. Routledge, pp.99-118.

Book description: Within mainstream scholarship, it’s assumed without question that entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education are desirable and positive economic activities. Drawing on a wide range of theoretical approaches and political-philosophical perspectives, critical entrepreneurship studies has emerged to ask the questions which this assumption obscures.

Students of entrepreneurship need to understand why and how entrepreneurship is seen as a moral force which can solve social problems or protect the environment, or even to tackle political problems. It is time to evaluate how such contributions and insights have entered our classrooms. How much – if any – critical discussion and insight enters our classrooms? How do we change when students demand to be taught “how to do it”, not to be critical or reflexive.

If educators are to bring alternative perspectives into the classroom, it will entail a new way of thinking. There is a need to share ideas and practical approaches, and that is what the contributions to this volume aim to do and to illuminate new ways forward in entrepreneurship education.


If you would like more information about this book the please contact Pam directly.

Dr Robert French: in memoriam…

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Br Professor Peter Case.

It’s with great sadness that we announce that our long-time colleague, Dr Robert French, passed away peacefully on Friday 5th January. A dedicated scholar and teacher, Robert joined UWE (then Bristol Polytechnic) more than thirty years ago, having spent the early part of his career in secondary school education. Robert was a remarkable man and someone whom we all valued greatly as a colleague.

A handsome and physically impressive figure, I shall always remember the intellectual acuity and creativity he brought to the many academic collaborations we engaged in together. He was ever a font of intellectual insight and wisdom, as well as someone whose great learning was admired and respected by all who knew him. He and I shared a great passion and interest in matters philosophical, publishing several articles and book chapters in collaboration with Dr Peter Simpson on the themes of workplace spirituality and leadership philosophy. We also wrote on the topic of ‘friend and betrayal’ jointly with professor Jonathan Gosling of Exeter University.

I’m sure that Robert’s deep Christian faith would have been a source of confidence and assurance as he faced the challenges that his illness presented him with, particularly in the latter stages. I shall miss our regular conversations – often in the company of Peter Simpson – very much indeed. I shall also miss his joie de vivre and wry wit; the broad smile that he greeted one with was invariably the source of joy and uplift.

There was often a mischievous aspect to his humour. I remember well the way he once drew me in with the following joke: ‘Peter’, he said, ‘you know, of course, that Proudhon and his anarchist compatriots only ever drank herbal tea’. Believing him to be relating an established historical fact, in my naivety I replied ‘No, why on earth was that?’. ‘Because proper-tea [property] is theft!’, came the swift retort.

It was an honour and privilege to have known Robert and spend time in his generous presence. I and all my colleagues in the Organization Studies department at UWE shall miss him greatly.



Please follow the links below to view some of Robert’s work: