Developing distributed leadership through arts-based and embodied activity

The ENABLES (European Arts-Based Development of Distributed Leadership and Innovation in Schools) project is run by a consortium of European partners. It was set up to strengthen collaborative and distributed leadership of innovation in schools by developing and disseminating innovative methods of arts-based and embodied collaborative leadership development.

From November 2019 to October 2021, it was supported by a grant from the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, as a Key Action 2 Strategic Partnership for the Field of Education supporting Innovation (project reference number: 2019-1-UK01-KA201-061963).

The project partners are:

  • 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)

Leadership that is collaborative and distributed is practised not only by positional leaders (those in a formal leadership position, such as school principals and headteachers) but also non-positional leaders (those not occupying a formal leadership position, such as teachers, school staff like administrators and technicians, students, parents and other members of the school community).

Partners explored innovative ways of using arts-based and embodied methods of collaborative and distributed leadership development. They undertook action research trials and reviews of research, as well as sharing and discussing between them their findings and experience in using these methods. Partners took the lead on different kinds of arts-based and embodied methods. The methods included:

  • collage and embodied movement
  • creative writing and reflection
  • drama and improvisation
  • vignettes
  • visual imagery

The project is making a range of resources available on the ENABLES website. Based on what we have learnt through the project, these resources are for anyone who wants to develop and strengthen collaborative and distributed leadership in schools.

Follow the project on Twitter @ENABLES_UH and Instagram @enables_project

Project co-ordinator: Professor Philip Woods (p.a.woods@herts.ac.uk)