Postponement of CAN 2020

We are sorry to announce that due to the Covid-19 virus, Birmingham City University and Jisc have decided to postpone the 2020 Change Agents’ Network (CAN).

The Covid-19 pandemic has meant that many universities and colleges are restricting travel for staff and students which could significantly impact on attendance and engagement. We are naturally disappointed, especially as the student-led team at BCU have put in so much effort to put together such an inspiring programme. However, health concerns come first.

If you have registered and paid for the event, the conference team will contact you separately about refunding the fee.

We plan to reschedule the event for later in the year and hope that you will be able to join us then. Meanwhile, thank you for your participation and enthusiasm so far. We will share future plans as soon as we are able.

CAN 2020: Meet the speakers

Posted on behalf of Shannon Parkher who is leading on event legacy for CAN 2020

In our previous guest blog post, we introduced the student team and gave a glimpse of what we are planning to showcase at this year’s conference. We would now like to introduce our remarkable keynote speakers whose achievements are actively advancing communities and inspiring change.

Louise TeboulLouise Teboul

Louise runs leadership development programmes for Common Purpose in the Midlands, and is part of the UK senior management team of the international leadership development organisation.

Delivering a range of cross-sector, experiential programmes, Louise is effectively the ‘relationship manager’ for Common Purpose, working with many hundreds of participants and contributors each year, from university students to senior leaders in the city and region. She has also hosted a prestigious Commonwealth Study Conference tour and a Foreign and Commonwealth Office visit to Birmingham, and led the team who designed and delivered a cross-sector collaborative leadership course for 100 participants in the city. Louise has worked on many customised pieces of work for Common Purpose, including programmes for The Met Office, Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Trust, JCB, PwC, the NHS, BCU and the University of Exeter.

Louise is passionate about diversity, ensuring Common Purpose programmes not only reflect different issues and communities but include them, as both participants and contributors. Ensuring participants have a safe space to question, challenge, listen and reflect is important to Louise, she says:

“Creating the right environment is crucial to ensure people can not only cross boundaries, whether that’s sector, generation, ethnicity or any other difference; but really learn from those insights and new perspectives.”

In 2019 she was shortlisted for the Diversity & Inclusion Leader category, in the West Midlands Leadership Awards and has previously won the Outstanding Professional award at the Birmingham Post Business Awards and the West Midlands Women’s Outstanding Leadership Award.

She joined Common Purpose after eight years in PR/communications consultancies. During that time, she worked with a range of clients in different sectors including financial services, retail, education, housing, healthcare, travel, IT and corporate. Her background also involves crisis communications, having spent time working in the oil industry and construction, before moving to consultancy.

“Cultural Intelligence (CQ) is the natural evolution from the well-established ideas of Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and Emotional Intelligence (EQ). Good leaders need all three if they are to lead effectively. Now, more than ever, we need future leaders who don’t just shy away from difference but gravitate towards it; who don’t see it as threatening; but as creative, exciting, inspiring and enriching. I believe students who develop their CQ and their understanding of civic society, will not only gain an edge that can help them be successful in university, but in whatever they go on to do after their studies. ”

Louise Teboul

Dr Martin Glynn

Dr Martin GlynnDr Martin Glynn is an internationally renowned criminologist, educator, theatre director, and dramatist with over 35 years’ experience of working in criminal justice, public health, and educational settings. Dr Glynn is currently a lecturer in Criminology and Black Studies at Birmingham City University. Dr Glynn has also made significant contributions in areas such as prison masculinities, race and crime, and contemporary rehabilitative work in criminal justice.

Dr Glynn has recently been appointed a visiting research fellow at SALISES (the University of the West Indies), alongside undertaking a research residency at National Justice Museum in Nottingham.  Early in 2020 Dr Glynn will feature in a new 5 part BBC 1 Crime documentary series that examines the current state of the UK criminal justice system, as well as acting as an advisor for a new four-part drama series on the 2011 English Riots.

Connect with Our Speakers

Eager to hear more from our Speakers? You can find them both on twitter at the links below.

Louise Teboul:

Martin Glynn :

Something Special…

The CAN 2020 team have planned a roundtable session which is designed to complement our key theme of Civic and Cultural Intelligence.  We want to put the spotlight on the issues that really matter and engage in conversations that run throughout our communities. We will be inviting students, staff and people from our communities to represent different voices on matters and want to create something that is invigorating, interactive and inclusive.

We will be providing more details about the topics and participants at a closer date, and would love to hear your thoughts on the roundtable, and what topics you would challenge representaatives with. Be sure to share your thoughts with us on social media and use #CAN2020 to submit your idea to us.

Will you have a winning idea? Only one way to find out!

Get involved

As always, we invite you to interact with us on social media and visit our website in the lead up to the conference. Follow the links below :

Meet the student team for CAN 2020

A guest blog from Shannon Parkher who is leading on event legacy for CAN 2020

At the heart of the Jisc change agents’ network conference is the collaboration of students and staff, honouring the creation of partnerships to enhance the learning experience and benefit our local communities.

In light of this, Birmingham City University has collaborated with seven of its events, venue and experience management students to form a dynamic events committee, imbued with a range of talents, specialities and ideas.

Charley Marshall: event manager

Photo of Charley Marshall, event manager for CAN 2020 student teamI am a conscientious and motivated person that is extremely driven to succeed. I have grown up in Birmingham and after studying at a sixth form, I then progressed to an undergraduate course in events management at Birmingham City University. I love the idea of always delivering new creativity and working with like-minded people in this global industry. With that being said, I cannot wait to take on the role of event manager.



Stacie Phillips: operations manager

Photo of Stacie Phillips, operations manager for CAN 2020 student teamBorn and raised in Telford. What I love about the events industry is the vast nature of creativity. Your goal, as an event manager, is to be innovative and constantly stretching to be the best – and why wouldn’t you want to be? Our team is made up of many different types of people, just like our event; bringing cultures together.



Jas Ellames: marketing manager

Photo of Jas Ellames, marketing manager for CAN 2020 student teamLiving in Hinckley doesn’t offer much experience so studying event management at Birmingham CIty University has allowed me to explore my creativity in depth, and develop within myself. In my spare time I do photography and enjoy travelling and exploring. Having the role of marketing manager has been a dream come true and is setting me up for the industry. Working with this talented team, I’m excited for what we’re going to achieve.



Hannah Taylor: design and production

Photo of Hannah Taylor, responsible for design and production for CAN 2020 student teamI am an ambitious and creative person who is looking forward to help design and produce the Jisc change agents’ network conference 2020. This is an exciting opportunity that allows us to excel in our field of study. I love to travel to different places, all around the world learning about their cultures. One day I aspire to produce a memorable and entertaining event that will entice all people.



Yana Krasteva: volunteer staff manager

Photo of Yana Krasteva: volunteer staff manager for CAN 2020 student teamRaised in Bulgaria, events have always been a passion of mine because of the joy they bring throughout the process of planning and creating. I have some previous experience in the events industry but to be a part of the change agents’ network conference events team is an achievement I am very proud of. I am extremely excited that this time I have the opportunity to manage the volunteering team! Absolutely looking forward to all the fun that is yet to come!



Adriana Cahongo: finance manager

Photo of Adriana Cahongo, finance manager for the CAN student team 2020Originally from Portugal, I moved to Birmingham to attend university. My ultimate goal is to run my own events company. I have fallen in love with events – I really like the happy faces on the customers and it’s a great way to meet new people. I have had the pleasure of meeting extraordinary people throughout the events I have planned and helped at.




Shannon Parkher: event legacy

Photo of Shannon Parkher, team member for event legacy for the CAN 2020 student teamDetermined and enthusiastic at heart, I strive to make this event one for the books! Working closely with my talented team, I hope we can create a legacy that will inspire and unite our attendees and bear the glowing Jisc change agents’ network torch with pride. I can’t wait to see what we can achieve, the stories we can influence and the impacts we can make.




CAN 2020 – an engaging space to encourage collaborative change, discussion and innovation

We hope to make this change agents’ network conference the biggest one yet! We will be showcasing what it means to be ‘Brummie’, and create an engaging space to encourage collaborative change, discussion and innovation. We hope that by sharing our culture and community we can encourage attendees to embrace their cultures and communities and inspire positive change.

We have welcomed this opportunity with the utmost enthusiasm and are very excited to unveil the product of our hard work with you in a few months’ time!

Get involved

Until then, we will continue to tease elements and ideas through our online platforms and invite you all to follow and interact with us on our social media and website:




Call for papers – closing date 2 February 2020

… and don’t forget to submit your conference proposals by 2nd February 2020. Full details of how to do this are available at 

CAN 2020 – Civic and cultural intelligence: partnerships for student success

Jisc, Birmingham City University and its student organising team, are pleased to announce the call for papers for the 8th Jisc Change agents’ network conference: CAN 2020.

This welcoming conference will run across 15th and 16th April 2020 and brings staff and students together from across the world to explore the benefits of student partnerships.
The conference will discuss how students, universities and communities can create opportunities for social innovation and cohesion that enhance not only student learning, but also the ways in which universities embrace their local communities. This provides universities and colleges with an opportunity to change the paradigm. Moving from the goal of making students ‘ready for college’ to one where the institutions and courses reinvent themselves to be ‘ready for their students’ and their communities.

Within the main theme students, staff and community representatives are invited to submit proposals that address the following sub-themes:

• Learning beyond the classroom
• Enabling underserved student success
• Sustainability through partnerships
• Citizenship and engagement
• Wellbeing

We would particularly welcome proposals that demonstrate how technology can be used to support the activities you propose.

The closing date for conference proposals is 2nd February 2020.

Full details can be found at and registration for the conference will open in February 2020.

So, please save the conference date in your diaries, submit a proposal and tell your colleagues about the conference.

Jisc, BCU and our student organisers look forward to seeing you in Birmingham in April 2020.

Save the date for CAN 2020

We are delighted to announce that Birmingham City University will be hosting the 8th annual Change agents’ network conference on the 15-16th April 2020.

We will be working with Luke Millard, Director of the Education Development Service at BCU and a long standing advocate for CAN and student partnerships on this event. More information will follow including the call for papers.

We look forward to another exciting event where we can celebrate the impact of student-staff partnerships!

Call for papers for Journal of Educational Innovation, Partnership and Change

The Evolving Landscape of Staff-Student Partnership – Vol 6. No.1

The Journal of Educational Innovation, Partnership and Change (JEIPC) is practice-led with deep roots in developing student-staff co-authorship. It supports the dissemination of innovative practice through educational partnership between staff and students to promote local- and larger-scale change, and impact on institutional narratives for change.

Why make a submission to JEIPC?
The topics in the journal focus on innovating pedagogy and the student experience, ranging from teaching and learning, inclusivity, assessment and feedback, the digital, sustainability, and retention. This open-access, peer-reviewed journal publishes articles, case studies, opinion pieces and reviews, within the context of students and staff as change agents. Its aim is to:

– Promote specific projects
– share experiences of innovative and effective teaching or student experience
– support, disseminate related knowledge and good practice,
– raise awareness of a particular methodology
– support students’ (co-) authorship

For Volume 6, no 1, we are looking to attract a range of submissions that develop ideas on the evolving landscape of staff-student partnership. We especially welcome co-authored submissions between staff and students. It is the intention of this issue of the journal to accept a wide range of papers and support contributions from the annual Change Agents’ Network Conference held at The Open University in May 2019.

How to submit
Stage 1. We invite you to submit Stage 1 by providing a brief outline of your idea (500 words max), giving details of the work, methodology, results (unless an opinion piece or review) and literature base. The closing date for proposals is 11 October 2019. Proposals should be sent by email to

Stage 2. Following feedback from Stage 1, you will be invited to submit your article to the journal using the journal submission process. You will need to create an account; full details of how to do this are given on the submissions page. If you have any questions about your submission or experience difficulties submitting, please email in the first instance.

To find out more information on submission to this edition see

CAN conference 2019: Reflections from a student speaker

A guest posting from Elliott Lancaster

  • Education Officer/Trustee – Keele University Student’s Union
  • Trustee/Director – Staffordshire Wildlife Trust
  • Managing Director – Utter Rubbish Ltd
  • Accounting and Finance (First Class Hons)


Presenting at the Open University was a fantastic experience. It was truly insightful to gain an understanding of the approaches used by other institutions. It was fantastic to see the breadth of student involvement in all forms of education collaboration and programme co-design. I was truly blown away by the range of activities taking place, which even included a hackathon focusing on the health and wellbeing agenda. One of the key highlights for me was watching Ruby Granger, the opening keynote for day one. It was truly inspiring to understand her student journey at the University of Exeter, where she spends a significant amount of time supporting other students with her inspirational study tips and ‘study-with-me’ sessions on YouTube.

I thoroughly enjoyed the event and would strongly encourage other students to take part in the future. Personally, I gathered a considerable amount of substantive feedback as part of the discussion on my presentation about Keele’s Elective Pathways. I am really looking forward to attending the next CAN conference at Birmingham City University in 2020. I know that this will be a great event with a series of thought-provoking debates and discussions.

Keele University has a steep history in embedding student opportunities throughout all that we do. This year we are celebrating our 70th anniversary and I believe that our Students as Partners initiative shows that this commitment is stronger than ever.

Therefore, it is my pleasure to announce that Keele will be hosting the 2021 Change Agents’ Network Conference in partnership with Jisc. Organising this conference will be extremely rewarding, ensuring that students are a fundamental part of the decision-making process. I can’t wait to tell you more about this soon…

Message from Sarah Knight, Head of change: Student experience, Jisc

“Jisc is delighted to be working with Keele University on hosting and organising the Change agents’ network (CAN) 9th annual conference in 2021. The CAN network is now self sustaining and shows the continued commitment to student partnerships across further and higher education. Student partners are driving forward curriculum change within their institution and having a real impact on students’ experiences.  We look forward to working with Keele University in planning the 2021 CAN conference.”

An inspirational two days at CAN 2019 (29-30 May)

Hosted by the Open University in their 50th anniversary year and with the theme of the evolving landscapes of student-staff partnerships – CAN 2019 had much to celebrate:

  • It was the 7th annual event – building on the initial project and network conferences hosted by Jisc, the universities of Lincoln, Exeter and Winchester
  • 250 delegates – both days were sold out!
  • A high percentage of student presenters – a ratio of approximately 60:40 staff and students gave the event energy and purpose and really exemplified the value of working together

We were welcomed and supported throughout the two days by the OU student association’s team of enthusiastic conference makers.

“CAN – a network of people, who aren’t just working together but who are constantly sharing their practice and being really practical about that. What I really love about the CAN community is that you are not afraid to talk about what goes wrong – because we know lots of stuff goes wrong. But we also have things going right all the time and it is a good idea to share that as much as possible.”

Liz Ellis, conference organiser for CAN 2019, The Open University

Inspiring keynotes

  • ‘StudyTuber’ Ruby Granger gave us a thoughtful opening presentation. Her honesty in sharing her concerns about going to university and her commitment to sharing study tips and in offering social support and reassurance is impressive. Watch a recording of Ruby’s presentation at CAN 2019 (opens in new window).
  • Julian Stodd’s (opens in new window) closing keynote on Adapting for the social age: the evolution of education and the challenges of change provided great food for thought at the end of day 1 and challenged us to think about the eco systems of organisations, trust, why change is so hard and how engagement is more social than contractual.

“Technology in and of itself is great, but it is what technology enables which is of much more interest. Where does technology take us? I think it takes us into evolved modes of being, evolved ways of being in the world. It lets us be together in different ways.”

Julian Stodd, Sea Salt Learning
  • Scott Hayden from Basingstoke College of Technology talked about co-designing and innovating with students. He shared the digital journey that he has led at the college and outlined the many ways that students contribute, giving numerous practical examples of digital pedagogy that empower and engage students and help them to learn. Collaboration and sharing are key tenants of Scott’s practice – watch the recording (opens in new window) of his presentation.

“Whether you are a child care teacher, whether you are teaching engineering or travel and tourism, it is my job to help you to use digital technology in a meaningful and relevant way. It has to be relevant, it has to be tied to students’ future careers and the skills set they are going to have to have to be employable in the future.”

Scott Hayden, Basingstoke College of Technology
  • The traditional student panel session preceded the closing keynote from Liz Marr, pro vice chancellor for students at the OU. Her reflections on ‘Just trying to keep the customer satisfied: student experience and student voice in a marketised higher education environment’ challenged us to question some of the terms we use, rethink perceptions and really think about what we mean and what is important. The recording of the student panel and Liz’s presentation are available here (opens in new window).

Workshops, presentations and posters

There was a wealth and great variety in the workshops, presentations and posters available to participants – something for everyone as you can see from the themes highlighted in the graphic recorder’s impression of conference activity.

The graphic recorder captured the themes that were explored throughout the two days.

All presentations are available to download from GoogleDrive (opens in new window).


Jisc’s summer hackathon took place at the conference this year. Seven teams participated in the hackathon developing ideas around supporting health and well being, using AI for learning and implementing the intelligent campus. Congratulations to the winning teams from UCL and the University of Hull – find out more from the edtech launchpad blog (opens in new window).

Jisc are already planning the next hackathion event, so keep an eye on the Get Involved page  for future events. and you still have until 31 July to enter ideas to the edtech challenge competitions.

Journal of education, innovation, partnership and change

Volume 5, of the journal of education, innovation, partnership and change entitled ‘Championing student-staff partnership in a time of change’ was launched at the conference dinner – the online version will be available soon. Presenters from this year are invited to contribute to the next edition.

Join us for CAN 2020

We hope to see you for CAN 2020 which will be hosted by Birmingham City University. Join the mailing list (opens in new window) to receive announcements and updates.

See you next week!

alt=""The Open University will be hosting the Change Agents’ Network (CAN) Conference on Wednesday and Thursday, 29-30 May at its Walton Hall Campus in Milton Keynes.

The 2-day conference has sold out for its first day and 200 delegates will be arriving at Walton Hall campus to enjoy a full programme of keynote speakers, parallel sessions and more.

The university is delighted to be hosting the conference in its 50th anniversary year at the Berrill Theatre, Betty Boothroyd Library and the Hub Theatre. Those registered can view the programme and travel details on the website:


The keynote sessions and Student Panel will all be livestreamed via Stadium:

While tickets are required for the main conference, we are pleased to be hosting posters and demonstrations in the Library Atrium and we would like to invite you to come along and visit the exhibition space to see the work from colleagues across the FE and HE sector.

Guided tours will happen at 1:30pm on Wednesday 29 May and at 11:45am Thursday 30 May.

There will also be a Hackathon Showcase at 1:30pm on Thursday, where students taking part in the Jisc Summer Hackathon, part of the edtech launchpad programme will be making their pitches to win prizes.

For more information, visit the conference website:
If you have any questions, please do contact us:


Be part of the CAN Conference student panel!

Photo of Liz EllisA guest blog post from Elizabeth Ellis, senior product development manager at The Open University, hosts of the 2019 CAN conference


Are you already registered for the 2019 CAN Conference, or thinking of registering?

One of the most interesting parts of the conference programme is the Student Panel, which will be on Thursday 30th May, from 2:45pm to 3:30pm. The Student Panel discussion is a highlight at the CAN conference, giving delegates a chance to listen to students from a variety of institutions answer a variety of questions and offer their experiences. There are still a few spaces on the panel available for students who may want to take part.

This year the panel has been organised by Fanni Zombor, Vice President Media and Campaigns at the Open University Students Association, and a member of the OU’s CAN organising team. She will also be facilitating the panel. The discussion will focus on how the relationship between students and staff is changing.

‘We would like to have conversations with students to find out from them about their ideal relationship, what has and hasn’t worked for them and how they see the future of student staff relationships,’ says Fanni.

She asks: ‘If you are a student, or know a student attending the conference who you think might be interested, please encourage them to volunteer to take part in the panel. We welcome all students, and we are especially keen to hear from students who study with alternative providers and students from underrepresented groups (BAME, those with disabilities, LGBT+).’

Students should reply to to express their interest by 10 May 2019. They should include a short introduction, and a few reasons why they believe they would be ideal to include in the discussion. We will confirm with panellists by 15 May.

Buy your tickets for CAN 2019 now, 29-30 May, hosted by The Open University at our campus in Milton Keynes.  Just follow the link to Eventbrite (opens in new window).

For the full programme and information on accommodation and travel visit (opens in new window).