ENABLES: arts-based and embodied leadership development

The ENABLES (European Arts-Based Development of Distributed Leadership and Innovation in Schools) project aims to strengthen collaborative leadership of innovation in schools by developing and disseminating innovative methods of arts-based and embodied collaborative leadership development.

Erasmum programme logo

The University of Hertfordshire co-ordinates the project.

The partners comprise:

  • University of Hertfordshire (UK) (co-ordinating institution)
  • University of Jyväskylä (Finland)
  • Institute of Lifelong Learning and Culture «VITAE» (Latvia)
  • University of Innsbruck (Austria)
  • Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Iași (Romania).

Follow the project on Twitter @ENABLES_UH

What we are doing

The two strands of the project that we are currently (Spring 2020) working on are:

  • Knowledge Platform (Output 2)
  • Action Research Trials (Output 3)

The Knowledge Platform is a state-of-the-art systematic review of existing research literature on arts-based and embodied learning approaches to leadership development and how they can meet the global needs and challenges of distributed leadership development in schools. The review provides a knowledge foundation – a platform – for the project and an opportunity to share knowledge and understanding amongst the partners of arts-based and embodied methods. It makes an innovative contribution to the field of leadership development for use by practitioners, policy actors and researchers. It also gives further depth and context to the Action Research Trials being conducted by each partner.

The Action Research Trials – ARTs – are practical workshops and activities being conducted with a range of school-based leaders (including student leaders) to apply, test and evaluate innovative arts-based and embodied learning approaches to developing distributed leadership in schools. The ARTs will be safe, creative, collaborative spaces where constraints of hierarchy are minimised and agency, reflexivity and formation of personal and collaborative intentions by participants are facilitated. Learning will become visible as participants make tacit knowledge explicit, explore its applicability to other contexts and transform the knowledge into a shared resource. Approaches being systematically trialled include:

  • Visual arts, such as photography, painting and drawing
  • Drama & theatre-based activities, enabling creative problem-solving
  • Embodied leadership development using vignettes, narrative and design-thinking approaches
  • Literary art: creative writing and expression
  • Embodied leadership development using 2-dimensional arts such as collage


The ENABLES project is a 2-year project which started in November 2019 and will run to October 2021. We held our first Transnational Partners Meeting (TPM1) in December 2019, where important relationships were strengthened and key decisions were made regarding the project outputs. The photos give a flavour of how interactive, insightful and inspiring that meeting was! We are due to meet again in the autumn of 2020.


ENABLES (European Arts-Based Development of Distributed Leadership and Innovation in Schools) is funded by a European Union Erasmus+ grant (project reference number 2019-1-UK01-KA201-061963). It is a Key Action 2 Strategic Partnership for the Field of Education supporting Innovation.