Reporting from ESRC funded Ethical Leadership Seminar

Charlotte von Bülow attended the 8th ESRC funded seminar in a series focusing on developing ethical leaders. The seminar was hosted by Sarum College and the focus was largely on elements of ethical leadership education and its impact on actual systemic change. Dr Geoff Moore compared the works of Rene Girard and Alasdair MacIntyre and proposed that, between these two approaches to leadership, there may be a model for leadership development. Dr Karen Blakeley spoke about the need for addressing not only individual but also collective spirituality in order to create real change. Dr Eve Poole’s contribution on Leadersmithing addressed the craft of leadership and the need to find the balance in practice between thinking and doing. You will be able to hear Eve Poole at our Research Conference at UWE 10-11 March 2017


But what works?

ZINC has posted this video. In the interest of adding as many perspectives as possible, watch this video:


It does not ring entirely true, but may be that is not the point. Perhaps the message is more about reminding us to think about what works as well as what doesn’t. And also…it may just be that a little gratitude will help us get more things right, too?

Rethinking the way we work

The notion that we can be productive, innovative, reflective and empathetic within a 60 hour working week is ludicrous. BBC has looked at teachers and their working week:

Teachers often feel weighed down by marking.

What will it take to create systemic, lasting change? How many unhappy and stressed colleagues out there do we need to witness before employers, leaders and governors wake up? We don’t claim to have the solution at Crossfields Institute but so far we can conclude that our efforts to create a more sensible working pattern for staff produces as many, if not more, positive outcomes for our beneficiaries. We get the job done because we are more effective, focused and present.

Has a more condensed and flexible working week removed all our stresses? No. Has it completely removed the sense of overwhelm we sometimes get? No. Has it made us more resilient and healthier? Yes. Less days off due to illness than before. Has it had a positive impact on motivation? Absolutely. All in all, there is no good reason for employers to promote 50-60 hour working weeks. No one wins. With happy and healthy colleagues that are motivated, everyone wins.

Leadership, Ethics and Working with Unknowing. Conference dates confirmed.

Dear All,

This is a ‘save the date’ alert regarding our next international conference. The conference will take place on the 10th and 11th March 2017 at the UWE campus in Bristol. Provisional start and end times are 4pm on Friday 10th, and 5pm on Saturday 11th. (Exact times will be confirmed)

This is our seventh international conference held in collaboration with Alanus University. For this conference we will also be partnering with University of the West of England (UWE) and the conference will be held at the UWE campus. The tile of the conference is Leadership, Ethics and Working with Unknowing, and it will include contributions from a range of speakers and workshop leaders on the subject of ethical leadership, focussing particularly on ‘unknowing’ or ‘negative capability’, as it is sometimes called. This will be unmissable event for anyone interested in ethical leadership and its role in these challenging times.

Further information about the event will follow shortly, including theme, programme and registration details.

No more Art History

It has been widely reported that it will no longer be possible to study “A” level Art History, the last awarding organisation has recently dropped it from their portfolio of qualifications. This is sad news, the study of the history of art is the study of the development of ideas and our cultural identity and could have a detrimental effect on thriving creative industries across the UK. What other rich and rewarding subjects are in danger of being lost to the students of today?

Some 839 students sat an A-level exam in the subject this summer, making it an expensive course for the board to maintain Getty

The Mindfulness in Schools Project


At the beginning of this year Nicky Morgan, then Secretary of State for Education, challenged teachers to ask what they were doing to promote wellbeing and mental health among their students. The Mindfulness in Schools Project is one response to that challenge. As many countries face rising numbers of young people with mental health issues, Crossfields Institute is working with teachers and educationalists to develop and support education that builds confidence and resilience in young people as part of their learning journey.

Playing with Fire?

Recent news reports have drawn attention to West Rise Junior, a primary school in Eastbourne, East Sussex which has the children spending time outdoors using knives, saws, open fires and even air-rifles.

Ofsted and the Health & Safety Executive approve, and achievement in English and Maths at the school have dramatically improved. Headteacher Mike Fairclough believes the children are challenging themselves and finding solutions together, developing resilience and confidence in the process. We see similarities with the Erasmus+ funded Diploma for 14-19 olds which Crossfields Institute is developing, which aims to develop creative thinking skills in a transdisciplinary curriculum. We believe that education is all about lighting fires, rather than filling empty pails!

Headteacher Mike Fairclough thinks schools – and parents – are failing children by over-protecting them instead of teaching them how to handle danger. Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian

Reducing Carbon Emissions at a Local Level

On the heels of the decision to approve fracking in Lancashire, which follows only shortly after the government’s decision to approve new nuclear energy production in the UK, it could well appear that environmental concerns will just have to take a second seat to energy concerns as we move forward to address the UK’s future energy needs. Well, perhaps there are other avenues to explore. What has not been given nearly enough attention is the potential for community level initiatives to re-evaluate both our energy usage and the power of local solutions. Have a look at this article for examples of solutions that are on a more human-scale.

Thai public sustainability professionals have been among the many visitors to Ashton Hayes to learn from their Going Carbon Neutral project. Image from:

Visual Learning

From Crossfield Institutes’ Isis Brook:

As those at Crossfields who go to the research forum will know I am very interested in the use of creating visual diagrams for understanding concepts so was interested to hear this short podcast on the Teaching Strides website – this is a Mount Royal University website at that has recently been started up to post podcasts from educators. Worth checking out and if you register they send you an alert when new material goes up.


The latest is from Professor Glenn Ruhl, Professor in, and former Chair of, the Information Design program in the Faculty of Communication Studies at Mount Royal University. He is a member of the International Institute for Information Design.

He makes some useful points and it is interesting to follow the links of what are thought to be good examples of infographics. I was pleased to see one that I had previously selected from the web to use as an example for our Communications module on the Researching Agroecology course amongst them.

But scroll down and see what you make of the one called ‘Underskin: the human subway map’ where the various systems, such as lymphatic system, are represented in tube map format. That seems to me an example of misleading information where the design shapes understanding via a striking but misconceived picture of what these complex bodily systems are actually like. It also renders the human body as quasi mechanical which seems a very damaging and outdated idea.