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Education Seminar Series 2021: Distributed Leadership

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Distributed Leadership: Performative strategy, opportunity for democracy, or something else?

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The Department of Education of the University of Bath is delighted to welcome Professor Philip Woods for our upcoming Seminar Series.

Abstract

Distributed leadership is a complex idea with no agreed definition through its practice or in the research literature. In this seminar, Professor Woods explores the different ways in which distributed leadership is understood and interpreted. He argues that what we make of the idea of distributed leadership is influenced by the kind of problem we think it will solve and that recognising this helps in understanding the variety of meanings the term attracts. Four kinds of problem that distributed leadership might be a response to are suggested - technical, conceptual, power and values problems. These give rise to four different constructions of distributed leadership. The resultant framework of meanings of distributed leadership is intended to be helpful to practitioners and researchers in thinking critically about the value of distributed leadership.

Philip Woods is Professor of Educational Policy, Democracy and Leadership and Director of the Centre for Educational Leadership at the University of Hertfordshire, UK, and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. Current work includes leading the Erasmus+ funded ‘European Arts-based Development of Distributed Leadership and Innovation in Schools’ (ENABLES) project (2019-2021) and the BELMAS project, ‘Educational Leadership, Management and Administration in the United Kingdom: A Comparative Review’ (2018-2020). Recent publications include ‘Democratic Leadership’ and (co-authored with Joy Jarvis, Amanda Roberts and Suzanne Culshaw) ‘School Leadership Preparation and Development in England’, both chapters in R. Papa (ed), Oxford encyclopedia of educational administration, Oxford University Press (2020).

The seminar will be chaired by Meng Tian who is a Lecturer and member of the Educational Leadership, Management and Governance Cluster at the Department of Education, University of Bath. Her research interests lie in distributed leadership, social justice leadership, leaders’ and teachers’ professional development, and educational leadership policy-making. She is also the co-Convenor for the Network 26 Educational leadership at the European Educational Research Association (EERA).

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