The Leading Change Research Network (LCRN) facilitates relationships between academics and organizers who want to engage in practically relevant research. Its purpose is to expand the community of scholars and social change practitioners so that the people developing new knowledge about organizing can easily find research advice, instruments, data, ideas, questions, theories, projects, and collaborators.
To this end, the LCRN has three goals:
- To serve as a space that connects scholars and practitioners with a mutual interest in conducting critical research;
- To compile data and share instruments of inquiry; and
- To publish scholarship that is seen as academically legitimate and of real use to democratic organizing.
The LCRN is a project of the Leading Change Network, which was borne of the growing, global interest in organizing. Over the past five years, Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns used electoral-organizing techniques, the New Organizing Institute launched, and immigration reform, health, and climate change movements gained traction by building power with communities. To address these trends, members of the Leading Change Network brought organizing coursework to several universities including Harvard, Wellesley, UMass, Holy Cross, Providence College, and others, while the Network’s online distance learning classes graduated 357 students in 25 countries,.
At the same time, a group of fifteen scholars who study organizing recognized the yawning gap between what was happening at the grassroots and what (and how) these actions were studied in the academy. Through their own research, they further noted that both academics and organizers stand to gain by taking a critical look at collective action and experimenting with ways forward.
In 2013, we launched this platform to centralize content that addresses this practice vacuum and to maximize engagement among the scholarly community and practitioners who share these interests and concerns.
In this way, LCRN aims to move from research that is not transactional, structure-centric, or atomized, but rather critical, actor-centric, and shared.