Betwixt & Between

Issue #1

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The Partnership Brokers Association (PBA) is proud to announce the first issue of a Journal dedicated to all that is involved in the art and science of professional partnership brokering. Entitled Betwixt & Between – The Journal of Partnership Brokering, this provides a public platform for thought leadership, critical analysis and insights into breakthrough practice from across cultures, sectors and geographies.

PBA is the only organisation in the world with a total focus on partnership brokering as a central element in building inclusive and sustainable development partnerships. PBA has three elements: Learning (enquiry and action research), Training (professional skills development) and Transforming (advocacy, system challenge and change). The Journal falls under the remit of the PBA’s Learning Community of Practice and is a mechanism for sharing evidence and insights from within and beyond the organisation’s growing alumni of partnership brokers. It is a public platform that brings together thought leadership, original thinking, insights and breakthrough practice in partnership brokering from across cultures, sectors and geographies.

The Journal’s content is sourced primarily from those operating as partnership brokers – mainly but not solely graduates from PBA’s own international training programme. Contributions are also welcome from individuals working in any sector and location, who have instigated or provided resources for partnerships. Are you someone like this? Or perhaps you have been involved with partnerships that have led to system change or new policies? Or maybe you just have a strong personal perspective on partnership brokering and its place in building innovative and effective partnerships for equitable and sustainable development.

As the title suggests, this is not an entirely traditional academic journal in the sense that whilst all the papers are carefully selected and the full length papers (though not the briefer ‘thought pieces) are peer reviewed, we have decided to broaden the range and style to include different forms of knowledge as well as highly personal insights into partnership brokering practice. As you will see, this diversity is reflected in the contributions to the Journal.

In their article, Leda Stott and Anette Scoppetta examine how partnership brokers add value in partnerships for employment and social inclusion in Europe.

Joanne Burke and Lucy Pearson’s feature is based on the findings of a research study and report looking into how intermediary mechanisms can help broker private sector and humanitarian collaboration.

Susan Davis and Susan Dundon describe how a partnership brokering unit is helping a water, sanitation and hygiene partnership work towards collective impact.

To reflect the widest possible experience of partnership brokering and to show how rich and enriching it can be as a profession, we include personal brokering journeys and write-ups of reflective practice since they also yield interesting and engaging stories. They are as much about insights into successes as they are about failures.

In this issue, Sampson Abiala relates his experience of brokering a local content partnership to support a community facing economic and social unrest in the oil-rich Niger Delta where there is also a serious level of civil unrest.

Ros Tennyson provides a reflection on the importance of words and urges that we pay more attention to precise speaking in the way we work as partnership brokers.

The journal is also different in that it is aimed at anyone, anywhere who is interested in more effective partnerships and in the emerging role of the partnership broker. It is therefore freely available on line.

As editors, we see our role as:
– encouraging and enabling people to share their first-hand knowledge and experience,
– assessing contributions for clarity, validity, significance and originality
– building issues that fit with the journal’s editorial guidelines and have coherence.

As practising partnership brokers ourselves, we have our own experiences and opinions that we look forward to sharing. In this issue, Herman Brouwer raises the question of whether it matters if a partnership broker is an introvert or extrovert and draws on his own partnering practice to explore the impact of personal attributes which extrovert and introvert brokers bring differently to the partnering process. Reflective practice is a key attribute for a partnership broker and his article is an illustration of that.

In a subsequent issue, Surinder Hundal will explore the dual importance of evaluating both the partnership brokering approach and the work of partnership brokers themselves to provide the much-needed evidence of the added value of effective partnership brokering and to assist in fostering high professional standards for partnership brokering.

Last but not least – our chosen title for this issue. The term comes from English literature and we like it because it suggests the complex nature of the intermediating (aka ‘partnership brokering’) role. We also like it because it is a little baffling and we hope that of itself it will arouse interest and questions. For example does being ‘in-between’ imply a form of non-commitment, being passive ‘neither one thing nor the other’? Or does it suggest between in the sense of keeping apart different people / groups (warring factions)? Or does it convey more of a ‘boundary spanner’ – on the edge between different entities able to engage with all?

We firmly believe this Journal dedicated to exploring the role and impact of partnership brokers as well as the art and science of partnership brokering deserves a title that will challenge as well as clarify.

Of course, your opinion on all of this and your responses to the articles in this journal are all-important – to let us know what you think please contact us.

Guest Editors for Issue 1:

Herman Brouwer
Surinder Hundal

This Issue: