Staff Profile

Father Tim

Senior Lecturer - Changemaker Foundation Framework

Faculty of Health, Education and Society

  • Tim Curtis is an internationally renowned author on social innovation and entrepreneurship, helps people and organisations make decisions in complex and confusing situations. He is also adept at getting decisions made when he is not in charge. He has worked in environmental decision-making, in policy and law. Now, working at the University of Northampton, his focus is on the nitty-gritty theory and practice of community organising and social innovation. He mostly teaches BA Social and Community Development students how to make decisions in and with communities, but also coaches and undertakes paid and pro-bono consulting work for third-sector organisations. Tim is also Changemaker Campus leader at the University of Northampton, leading on a high profile co-curriculum challenge, a summer school and international conference on social innovation. He is also managing an action research project on community-based social innovation with Northamptonshire Police.

    He is also an Orthodox Christian parish priest at Saint Anne’s Orthodox parish, Northampton and actively involved in civic society and third sector organisations.

    • Senior Lecturer. Community Development, The University of Northampton School of Health, Social Work Department
    • AshokaU ChangemakerCampus leader
    • Associate, Institute for Public Safety, Crime and Justice, The University of Northampton
    • Member of Senate, University of Northampton May 2015 to date
    • Holder of the 2014 University Court Award for outstanding contribution to the University
    • Founding Director and Assistant Professor Department of Lived Theology, Social Work, and Community Development, St Gregory Institute, Universidad Rural de Guatemala.
    • Unltd/HEFCE Ambassador for Social Entrepreneurship in Higher Education
    • Unltd/HEFCE Outstanding HEI Supporting Social Entrepreneurship Awardee
    • HEI Public Engagement Ambassador
    • Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts
    • External Examiner, The University of Ulster 2012- present AdvDip Social Enterprise and 2013 -to present AdvDip Civic Leadership and Community Planning
    • Executive member, The UK Deanery of the Exarchate Archdiocese of Western Europe
    • Member, Constitutional Reform committee, The UK Deanery of the Exarchate Archdiocese of Western Europe
    • Member, Pastoral Committee of the Assembly of Orthodox Christian Bishops in the UK
    • Trustee, St Sunniva’s Trust and St Anne’s, York
  • Currently teaching

    SWK1048 Developing Enterprising Communities.
    A unique blend of community organising, incorporating the traditions of Paolo Freire, Saul Alinsky and Margaret Ledwith, leading to an investigation, by the students, of social problems faced by students on campus with a view to analysing the social problem and developing potential solutions and ventures to them. This was the prototype for the Changemaker Certificate and was designed with graduate students who had been on the Balloon Kenya experience

    SWK1046 Spirituality, belief and faith in communities
    This module explores the intersection between faith communities, religion, personal spirituality and care. It explore the worlds of theistic and non-theistic belief systems, how they impact on the world, and how they can be thought of with the acronym, HOPE: what gives Hope, what Organised aspects there are to that belief system, what Personal influences that creates and what Effect that has in the world and your community. In 2014, this featured a unique collaboration with AshokaU Changemaker award winner Dr Kartini Leet, a photographer, and the exploration of the topics of belief,religion, and community through the lense of the image.

    SWK1014 Understanding Human Behaviours: Sociology for Social Workers
    This unique and exciting module is an introduction for social workers to the toolkit of sociology, to help them analyse a given social work case and see how the hidden structures of society create the conditions for the behaviours of the people involved. It is based around the radio play Mogadishu, which provides a school based social work context. The students explore the different sociology topics through the actions and thoughts of the characters in the play, armed with a theory that all sociology is the study of the ways in which powerful people control other peoples lives, and this power and control is resisted and subverted. The control is exercised, as Foucault might say, obviously through spectacle, and subtly, through governmentality.

    SWK3026 Collaborating for Social Change
    The previous module SWK3017 was retired in 2015, and this module picks up the best of that original module, and focusses the students on using techniques derived from Motivational Interviewing, Solutions Focussed Therapy and Soft Systems Methodology to understand how working with social welfare clients is a wickedly complex problem, and high levels of empathy are required to understand how the client might be motivated to make changes to their own circumstances through boosting their intrinsic motivation.

    FDN005 Working with ideas in Science and Health
    This is a foundation year module for students wanting to go and study degrees in the cognate areas of science and health, so it’s a multidisciplinary group of students, using the concepts of creativity, ideas generation and social innovation to explore an area of common concern- like student food poverty- to develop potential solutions.

    Previous teaching

    SWK1051 Changemakers. This is a 20 credit first year version of the globally respected Changemaker Certificate. The subject is problem-analysis and problem solving, using a bespoke blend of problem analysis, decision theory and design thinking to develop a student from knowing nothing about the social and environmental problems in the world about them to the point of developing a potential innovative solution. The outcome is to create a Social Venture Canvas using a modified form of Osterwalders business canvas. This module was adopted by the academic teams that I was teaching for, and they have used the resources to create their own version.

    SWK3017 – Social Change and Communities
    This is known as the mega-module, a 40 credit exploration of the challenges of motivating change in welfare client behaviours at a personal level, with students roleplaying the identity work of their clients, and then bring together all of these clients in a community group in a case-study deprived neighbourhood in the east Midlands. The students are then challenged to take what they have learnt about their clients, mix it with statistical date, observation work, historical research and (using soft systems analysis and rich picturing) to propose major regeneration scale solutions to create sustainable communities.

    SWK2003 Community Involvement
    This module examines the concept of community involvement and the process of community development from a number of perspectives. It examines the recent policy context and theoretical perspectives of community involvement, how to find out about communities and be a critically aware practitioner, the necessity of working in partnerships (and the how to) plus an in-depth look at the whole question of participation.

    MKT1019 Introducing Social Enterprise
    This module introduces the student to the field of social entrepreneurship and enterprise. The module will investigate the motivations and activities of social entrepreneurs in the start-up phase of a new business. The module also aims to develop the understanding of social enterprise necessary for an existing or future manager, adviser or consultant to a third sector organisation, including an emerging or established social enterprise. It provides a basic module for Associate Students in Social Enterprise, and is compliant with the Institute of Leadership and Management award in Understanding Social Enterprise (E5.01).

    MKT1003 – Introduction To Enterprise And Entrepreneurship
    The Small and Medium Enterprise sector accounts for the vast majority of the businesses in the UK. This module provides level 1 undergraduate business students with a basic knowledge of the defining features of SMEs and their operating environment, together with an appreciation of the particular management skills used in SME operations. The module provides a basic knowledge of the characteristics and role of entrepreneurs within the SME sector. It constitutes a foundation for the BA Business Enterprise, and further SME and Entrepreneurial studies.

    MKT3026 – Opportunity, Innovation And Entrepreneurship
    The pursuit of opportunity is fundamental to the formation, growth and survival of any business enterprise. Innovative responses to opportunities lead to new products, services and business ventures. In an increasingly crowded business environment, entrepreneurs and managers must develop innovative ways of creating and exploiting new opportunities if they are to gain competitive advantage in tomorrow’s markets. This module evaluates current “best management practice” relating to business creation and product development strategies, and explores the likely areas of wealth creation for tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.

    IBO3004 – Social Responsibility Of Business
    This module considers a broad spectrum of issues relating to the social responsibility of business which do not form part of the mainstream of business education but which are increasingly being seen as important aspects of corporate behaviour with consequential impact on firm performance and with considerable and growing public and media interest.

  • This is a selection of over 500 research and consulting projects on which Tim has worked in 19 years. (Approximate project value in brackets)

    • January 2015 to present Thames Valley Police LISP Pilot of Locally identified Solutions and Practices (LISP) approach to Intensive Community Engagement in Milton Keynes (£10k)
    • Nov 2012 to present Northamptonshire Police ASPIRE project Intensive Engagement & Social Innovation Action research project with Northants Police to improve their community policing and problem-solving in the context of increased budgetary pressures. Advising on developing community involvement strategies and reviewing strategic use of data and intelligence. Development of a tool-kit for community decision-making with Police and Community Support Officers. Assisting Northants Police to revolutionise its community engagement capabilities, developing PCSOs as community organisers and reworking the Police’s intelligence and data management processes. (~£15k+)
    • July 2012 to present AshokaU Changemaker Campus Change leadership for the University of Northampton. Advising and supporting staff, leaders and students in developing curricula, assessments and rubrics for social innovation in the fields of Leather Technolgy, Arts and Shoe design, Sports, Occupational Therapy, Teaching, Events Management, Business Entrepreneurship, Leisure and Tourism, Psychology and Environmental Management. Influenced the development of the 2015 University Strategy: Transforming Lives and Inspiring Change.
    • May 2009- to date Unltd/HEFCE Ambassador for Social Entrepreneurship in Higher Education.
      Establishing a student-directed social enterprise activity, providing free support and advice to students in establishing social enterprises, advocating on behalf of students in the University, representing the University at a national level. (Personal bursary of £15k)
    • May 2008-May 2009 British Council Prime Ministers Initiative II Social Enterprise in China. Exchange and research contract with BC and Capital University of Economics and Business, Beijing, China, involving field visits, two conferences and a student exchange (£25k)
    • 2009-2011 University of Northampton Degree programme development
      Responsible for designing, validating and delivering a BA in Social Enterprise Development and an MA in Social Enterprise Management in Northampton Business School. Transferred to School of Health to re-develop the BA in Social & Community Development including designing and delivering a suite of new modules. Growth of degree programme from 20 students to 85 in three years
    • Jan 2008 Academy for Sustainable Communities. Series of two day workshops on social and environmental sustainability in settlement design and community development for Academy of Sustainable Communities. (£15k)
    • Jan 2008 Scottish Social Enterprise Academy. Series of two day workshops on public procurement and social enterprise contracting. Course developed within EQUAL Best Procurement programme. (£15k)
    • June 2005- Dec 2007 Cultural Shift South East: Manager of an EQUAL funded research programme with the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, Said Business School, Oxford University and South East England Development Agency investigating the implications of cultural influences when spinning social enterprises out of the public sector. Involved grounded theory investigation into the co-creation of social enterprises by government agencies and transnational research with Poland and Italy (over £300k)
    • Sept 2007- Dec 2008 INTI- UNITE Project. “Undertaking intercultural exchange: joint and innovative actions for participatory integration” (UNITE). An EU part-funded project to create a social enterprise incubator and spin-out unit for A8 migrants in the UK. (£70k)
    • Sept 2007 St Margaret’s Convent. Developing a redevelopment project on behalf of the Orthodox Christian community in Aberdeen to purchase a convent complex and redevelop it for migrant workers and students. Includes restoration of a Grade 1 listed building. (£5k)
    • Nov 2005- June 2007 Moray Wastebusters: business plan development and non-exec director for community waste project wishing to become full self-funding. (£25k)
    • June to Dec 2006 Fraserburgh North Residents Association: Survey of residents needs and ambitions for the regeneration of Fraserburgh North and support to FRANRA in its future developments. (£10k)
    • May 2006 –Dec 2006 Dalrymple Partnership. Leading a partnership of three organisations to refurbish the derelict first floor of a community arts building to create a bistro and offices for community businesses. Involves a £200k refurbishment programme. (£25k)
    • Nov 2006 –Dec 2007 Broadcairn Landfill Tax Projects. Ongoing programme of developing and supporting over 25 community projects ranging from ground source heat pumps in a church to restoring a montane forest garden in the Highlands. Developed over £1.2m of projects for funding.
    • Aug 2005 – May 2006 Highlands and Islands Enterprise. Review of opportunities for the social enterprise sector in wastes management in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland (£15k)
    • Jan 2005 – May 2005 Forward Scotland. Skills mapping study to obtain a clearer understanding of the following issues relating to the waste management sectors in Scotland. Skills base required now and in the future.Current entry routes and career paths within these sectors and possible future routes. Current training provision in these areas and potential future needs. (£15k)
    • Nov 2004 – Dec 2006 BEST Procurement Social Enterprise East Midlands. Research manager in a major partnership between SEEM and SDRC to develop the public market for social enterprise and social enterprise’s capacity to deliver to this market at the same time. Involved partnership management, research design, team management, research methodology and conference presentations. (£390k)
    • Nov 2004 –to date Peterhead New Hope Trust Centre. Advice and funding application assistance for environmental enhancements and suggestions for renewable energy schemes for a social enterprise in Peterhead involved in providing clothes and Christmas boxes to Romanian orphanages. Reviewing business activities and identifying development opportunities. Raised over £100k for development of recycling activities and funded £40k of landfill tax for landscaping and garden development work. (£140k)
    • Oct 2004- Oct 2006 Boddam Community Association. Assistance and advice to community group on environmental enhancement project. Secured Scottish Executive Biodiversity Action Grant scheme funding to facilitate participation of Local Biodiversity Action Partnership (pro bono)
    • Nov 2004 – June 2006 Building Buchan Diversification Programme. Working with two SME’s in Buchan, Aberdeenshire under a European funded programme to identify and validate new business opportunities in the waste management sector and support the change management required to achieve the new business objectives (£75k)
    • Oct 2004 – June 2006 CairnGorm Mountain Limited. Assisting the implementation of a sustainability management system, accreditable to EMAS, for a non-profit company providing managed access to the CairnGorm ski slopes in an ecologically sensitive area (£25k)
    • Jan 2004 – July 2004 Aberdeen City Council. Investigation and management review of two landfill tax trusts to identify best value and advise on strategic direction. (£25k)
    • May – Dec 1999 Capacity Building : Department for International Development and ERM Ltd. Development of a Training Needs Analysis for the reform of environmental management in Azerbaijan and the re-structuring of the State Committee on Ecology. Involves the design of a curriculum to enhance the capability of the Committee as a regulatory and enforcement body, and the delivery of innovative and practical training sessions. (£100k)
    • May 1999 – 2002 North East Business Waste Management Partnership : Grampian Enterprise. Development and facilitation of an Industrial Waste Partnership designed to bring waste producers in Grampian together to seek innovative solutions to waste re-use, reprocessing and disposal in an area with relatively low waste arisings in a rural area. (£100k)
    • June 1998 – October 1999 Project management of the work of an environmental animateur: Cordah Research and Formartine Area Partnership. A Scottish Office sponsored local area partnership, of which Cordah Research is a Partner, are employing an animateur to work with local communities to identify and implement sustainable development projects. (£35k)
  • For publications, projects, datasets, research interests and activities, view Timothy Curtis’s research profile on Pure, the University of Northampton’s Research Explorer.

    • Curtis, T and James, R (2015) Building social capital: an element of effective Neighbourhood Policing. Excellence in Policing Conference 2015 28 September 2015 – 29 September 2015 College of Policing Ryton-on-Dunsmore
    • Curtis, T and James, R (2015) Why LISP works: critical realism in social innovation research. 7th International Social Innovation Research Conference (ISIRC) University of York 6 – 8 September 2015
    • Curtis, T (2015) The ‘Social Concept’ document of the Russian Orthodox Church- after 15 years is really a basis for Christian social action? Fellowship of St Sergius and St Alban Annual Conference, 17-19th August 2015, Ripon College Cuddesdon 
    • Curtis, T (2014) Educating for Social Entrepreneurship outside the business school. Keynote at International Conference on Entrepreneurship Education for College Students. Sun-Yat Sen University, Guangzhou, China. 20-21st December 2014
    • Curtis, T (2014) Social Innovation as Institutional Strategy for Higher Education Institutions AshokaU and Synergos Conference on Social Entrepreneurship in Universities in Central Asia, Kyrgystan National University, Bishkek, Kyrgystan 18-20th November 2014
    • Curtis, T and James, R (2014) Intensive Engagement in Community Policing Local Policing and Partnerships National Conference Loughborough University 13th November 2014
    • Curtis, T and McGirl, N (2014) Social Innovation as an Institutional Strategy for Higher Education Institutions in Turkey: a workshops for 8 Universities in Turkey. Istanbul, Turkey. 1st -3rd June 2015.
    • Curtis, T (2014) Building blocks of university-based social innovation programs, Ashoka U Social Innovation Faculty Institute The American College of Greece, Athens 20-21st May 2014
    • Curtis, T (2014) ‘Developing a changemaker campus – delivering added value’ Symposium on Higher Education and Social Entrepreneurship – A creative response to the developing needs of the 21st Century?” Sunley Conference Centre, Northampton 15th May 2014
    • Curtis, T., Ladd, T., Levinson, N. & . Wrubel, R (2014) Technology-Enabled Teaching. The New Scholar: AshokaU Exchange, Feb 20-22 2014 Brown University, RI, USA
    • Curtis, T., Garton, C. & Manwaring, T. (2014) Culture, Leadership & Structure for Social Innovation Institutionalization. The New Scholar: AshokaU Exchange, Feb 20-22 2014 Brown University, RI, USA
    • Curtis, T & James, R. (2013) Social innovation and co-production of safer communities: the Northamptonshire Police experience What’s the business case for co-production in public services? University of Birmingham 24th October 2013
    • Curtis, T & James, R (2013) Intensive engagement: social innovation in positive crime outcomes in communities: the Northampton Police experience Northamptonshire Police Crime and Community Summit. September 26th, Wooton Hall, Northampton
    • Petford, N. and Curtis, T (2013) ReImagining Learning: In conversation with Northampton University. Ashoka and Pearson invited conversations. 13th Jan 2014. Pearson plc, London.