Making a difference

I remember a leadership development programme I participated in. We’d been talking about difference, about leading teams made up of people of different temperament, approach, background, heritage, culture. ‘What’s the difference’, asked the facilitator, ‘that makes a difference?’. In one sense, it’s just a clever phrase but Chris Seeley, who lead this discussion, was superb.…

Pernicious and undermining: essay mills

I was scammed a couple of weeks ago.  It began plausibly enough: an apparent LinkedIn message from a senior politician who I know a little.  It was soon clear, from the content of the torrent of messages that followed, that he’d been hacked and his connections were being targeted.  I clicked out of the conversation…

The Heart of the Region

Look very carefully and you might spot some new arrivals on campus this week.  New, and appropriately heart-shaped lapel badges will appear as a visual symbol of our Heart of the Region campaign, celebrating the importance of Sheffield Hallam University to Sheffield and South Yorkshire. We are, as a university, at the heart of this…

Politics and the nation

There’s an old, and no doubt apocryphal, story about a newly-elected MP, who arrives in the House of Commons.  The newcomer sits beside an old hand and, looking at the benches opposite, says ‘I can’t wait to take the argument to the enemy’.  The long-serving MP looks appalled, and replies ‘That’s not the enemy.  That’s…

New beginnings 2018

It’s that time of year again.  Not necessarily Keats’s ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’: there’s the first hint of a chill in the morning; the evenings are beginning to draw in.  But it’s the start of a new academic year.  I love it.  I love the preparation and the busyness, the sense of potential,…

Here we go again

We went to the cinema twice over the summer. The first time, my wife and a couple of my daughters took me to see Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, the new film featuring the music of Abba. If you’ve seen it, I can reassure you that we won’t be re-designing our graduation ceremonies. If…

July

It’s that time of year. July – the middle of the calendar year – appears to mark the definitive end of each academic year.  The campus quietens; residences empty; you can book a room for a meeting or get a table in a campus café; one set of students’ union sabbatical officers gives way to…

A beautiful game?

Clausewitz famously maintained that war was the continuation of politics by other means. If the soccer World Cup had been around in the early nineteenth century, he would have worked football somewhere into his dictum. Almost every World Cup game is more than a sporting encounter: issues of national identity verging into national stereotypes, patriotic…

Seventy

We take it for granted. It’s been described as the closest thing we have, now, to a national religion. It’s probably become politically untouchable. We have all either depended on it or had a family member or close friend who has depended on it.  It remains a tribute to the genuinely visionary political leadership of…

Home and away

Driving home from an evening out on Saturday, the radio was on, and we caught the end of a programme on Radio 4’s Listening Project.  If you don’t know the Listening Project it does pretty much what it says on the tin:  it eavesdrops on conversations between people about something important in their lives, and…