Creating a Naked University

Nicola Whitton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter examines how the concept of playful leadership has been brought to bear in a difficult situation – leading the development of staff across an institution through the Covid-19 pandemic. It uses as a lens the concept of the Naked University, which possesses three key traits – transparency, vulnerability and essentiality – and explores this through the experiences of an academic development lead at a research-intensive university in the UK. The chapter discusses how failure is often seen as a negative, and proposes that the learning one can have from failure often leads to much greater success. So as a leader, it is critical to offer your team members permission to fail and to support them as they produce creative solutions – critical in a time of crisis, but essential as an approach to leadership at all times. The chapter concludes by offering experience (and research) informed reflections on how to bring aspects of fun and playfulness into your own leadership.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLeading Innovation and Creativity in University Teaching
Subtitle of host publicationImplementing Change at the Programme Level
EditorsSam Nolan, Steve Hutchinson
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781003190745
ISBN (Print)9781032041483, 9781032026367
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

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