5th International 'Making Projects Critical' Workshop

Last updated, 7 Jul 2009
Web Details: 
University of the West of England, Bristol, UK
20/01/2010 to 22/01/2010

Making Projects Critical 5, January 21st & 22nd 2010, Bristol, UK 


Call for Papers for the 5th international workshop on critical studies of project based work, project management and the projectification of society and life at large

Organising committee
Svetlana Cicmil and Peter Case Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol
Damian Hodgson Manchester Business School, University of Manchester
Monica Lindgren and Johann Packendorff School of Industrial Engineering & Management, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm

Keynote speakers

David Knights

>Martin Parker

Marking the 40th anniversary of the lunar landing – arguably the most ambitious project in history – Martin Parker will be presenting on "Project Apollo: Space Age Management".

We are pleased to announce the Call for Papers for the 5th Making Projects Critical workshop, to be held at Bristol Business School (BBS) on January 21st - 22nd 2010. It will be hosted by the Bristol Centre for Leadership and Organisational Ethics and the Global Operations Research Unit, BBS, in cooperation with the Manchester Critical Management Group, Manchester Business School, University of Manchester and INDEK, Royal Institute of Technology of Stockholm.

'Making Projects Critical' is the title of series of international workshops intended to provide a forum for research from a wide range of critical perspectives relating to all aspects of projects, including project management, project based organising and the 'projectification' of society. Such critique finds inspiration in the writings of, for example, Bourdieu, Foucault, Latour, Habermas, Derrida, Deleuze, Gramsci Bauman, Beck, and Zizek. It also draws on Labour Process Theory, Critical Theory, Actor Network Theory, Environmentalism, Feminism and Gender Studies, Post-Modernism and other traditions broadly related to Critical Management Studies. Through the workshop, we hope to highlight and, where possible, remedy the theoretical and methodological limitations of traditional conceptions of projects and project management. In particular, the intention is to draw upon wider intellectual resources than the instrumental rationality, quantitative and positivist methodologies and technicist solutions which have been used traditionally to understand, implement and control organisational projects.

The first four workshops have produced two major publications:

  • - Making Projects Critical (2006), an edited volume with 16 chapters, eds. Hodgson and Cicmil Palgrave :Basingstoke, UK and New York, USA;
  • - ‘Project Management behind the Façade’, a special issue of ephemera: theory & politics with 7 contributions, 9(2) May 2009



Call for Papers
The broad range of themes addressed in past workshops include issues of power and domination in project settings, ethics and moral responsibility within projects, tensions between standardisation and creativity in project organisations, the limits to projectification and the dysfunctions of project rationality. Contributions on any of these themes or related critical topics drawing on pragmatic conceptualisations, empirical ethnography, narratology or concrete case studies, would be welcome.

A key concern of this workshop is to employ critical perspectives to analyse and evaluate the practice of project management and decision making as evidenced in the approval, governance and control of project work and project workers. We particularly welcome critical contributions which seek to bridge the gap between abstract theorising and the practice of project management. Such critique will be germane to those, such as project managers, who work closely and struggle with the demands of project-based organisation and who are trying to find more acceptable and participative/democratic ways of coping with their roles. We would like to encourage papers which address the widening range of sectors in which organisations and organising are increasingly structured around the project form by focusing on issues of context, values and power. This might encompass the following fields:


  • - New Product Development and Innovation projects
  • - Urban Regeneration, Community Development and International Development projects
  • - Consultancy and Consulting projects
  • - Organisational Change projects
  • - Projects in voluntary organisations
  • - New Media and IT related projects
  • - Art and Exhibition projects
  • - Environmental / Sustainability projects
  • - Event Management projects
  • - Research projects in both industry and academia

Contributions which adopt critical perspectives on the themes of temporality, complexity, phronesis, entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial processes, sustainability, the knowledge economy, leadership, professionalisation, pedagogy and education as related to the field of project management studies will also be of interest to conference participants.

Pre-workshop PhD forum

We are introducing for the first time a half-day PhD forum prior to the main workshop (January 20th, 2pm – 5pm) to create a supportive and friendly environment for sharing ideas and experiences among emerging researchers and the offer of advice and feedback from established researchers in the field of critical studies of projects and PM. Doctoral students with an interest in participating are requested to send a 2-3 page outline of their doctoral research and the potential critical dimension of the research. The number of participants at the forum will be limited to allow for more extensive discussion and feedback.

Submission deadlines and selection process:


Extended abstracts (2-3 pages including references) required by September 25th 2009 Notification of acceptance / rejection with feedback to authors by October 19th 2009 Full paper submission for inclusion in the programme by December 11th
Please send all submissions via e-mail to mpc5@uwe.ac.uk with “MPC5 abstract” in the subject header.
Extended abstracts will be reviewed by the organising committee members and the authors of selected abstracts will be invited to develop their papers for presentation in the workshop.
Full & Final papers should be between 20 and 25 pages, A4, 1.5 spacing, Times New Roman 12 and written in ENGLISH.

Further information
Please visit our web-site to find out more about MPC at: -