We are delighted to announce that Professor Margaret Ledwith will be another of our keynote speakers. As Emeritus Professor of Community Development and Social Justice at the University of Cumbria and one of the coordinators for the international Collaborative Action Research Network, an approach to research that shares the principles and values of community development, Professor Ledwith brings a perspective that speaks to her practice and research experience.
For many years, Professor Ledwith was a grassroots community worker in a variety of contexts in Scotland and North-West England, and it was this experience of working with communities marginalised by structural discrimination that forged the foundation of a lifetime commitment to social justice. The years working with people in their communities form the basis for her ideas on radical community development, profoundly influenced by the work of Paulo Freire, developed in ideas and action for current practice. Her work has been published in book form as: Participating in Transformation: Towards a working model of community empowerment (1997), Community Development: A critical approach (2005) (also published in India), and, with Jane Springett, Participatory Practice: Community-based action for transformative change (2010). Policy Press awarded her their ‘Bestselling title of all time’ and a ‘Lifetime achievement’ for Community Development: A critical approach, and a second edition was published in 2011. A third edition will be published in 2019, situating community development theory and practice in these neoliberal times which have given rise to escalating world crises of social and environmental justice. Professor Ledwith’s latest book, published in 2016, is Community Development in Action: Putting Freire into practice, endorsed by Nita Freire.