This book is about action learning in the service of social action and social change. The contributors are all engaged in developing new approaches to the wicked problems found in the world today, including the climate emergency, the circular economy, food poverty and insecurity, homelessness, disadvantage, active citizenship, social entrepreneurialism, and the learning of young women abducted by Boko Haram. They reflect a great diversity of settings in South Africa, Australia, Canada, Nigeria, Mozambique, Hungary, Poland and the UK.
At this time of global crisis rapid technological and social developments sit side by side with apparently impossible challenges needing urgent action. In the Global South, conflicts, terrorism and climatic changes have forced millions of people to abandon their homes and to migrate in search of food and safety. In the Global North, neo-liberal and market-based policies have pursued deregulation, privatisation and the shrinking of the state with consequent increases in homelessness, poverty and ill-health.
Action learning was devised to help people work together in challenging situations to bring about changes from the bottom–up. The people in these stories and cases are not passively awaiting brighter futures but are acting together to create a better world for themselves. They are taking back control in local community regeneration schemes, local energy and housing projects, setting up co-working spaces and inventing new ways of doing business and learning new ways to inhabit the earth. They demonstrate a confidence in an action learning idea that is alive and evolving. The chapters in this book were first published in the journal Action Learning: Research and Practice.
Table of Contents
1. On social action
2. Practising change together - Where nothing is clear, and everything keeps changing
3. Participatory action research as political education
Éva Tessza Udvarhelyi
4. The transformative potential of action learning in community-based research for social action
Ortrun Zuber-Skerritt and Lesley Wood
5. Action learning & Action research to alleviate poverty
George Boak, Jeff Gold and Dave Devins
6. Carbon management and community-based action learning: a theory to work experience
Annie Booth, Kyle Aben, Todd Corrigall, and Barbara Otter
7. Using participatory action learning to empower the active citizenship of young people
8. Social action learning: applicability to comrades in adversity in Nigeria
Adrian Ogun, and Jeff Gold
9. Action learning in the service of food security and poverty alleviation in Mozambique
Armando Machevo Ussivane and Paul Ellwood
10. Developing the circular economy in Tasmania
11. Exploring the challenges of system leadership in the voluntary and community sector
12. Using action learning to tackle food insecurity in Scotland
Chelsea Marshall and Ruth Cook
13. Developing empowered and connected leaders in the social sector: the Rank Foundation's engagement with Action Learning
Sam Anderson, Caroline Broadhurst, Siobhan Edwards and Michelle Smith
14. DIAL: the rise of cafe-based, drop-in action learning
Paul Levy and David Knowles
Mike Pedler is Emeritus Professor, Henley Business School, University of Reading and founding editor of the journal Action Learning: Research and Practice. He has been working with action learning since 1976, when he first met Reg Revans.
Sonja Antell is Director of Action Learning Associates. She has been designing and delivering action learning interventions and facilitator training since 1998.