Professor Jem Bendell

Notes from a strategist & educator on social & organisational change, now focused on #DeepAdaptation

Archive for November, 2012

Seeking Transformation? Study for an interdisciplinary PhD at the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability

Posted by jembendell on November 25, 2012

Our Campus resides near this Lake

Our Campus resides near this Lake

“Education is the science of relations”

Charlotte Mason,

the founder of our Lake District Campus in 1892

Next year the University of Cumbria launches the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability. As Director of the new Institute, I am currently welcoming inquiries about potential PhD research. We will accept six PhD students, whether full time in residence (typically 3 years), full time away (typically 4 years) or part time (residence or away (typically 5 years). There is one opportunity for receiving a bursary to cover fees. The Institute is based in the heart of the beautiful Lake District in the UK, in the village of Ambleside, with Campuses also in Lancaster and Carlisle.

The Institute has a specific research focus, about which it welcomes proposals.  This is in the field of “transition”. All our work on leadership and sustainability seeks to enable personal and collective transitions to living in harmony with each-other and the planet. Leadership that makes a positive difference to communities and environments is the only leadership worth practising or learning. To us, sustainability means that everyone thrives in harmony with the biosphere and future generations. That does not mean maintaining or spreading a particular way of life, but a transition from behaviours and systems that are destructive, towards those that restore the environment and support individual rights, wellbeing, and community. It implies a systemic shift; large numbers of persons and organisations acting in a significantly different way. A transition to sustainability involves promoting ecological integrity, collective wellbeing, real democracy, human rights, support for diversity, economic fairness, community resilience, a culture of peace, compassion and inquiry, and the appreciation of beauty.

Studies of positive transformations suggest this shift will require interacting cultural, economic, technological, behavioural, political and institutional developments at multiple levels. Leaders during social transformations appear to have transcended a concern for self, yet sufficiently sustained their wellbeing, and empowered others. Therefore our work seeks to connect the systemic and the personal, and mobilise insights from diverse schools of thought on how transformations occur. Consequently, our research focuses on actionable knowledge, action research, combining diverse disciplines, linking local with global, and learning from old and new teachings that arise from diverse cultural settings. With us, you will not gain a straight-jacketed PhD in management, or politics, or sociology, but produce insight that is highly relevant and interdisciplinary.

Within the framework of transition, we are particularly interested in three areas.

Transformative Leadership: how to encourage the attributes and competencies that enable someone to participate in social transformation; how organisational and societal transformations occur; how to encourage personal transformations and wellbeing through learning experiences.

Innovative Resourcing and Exchange: innovative ways for people and organisations to share, swap, rent, or exchange, with or without official money; sharing economy, collaborative consumption, complementary currency; implications for business development, international development, and policy; implications for donors and foundations, including more catalytic and transformative philanthropy.

Scaling-Up Transitions: approaches that hold potential for the scale of change required by current global challenges; public policies for scaling social innovations; transformative cross-sectoral alliances; disruptive innovations in existing markets and industries.

If your research interests relate to this, please read on about our approach, to consider whether to submit an initial inquiry.

At the Institute we will combine what is normally expected for PhDs, with our own particular emphasis on purpose-led inter-disciplinary actionable research. Many people are unaware of what researching for a PhD involves, and mistake it for the writing of a thesis/book, or the winning of a credential. The thesis and the credential are the results, but the PhD process is about becoming a reflective and skilled researcher and communicator of research. Therefore PhD research with the Institute will involve the supervisor helping the doctoral candidate with most of the following elements:

  • developing and applying professionally ones sense of social purpose and without a completely fixed view. Specifically, we are interested in inquiries in personal and collective transition to fair and sustainable societies (broadly defined)
  • learning how to research (how to turn ideas, beliefs or doubts into inquiries with suitable research; which means learning about ontologies, epistemologies, methodologies, methods)
  • learning how to assess existing intellectual disciplines for the way they can both inform and restrict inquiry on the chosen topic; some sociology plus at least one other social science discipline are expected (relevant subjects include management, design, international development etc)
  • unlearning some existing assumptions in ways that help one to become critically reflective yet action-oriented in all aspects of life and work
  • learning how to analyse primary “data” of forms relevant to one’s chosen inquiry and to develop findings that are relevant to broader contexts (data can include lived experience; but then one needs to learn how to analyse ones experience, not just re-tell or re-articulate it)
  • learning how to identify findings that both contribute to existing fields of knowledge, but also a particular field of practice (i.e. to seek both academic and non-academic relevance for ones work)
  • learning how to communicate findings in ways that reach people in academia and beyond, including presenting findings in ways that can inform education (such as online or in-person lectures)

Proposals need to reflect some of this journey, and a thesis will need to demonstrate these outcomes were pursued and somewhat achieved. Myself and my co-supervisors will help doctoral candidates along this journey: you don’t have to have everything mapped out already, but be open to this depth of inquiry. Information on what I do is on the University website.

Still interested? Then please send me some information about yourself and your idea in the following format, by December 17th 2012.

Your Idea: Tell me in half a page what your area of research is, what your overall research question might be, why it is relevant to leadership or sustainability or transition, what existing research you have done on it, what stakeholders you have engaged about your research idea, and what existing theories/disciplines (if any) you think are relevant to it. If you have a provisional research question, then include it.

Your Motivation: Tell me in half a page why you want to explore this, in terms of your personal and professional development. Also explain how you will fund, or seek to fund, yourself, and what format you would go for (full time, full time away, part-time)

Please attach a one page CV and a sample of existing writing, ideally already published.

That is 2 pages in total (1 on research and 1 on CV), and a piece of writing.

Provide a skype ID or google talk ID so that we can interact more easily (my skype: jembendell).

I will contact you within one month of you submitting your information, potentially to discuss further your ideas and help you prepare a full proposal to the University.

Please note that information on our Institute is not yet available online – by joining the Institute you will help to shape our emerging programmes.

Dr Jem Bendell
Professor of Sustainability Leadership
Director, Institute for Leadership and Sustainability
University of Cumbria, UK

jem dot bendell at

Posted in Academia and Research, Corporations, My Life, Sustainable Development | 8 Comments »

Drapanos Declaration on Community Exchange

Posted by jembendell on November 8, 2012

Διακήρυξη του Δράπανου για τις αλληλέγγυες ανταλλαγές

11th October 2012, Drapanos Crete / 11 Οκτωβρίου 2012, Δράπανος, Κρήτη

Individuals, communities and environments are the true source of our wealth and well-being.

Οι άνθρωποι, οι κοινότητες και το περιβάλλον στο οποίο ζουν είναι η αληθινή πηγή πλούτου και ευημερίας.

Therefore we develop alternative means of exchange between individuals and organisations to foster more cooperative and equitable relations.

Γιαυτό αναπτύσσουμε εναλλακτικούς τρόπους και μέσα ανταλλαγών μεταξύ ανθρώπων και κοινοτήτων με σκοπό να ενισχύσουμε συνεργατικές και ισότιμες μεταξύ μας σχέσεις

Although we may focus on our own communities, we share this principle with other communities.

Ακόμη και αν η εστίαση και το ενδιαφέρον μας είναι στις δικές μας κοινότητες, εν τούτοις μοιραζόμαστε αυτές τις Αρχές με άλλες κοινότητες και δίκτυα.

Therefore we commit to work together in Greece and worldwide, to improve our practices, so that more communities connect to their own abundance.

Γιαυτό δεσμευόμαστε να εργαστούμε μαζί, στην Ελλάδα και στον κόσμο, για να βελτιώσουμε τις πρακτικές μας, έτσι ώστε περισσότερες κοινότητες και δίκτυα να έρθουν σε επαφή και να συνεργαστούν με σκοπό τις ανταλλαγές στη βάση του δικού τους πλούτου και αφθονίας.

Our efforts are part of a greater movement to make economic activity more accountable, socially beneficial and environmentally sustainable.

Οι προσπάθειες μας αποτελούν μέρος ενός ευρύτερου κινήματος για πιο υπεύθυνη, κοινωνικά ωφέλιμη και περιβαλλοντικά βιώσιμη οικονομική δραστηριότητα

Our work must develop ever expanding circles of cooperation, exchange and learning.

Η δραστηριότητα μας θα πρέπει να μας οδηγεί σε αυξανόμενους κύκλους συνεργασίας, ανταλλαγών και μάθησης

We invite others who share these aims to join us in a growing movement and emerging profession on community exchange.

Προσκαλούμε όλους όσους συμμερίζονται το ίδιο όραμα να γίνουν μέρος αυτού του αναπτυσσόμενου κινήματος για τις αλληλέγγυες ανταλλαγές.

This Declaration was agreed on 11th October 2012 by participants in a two day conference on community exchange, at the ‘European Sustainability Academy (ESA) in the village of Drapanos, Crete, Greece.

Το κείμενο υπογράφουν οι παρακάτω συμμετέχοντες στη Διάσκεψη για τη βιωσιμότητα στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ακαδημία Βιωσιμότητας στο Δράπανο της Κρήτης.

Please add your name, and if possible, organisation, in the comments below, to indicate your endorsement of the declaration.
Παρακαλούμε συμπληρώστε το όνομά σας και, εάν είναι δυνατόν, τον οργανισμό σας στα παρακάτω σχόλια για να εκδηλώσετε την προσυπογραφή της Διακήρυξης.

If you want to engage with the emerging network on community exchange, please email:
Επίσης εάν θέλετε να εμπλακείτε στο υπό δημιουργία δίκτυο για τις κοινοτικές συναλλαγές, παρακαλούμε επικοινωνήστε στο email :

The undersigned endorse the Drapanos Declaration / Οι υπογράφοντες/ουσες επικυρώνουν τη Διακήρυξη του Δραπάνου:

Μαρία Ανδριανάκη /Maria Andrianaki Drapanos, Crete
Σπύρος Ανδρουλιδάκης/ Spiros Androulidakis Rethymno, Crete
Prof. Jem Bendell Cumbria, UK
Jackie Bergman Stockholm, Sweden
Lina Daniene Lithuania
Ian Doyle Geneva, Switzerland
Αφροδίτη Φραγκομιχελάκη/ Afroditi Fragomichelaki Chania, Crete
Tomas Greco Jr. Arizona, USA
Γιάννης Γρηγορίου/ Giannis Grigoriou Volos, Greece
Sharon Jackson Drapanos, Crete
Hamish Jenkins Geneva, Switzerland
Indre Kleinaite Lithuania
Μελίτα Λαζαράτου/ Melita Lazaratou Drapanos, Crete
Sergio Lub California, USA
Dominique Maldague Chania, Crete
Μαργαρίτα Ναυπακτίτου/ Margarita Nafpaktitou Chania, Crete
Eλενα Παγάνη/ Elena Pagani Rethymno, Crete
Αλέκος Πανταζής/ Alekos Pantazis Rethymno, Crete
Γεωργία Πολάκη/ Georgia Polaki Chania, Crete
Sybille Saint Girons Paris, France
Matthew Slater Geneva, Switzerland
Κώστας Σταυρουλάκης/ Kostas Stavroulakis Chania, Crete

These signatories participate in the following organisations, while endorsing the Declaration in a personal capacity. (Οι υπογράφοντες συμμετέχουν στους παρακάτω οργανισμούς, ενώ προσυπογράφουν τη Διακήρυξη ατομικά):

Drafting the Declaration

Drafting the Declaration (photo: Sergio Lub)

Bergman Ledning och Utveckling, Sweden; Beyond Money, USA; Chania Exchange Network, Crete / Δίκτυο Ανταλλαγών Χανίων, Κρήτη; Community Forge, Geneva; European Sustainability Academy (ESA), Crete / Ευρωπαϊκή Ακαδημία Βιωσιμότητας, Κρήτη; Institute for Leadership and Sustainability, University of Cumbria, UK / Ινστιτούτο για την Ηγεσία και τη Βιωσιμότητα, University of Cumbria, UK; GYV

A  LIthuania; Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania; Lifeworth Consulting, Geneva; Rethymnon Exchange Network- Crete / Αλληλέγγυο Ανταλλακτικό Δίκτυο Ρεθύμνου Ροδιά, Κρήτη / United Nations NGLS, Geneva; Magnisia Exchange and Solidarity Network, Volos, Greece / Δίκτυο Ανταλλαγών και Αλληλεγγύης Μαγνησίας Les Valeureux, Paris.

Please add your name, and if possible, organisation, in the comments below, to indicate your endorsement of the declaration.Παρακαλούμε συμπληρώστε το όνομά σας και, εάν είναι δυνατόν, τον οργανισμό σας στα παρακάτω σχόλια για να εκδηλώσετε την προσυπογραφή της Διακήρυξης.


Giannis and Sharon

Our host, Sharon Jackson, head of ESA, and speaker Giannis, co-founder of Volos TEM community exchange system.

The Declaration

The Declaration


Jem and Tom

Myself (Prof Bendell) with Tom Greco, Matthew Slater and Sybille Saint Girons in the workshop before the Declaration

Posted in Sustainable Development | Tagged: , , , | 19 Comments »