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With great power: Political leaders, popular legacies

One year on from the UK General Election, and in the run up to the 2016 US Presidential Election, the British Academy explores the concept of political leadership. What does it take to inspire action; to create, change and use the will of a people? How have we judged those who wield political power and how do we continue to remember them? What does a leader look like? How have leaders in government changed over time, from the divine right of kings to the modern age of social media? Can lessons still be learnt by contemporary leaders from their predecessors or have the rules of the game fundamentally changed? Should we still be looking for Plato’s ‘philosopher king’ or Machiavelli’s ‘Prince’? What is the role, history and legacy of leadership outside of formal politics? Who are the revolutionaries, writers, philosophers, religious figures and community voices who have driven change? Beyond the individual, what role do organisations and institutions play? How does political power work in international communities, in religion, in business? Academics, writers and social commentators consider big hitters and lesser known legends from angles new and old, to find out what makes a leader and what makes them ‘great’.