ARVAC Annual Lecture: ‘Organising for a Change’
Keynote Speaker: Neil Jameson, Executive Director of Citizens UK
This year’s ARVAC Annual Lecture is taking place shortly after the 2015 General Election. The last five years have been ones of change and instability for the VCS and we want to use this opportunity to look ahead. In the 2010 General Election the three party leaders ended their campaigns by speaking at an event organised by London Citizens. We think it is highly appropriate to start the post 2015 election with a discussion informed by the thoughts and ideas of Neil Jameson.
The changes across the sector will continue – we will see cuts in funding to small and important neighbourhood based organisations and the leadership role of the large national charities and agencies is contested. We hope that this year’s lecture will add to the discussions, conversations and informed deliberations about the next five years. We look forward to seeing you in London in May.
ARVAC (The Association for Research in the Voluntary and Community Sector) was established in 1978. It is a membership organisation and acts as a resource for people interested in research in or on community organisations. We believe that voluntary and community organisations play a vital role in creating and sustaining healthy communities, and that research plays an essential role in increasing the effectiveness of those organisations involved in voluntary and community action. We produce a quarterly bulletin and maintain a database of community research. We run seminars and conferences and produce occasional publications.
The 2015 ARVAC annual lecture is supported by I4P, Edge Hill University.
2.30pm – Registration and Networking
3.00pm – Annual Lecture
3.45pm – Q&A Discussion
4.20pm – What Next
4.30pm – Close
Neil Jameson has been Executive Director of Citizens UK for the last 24 years and Lead Organiser with London Citizens for the last 18 years. As such, he and his colleague Organisers are now driving the UK’s largest and most diverse Community Organising training institute, professional Guild of Organisers and a growing network of broad-based Citizens alliances in London, Nottingham, Milton Keynes, Birmingham and Cardiff.
He is first and foremost a Community Organiser – seeking out talented leaders and young Organisers who have the courage and commitment to work with others democratically to strengthen civil society and pursue the common good.
Citizens UK’s members initiated and still steer the UK’s Living Wage campaign which is now delivering £210m in higher wages to 45,000 low waged workers and their families. Neil has been named by The Guardian as one of the UK’s most significant public servants. In 2012 his work for civil society and east London was recognised when he was made an Honorary Fellow of Queen Mary University of London.
He has travelled extensively and worked in the USA and Sudan on civil society projects. Prior to Citizens UK he had worked for 20 years in the public and voluntary sector in the UK – with Somerset and Coventry local authorities and Save the Children and The Children’s Society.
He seeks a legacy of a much stronger, more powerful and better organised civil society sector in the UK, and knows that this will not just happen! It needs sophisticated and creative Citizens Organisers and leaders who see their primary role as institution builders and are committed to the development and political growth of the people they serve as their vocation. It also requires enlightened funders and friends who are prepared to invest in civil society as the first sector and its institutions as the pillars of any democratic society where people learn the art of politics and the necessity of working with and respecting difference.