Assistant Professor Vidya Shah and her team from York University’s Faculty of Education – course directors Jocelyn Shih and Sayema Chowdhury, and York master’s of education student Amanda Lima – launch the second season of The UnLeading Project, a call to reclaim and redefine leadership, on Aug. 22.
The UnLeading Project makes two assumptions: Leadership exists in all spaces, and we are all leaders. “UnLeading” requires a commitment to holding multiple truths, troubling common-sense assumptions, living the inquiries and sitting in the ambiguities of complex ideas such as leadership, schooling and society. It focuses on engaging in the praxis of leadership, a continual interplay of action towards systemic change and deep, inner reflection.
UnLeading looks for leadership in unfamiliar places and challenges the notion of the individual leader. This podcast series highlights voices of leaders in classrooms, communities, homes, schools, school districts, and beyond. It focuses on naming the logics of discourses and intersecting systems of oppression that have been used to oppress, dispossess, and dehumanize and centering approaches to leadership based in knowledge systems that have been silenced under dominant conceptions of leadership.
“People have asked, ‘Well you’ve recorded all these podcasts on UnLeading, so what is leading? What is leadership?’ After listening to these 10 podcasts, I am even less clear on that answer. Maybe that’s the point. We spend so much of our time knowing the answer, progressing forward, perfecting our image, and perfecting the message but when we look around at the state of education, we must ask ourselves what these attachments to knowing, perfection, control, progress and innocence have done to us. This is the undoing, unlearning and UnLeading we need to engage in,” says Shah.
The UnLeading website contains the guiding questions that have helped the team to frame what it is they are attempting to do with this project. The Systems of Oppression tab identifies some of the logics that uphold and maintain these intersecting systems so that leaders might identify these orientations and attachments in their knowledge, practice and embodiment of leadership. The website also contains teasers for season two episodes.
Podcast guests come from community, classrooms, schools, school districts and the academy, providing a range of perspectives and approaches to leadership. The five podcast topics in this new season include:
- leading through in/visibility;
- leading for climate justice;
- leading toward disability justice;
- leading through solidarities; and
- inner landscapes of leadership.
Season one of The UnLeading Project was released in August 2021 and is available online. For more information about the project and the podcast, visit the UnLeading website at yorku.ca/edu/unleading. Check out the season two teaser here: https://youtu.be/Ihu_-PTNNt0.