Date and location

  •   October 23, 2018 - October 24, 2018
  •   MMU Business School, All Saints Campus, Oxford Road, Manchester

Conference details

Place leadership research is at a critical juncture. After having reached a wide and new recognition about its importance thanks to work of several scholars (e.g. Beer & Clower, 2014; Collinge et al. 2010; Liddle, 2010; Sotarauta, 2015; Sotarauta et al. 2017), it has now to gain consistency and rigour to foster its contribution to a bigger range of work. Place leadership is characterised by formal and informal mechanisms where different arrangements and constellations of interests coalesce to combine economic, social and environmental objectives to drive transformation. Place leadership can be seen in a variety of multi-level, multi-sectoral, multi-organisational fora. However, place leaders need to combine interests such as  businesses, economic institutions, CAs, LEPs Engines, utility companies or ‘Auxiliary Institutions’ with social and civic interests (Universities, Third Sector, Faith Groups, Voluntary/Charitable and Community Sectors) also now known as 'Anchor Institutions'. Increasingly different conceptualisations are emerging in relation to non-state involvement in place leadership such as third sector, faith groups, voluntary/charitable and community sectors. This conceptual fuzziness needs to be addressed to gain the consistency and rigour in place leadership.

The governance of regions, which undergo radical disruptive changes brought about by events like geo-political changes, civil unrests, environmental degridation, automation and social movements, is a difficult problem to address. Social innovations and entreprenurial leadership are key tools which could provide solutions for the emergence of unforeseen social, environmental and economic tensions. In this process there is an bigger role for nonprofit non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the voluntary engagement that citizens can play in solving such problems. They and their nonprofit organizations carry the risks of introducing social innovation that would not be done by firms or the public sector.

Furthermore, most studies on leadership of place have been done in a Western European context and do not consider the specificities of the the developing Global South and Central or Eastern European context including their institutional arrangments. Moreover, the often institutionally thin environments of peripheral regions, combined with centralization tendencies of national governments, create a very different environment for the role of place leaders than in the more institutional thick and decentralized countries of Europe.

Hence, this network meeting aims to widen contributions from underrepresented regions in Europe but also in Latin America, Asia and Africa following the RSA’s growth and presence in these regions. Equally, we are keen to ensure that this seminar does not take place in isolation from the wider academic debates within Regional Studies. As such we view Brexit and leadership as being inherently linked to the issue of leadership in (re)emerging or new spaces in the policy arena. For example, our network examines Brexit in the same context as the emergence of leadership in Catalonia, Scotland, The Basque Country and Eastern European EU ascension states. In this research network seminar, we encourage and invite research papers, short position papers, commentaries on hot topics/events (e.g. Brexit), and research designs, but are not limited to contributions that address:

  • How do we defining the role of civic society and civic institutions as community anchors?
  • Leadership and development in transition and post-transition contexts
  • How does place leadership contribute to development in the developing global south?
  • How does leadership fill the spaces that emerge as new policy tiers are created by political decisions, referenda, new political alliances, and independence movements? 

Initial Abstract/proposals by 29th July 2018

We invite research-based proposals, from both scholars and practitioners. The proposals should:

  • Address the topic areas listed above;
  • Include an abstract of up to 500 words summarising the research and clearly outlining its originality and contribution to the scholarly and policy debates;
  • Include a short bio of up to 150 words accompanied by full contact details of the author(s);
  • Be submitted by email to Oto Potluka (, and Dane Anderton ( by 29th July 2018
  • Notification of acceptance will be 6th August

Contributions and outputs

  • Accepted abstract/proposals can submit an optional full or developmental draft paper, of max 8,000 words all-inclusive.
  • Optional full or developmental draft papers will be due by 30th September 2018.
  • Presentations during the workshop will be limited to 20 minutes with 5 minutes for questions.
    • presentation of maximum 15 slides, outlining: research questions, conceptual framework, research design, and key findings;
  • Speakers are encouraged to use images, diagrams, infographics, etc., while text in the slides.
  • Keynote speakers will be invited to open the proceedings.
  • Organiser are aiming to put a special issue published together following the event

Practical information

  • Participation in the event is free of charge.
  • Venue: MMU Business School, All Saints Campus, Oxford Road, Manchester (map).
  • All participants (presenting or not presenting) will need to register:
  • Refreshments and beverages will be provided and the speakers will be invited to workshop dinner after the event. Participants will need to meet their own travel and accommodation costs.
  • For any other inquiries please contact the local organisers of the workshop Dane Anderton (
  • Please also see our website:

This workshop is held under the auspices of the Regional Studies Association’s network on leadership and urban and regional development, and co-organised by a group of partners from several research institutions

Related Documents

How to get there

MMU Business School, All Saints Campus, Oxford Road, Manchester