Making Shi(f)t Happen

The willow persisted...

The willow persisted...


Exploring Gender, Leading, Learning & Organising - a collaborative inquiry

This gathering is for women and men who want to work together “critically and creatively examining, rethinking and reframing the theory and practice of gender, leading, learning and organising” for more sustainable futures. 

This is such fertile ground at present, with so many questions prompted by the turbulent and uncertain conditions of our times.  Such times call for radical thinking, resourceful practice and joined-up actions. 

After our last event in May, Professor Carole Elliot wrote; "The environment of Llananant Farm provided an alternative space for thoughts and conversations - which reminded me that the configuration of hierarchies, and circuits of power, in... organizational structures are not a given, even though we mostly treat them as such. To begin to think about how to re-configure default organisational structures and processes, we must remove ourselves from them."   But this isn't just about what we might call the 'conventional organisation'.  Marit Parker commented: "Women working within large corporations sometimes assume it must be so much easier in alternative organisations. Sadly, this is not necessarily the case."  Dr Maureen Vontz reflected: "Whose work is it to continue unmask the presumed neutrality of organisations and reveal their heavily gendered (aka masculine) tendencies in the service of creating more inclusive spaces?" 

Has there ever been a more important time, to find and sustain the spaces where we can have creative, generative and purposeful conversations across conventional boundaries, to bring to life and sustain new ways of leading and organising?

In Sue’s book, Leading Change (Attwood, Pedler, Pritchard, Wilkinson: Policy Press) we talk about the 'Five Keys' for whole systems development: leadership; diversity; public learning; meeting differently; sticking with it.  In short, to work together differently, we need to learn together differently, creating new, inclusive meeting practices to build fresh possibilities for creative dialogue.  

We’ll start on Friday evening, arriving, meeting, connecting, sharing experiences, interests, questions and challenges, refining our programme in a spirit of co-design and collaboration.  On Saturday, men and women will work separately to explore issues of gender, leading and organising, in their own ways, in spaces around the farm, interspersing the theoretical with the experiential.  We will include activities made possible in the Llananant Farm ecosystem - an organic, permaculture farm - working in the woodland, fields and gardens; with the horses, sheep, pigs, goats and other animals.   Saturday night will be a time for reconnecting, with poetry, music, dancing.  Sunday will be a joint exploration of the issues emerging and the possibilities for actions.   We invite contributions and proposals in this spirit, aiming to create a warm, convivial, respectful space, incorporating the experiential and the theoretical, reflections and actions.

For those who are interested in publishing, this series has a Special Issue of the journal Gender in Management, an international journal published by Emerald. Academic papers will be considered for publication in this peer-reviewed journal. (deadline Oct 2017).  

If you're leading an organisation or working in leadership or organisation development; if you're an academic researching these topics; if you're from what's sometimes called an 'alternative organisation' or work in community capacity building; if you want to reflect on and explore your questions and challenges with companions in a diverse and inspiring community, then we'd love you join us.  

Conference costs £300 which includes all meals & materials.  Bursaries may be available.  Free (simple) camping is available on the farm for those who’d like a truly immersive experience.  Alternatively, we are well served with local hotels, B&Bs and AirBnB accommodation.

The organising team for this event is: Prof Carole Elliott, Tim Leyshon, Sue Pritchard, Dr Steve Marshall, Dr Maureen Vontz, Karen Ward, Kirsten Wisniewski, Dr Neil Wooding.