Why we need to look for the creative spaces to be innovative

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Professor John Diamond (Director of the University’s I4P) welcomes Professor Carolyn Kagan’s lecture on ‘Disruptive Change’:

The core message for me last night listening to Carolyn Kagan’s very informative reflection on the ways in which key policy initiatives in the areas of anti-racism, gender and disability have been constrained and limited, was how those advocating change were constantly looking for the creative spaces to lead change. Or as others have put it to look for the room to manoeuvre.

Either expression conveys a sense of space which is potentially limiting but its size and ‘availability’ are limited too, by the balance of forces engaged in the struggle to effect change.

As Carolyn put it in her lecture, this is about conflicts over power. For those who are wishing to challenge racism or sexism, or other forms of oppressive practice, their ideas reflect a different set of values from those which are defending the status quo.

Such progressive values challenge existing ways of working and are likely to be resisted. And over time if the shift in the balance of forces remains with the status quo what appear (in the short term) to be gains, can be lost. This leads to the gaps in income and power and, as Kate Pickett argued in the I4P Annual Lecture, to an increase in inequality in society.

Carolyn’s lecture will be available on the web site both in video and text format.

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John Diamond

John Diamond

Professor John Diamond has made significant contributions to the UK Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) through his research on the management of change within major urban regeneration programmes.

John’s work is renowned both regionally and nationally, in addition to his written work he has participated in a number of conferences, invitation-only events and has acted as an external advisor across the Voluntary sector. Through his research John has enabled leaders in the Voluntary and Community Sector to make sense of the changing relationship the VCS has with the public sector.

Professor John Diamond is the National Chair of the Association for Research with the Voluntary and Community Sector (ARVAC) and co-editor of the annual series Critical Perspectives on International Public Sector Management .

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