BBC Learning English Teams Up with The Open University

London (UK), January 2022 - The award-winning team of BBC Learning English has collaborated with renowned academics from the UK's largest academic institution, The Open University, to explore the underlying nature of leadership. The resulting new twenty-part series explores the power of cults, the genius of visionaries, the unexpected power of individuals, the strength of community-led leadership, and whether leadership is best done by women.

The world has seen dramatic developments over the last few years, from the evolving climate crisis through to the covid pandemic. In all of this, leadership and the matter of different types of leadership have taken on special importance.  What are the key features of leaders? Are all leaders the same? Are some leadership qualities more successful than others? And why do some people become leaders without seemingly trying?  The new BBC series seeks answers to these questions, provides insight into the thinking of modern leaders, and also helps the audience decide whether they have what it takes to be a leader.

BBC Learning English Editor, Paul Scott, says, "Once again we teamed up with The Open University to deliver content from which learners of English can benefit in so many more ways than just honing their language skills.  We want our audience to learn while being informed and inspired, and our new series about leadership fits this bill perfectly, engaging the audience in this quest."

The Leadership series is funded by The Open University, whose three academics took part in the series development.  Dr Caroline Ogilvie, Head of Broadcast and Partnerships at The Open University, adds, "We are delighted to once again be partnering with BBC Learning English and to have had the opportunity to work on exploring leadership."

The Leadership series runs through two parallel strands. The first examines leadership from the perspective of some globally recognisable figures such as Marcus Rashford, Greta Thunberg, Steve Jobs, Donald Trump, and Malala Yousafzai. The programmes also feature interviews with leaders who are delivering change within specific fields, from improving women's rights in the workplace to creating a global youth network to ensure climate-change facts are available in multiple languages, or creating a business that provides employment and training opportunities to troubled young people.

The second strand allows the featured leaders a space to provide their key tips on how to be a leader. Both strands end by looking to the future of leadership and artificial intelligence. Robot leadership is explored through an interview with … a robot.

The Leadership series, now live on the BBC Learning English platforms, has launched with the episode asking if women are better leaders than men - an engaging piece of content intended to challenge the concept of male-only leadership.