• Joyce Liddle, Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK
  • John Diamond, Edge Hill University Business School, UK
  • John Shutt, Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK
  • Oto Potluka, Center for Philanthropy Studies, University of Basel, Switzerland
  • John Gibney, University of Birmingham, UK
  • Markku Sotarauta, Tampere University, Finland
  • Andrew Beer, UniSA Business School , Australia
  • Ina Horlings, University of Wageningen, the Netherlands
  • Dane Anderton, Manchester Metropolitan University

The Leadership and Urban and Regional Development research network brought together scholars, policymakers and practitioners from across Europe, America and Australasia, providing a forum to build on the then recognised but understudied ideas of place leadership, citizen driven and collective leadership, leadership in European peripheries, and networked leadership and innovation. Our aim was to create greater understanding, develop further joint publications, and build future research potential. In sharing our understanding of leadership in numerous global settings we wanted to develop common theoretical, conceptual and methodological frameworks.

Our network has seen participation from Chicago to the Berlin and from Georgia to Adelaide fostering collaboration and stimulating new research opportunities. Of particular importance was the question of the formal/publicly acknowledged roles and contributions assumed by individual leaders and groups as they lead urban and regional projects and places; everyday activities, motivations and relational dynamics embedded in processes of enactment of leadership; how different policy contexts shape (or frustrate/create barriers) to place leadership. Furthermore, the network has explored how leadership is vital for strategic transformation of places to benefit citizens and inhabitants. Focusing on how leaders individually and collectively lead and develop governance networks of influence and power.

Over the past seven years, we have participated in and organised several research events all of which focused on different aspects of place leadership, some of which are listed below:

  • 2012 Launch Event
  • 2013 European Week of Cities & Regions and RSA Open Days
  • 2014 Research Network Seminar Brussels Greater Birmingham Office – Leadership in City and Regional Development in Europe”
  • 2015 Research Network Seminar in association Enterprise & Diversity Research Cluster and City-REDI at the University of Birmingham – Exploring Varieties of Leadership in Urban and Regional Development
  • 2016 Research Network Seminar in association with IMPGT / CERGAM Aix-Marseille Université, France – Linking Urban & Regional City Leadership : Making Connections and Identifying Leadership Needs
  • 2017 RSA Annual Conference Ireland – Will Urban & Regional Leadership be in Crisis, Post-Brexit?
  • 2017 – Research Network Seminar in association with Citizenship and Governance (C&G) The Open University – A Systems Approach To Place Based Leadership? Framing A Research And Policy Agenda
  • 2018 Research Network Seminar in association with Institute for Place Management, Manchester Metropolitan University – Combining state and non-state partnerships for effective place leadership

A wide range of topics, theories and methodologies were covered, including leadership in knowledge exchange, educational perspectives, collaborative leadership in public sector research and knowledge exchange, nomadic knowledge leadership, comparative study across European city leadership, impacts of changing place leaders, social fields theory in place-based leadership, place leadership and social contract, role of formal and informal non-profit leadership in rural development, holistic space leadership, higher education institutions in place leadership with cases from Europe and India presented. From our interactions and network sessions, we have had three special issues published across Regional Studies, Local Economy and Voluntary Sector Review plus a number of other peer reviewed journal outputs and projects.

The last conference saw strong support among delegates for the network to continue for another three years so we are considering applying for further funding (please contact one of the organisers if you would like to help lead the next phase of the network). A number of potential research collaborations have been identified and our third special issue is underway as one of the outcomes of the event held at Manchester Metropolitan University.