Our Work

Incubating Civic Leadership

In our times, there is an increased awareness of the value of creative civic leadership in developing innovations to deal with complex social issues and create sustainable local places. The creative power of civic leadership stems from the connected capabilities of individuals, community groups and different types of organisations (such as for example, social enterprises, voluntary sector organisations and public sector bodies, universities, local media, local businesses and local governments) that work together to mobilise, connect and develop embedded resources and knowledge towards innovative solutions that benefit the place and the communities linked to it. The creative power of civic leadership is particularly evident in the responses to the current COVID19 pandemic: local communities and organisations have quickly organised themselves to co-design and co-deliver a variety of initiatives. This is hence a critical moment for civic leadership that brings new challenges and new opportunities brought by the use of digital technologies to address local and global problems.

The aim of the ICL project is to connect the experiences, knowledge and networks of the community and academic partners in order to explore and prototype new processes and infrastructures that incubate and enable civic leadership. To do this the research team has been working with local partners in two pilot projects in Redbridge, East London and Knowle West, Bristol. The pilot projects are expected to implement different ideas and processes for enabling civic leadership, with tangible impacts for the local communities and for the involved organisations. Read more about the pilot projects and partners below.

Building on this knowledge, the long term aim is to build a larger network of partners across sectors, and to create an incubator, a hub that will help convene and support civic leadership initiatives, projects and partnerships internationally.

Local pilot projects

Redbridge pilot

This pilot project is run in collaboration with London Borough of Redbridge and Muslimah Sports Association in East London. The group was interested in testing a process for engaging and empowering communities in shaping local spaces, and decided to experiment with the provision of a council space for ‘meanwhile use’ as a tool to instigate young people engagement and leadership. The pilot included an online creative workshop to explore the potential for young people to co-design, lead and manage an initiative for temporary uses for one or more public spaces in Redbridge. We also experimented with a pop-up “urban activation”  event in Ilford town centre to explore how a temporary activity to transform and use a space differently can get people interested in how we shape and use our shared public spaces 

Local project partners:

Knowle West pilot

The pilot project is run in collaboration with the Filwood Broadway Working Group and the Knowle West Alliance in Bristol. The group have decided to experiment with setting up a stall at the Filwood monthly market, which will run for the next year. The plan is to use it as a space to have conversations about the future of the place and get more local people actively involved with the activities of the group. They want to ensure the local community have a voice in the Filwood Broadway regeneration and they also want to get more people using the space in positive ways. The group will be inviting other associated initiatives from Knowle West to be on their market stall on different months, providing opportunities for broadening and connecting disparate discussions about Filwood Broadway and its future life.

Local project partners: