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John Holford

Robert Peers Chair in Adult Education and Director, Centre for Research in Higher, Adult & Vocational Education, Faculty of Social Sciences

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Biography

John Holford is Robert Peers Professor of Adult Education and Director of the Centre for Research in Higher, Adult & Vocational Education. A Sociologist who has spent most of his career in adult education, his research has focussed chiefly on the role of lifelong education in the formation of citizens, communities and social movements. His main current research interests are in adult learning of citizenship, especially in Europe, policy processes for the education of adults, especially in the European Union, and the history of adult education and citizenship in Britain. His earlier work has covered learning in trade unions and social movements, lifelong learning in South East Asia, the history of adult education in the British colonies, and the historical sociology of labour.

His books include Adult Education Policy and the European Union: Theoretical and Methodological Perspectives (editor, with Milana, Sense Publishers 2014), Lifelong Learning in Europe: National Patterns and Challenges (editor, with Saar & Ure, Edward Elgar 2013), Patterns of Lifelong Learning: Policy & Practice in an Expanding Europe (author, with Riddell, Weedon, Litjens & Hannan; LitVerlag, 2008), The Theory and Practice of Learning (author, with Jarvis & Griffin; 1998, 2nd edition, Routledge 2003), International Perspectives on Lifelong Learning (editor, with Jarvis & Griffin; Kogan Page 1998), Union Education in Britain (author, Nottingham University 1994), Reshaping Labour (author, Routledge 1988). He has also edited many journal special issues, including: Lifelong Learning and Higher Education in Europe 1995-2011: Widening and/or Narrowing Access? (with Riddell & Weedon, 2014), Adult and Lifelong Education: The European Union, its member states and the world (with Milana & Mohorčič Špolar, 2014), Adult and Lifelong Education: Global, National and Local Perspectives Citizenship (with Milana & Mohorčič Špolar, 2014) Citizenship, Learning and Education (with Brooks, 2009).

He is Editor of the International Journal of Lifelong Education (Routledge), and a member of the editorial boards of the International Review of Education (UNESCO/Wiley), Adult Education Quarterly (Sage/American Association for Adult and Continuing Education) and the Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education.

He is joint Convenor of the European Society (ESREA) for Network on Policy Studies in Adult Education (www.esrea.org). He chaired the Universities' Association for Lifelong Learning (UALL) Research Committee (2009-13).

He is an Honorary Professor at the University of Hong Kong (www.hku.hk/), a Governor of West Notts College, Mansfield (www.wnc.ac.uk/), a member of the Advisory Board of the Centre for Nepal Studies (UK) (www.cnsuk.org.uk), and an Honorary Consultant to the Lee Chi Tat Memorial and Tsang Mui Millennium Schools, Hong Kong (http://www.lctms.edu.hk/).

Before taking up the Robert Peers Chair of Adult Education in 2007, he was successively Head of Law & Politics, Politics and Educational Studies at the University of Surrey. He also served on the University's Council, Senate, Finance, Research and many other committees, and was Chair of its Academic Assembly (1999-2003). Before joining Surrey he worked with the University of Hong Kong's School of Professional and Continuing Education and the Workers' Educational Association.

For more information, and some publications, see http://nottingham.academia.edu/JohnHolford/about. You can follow him on twitter at @john_holford

Teaching Summary

I am Course Leader for the MA in International Higher Education.

Research Summary

My current research is in two main areas:

Lifelong learning policy: its formation, significance and impact, especially in the European Union. This includes:

  • Leading Nottingham team for EU FP7 project, LLLight'in'Europe (2012-15)
  • The role of participation and motivation in adult learning
  • Processes of adult learning policy in the European Union
  • Significance of measures and indicators in adult learning policy

Interactions between adults and higher education. This includes

  • Historical studies of adult education and its relations with social and intellectual movements
  • Relations between adult and higher education, and the changing role of "the university".
  • Changing conceptions of "community engagement", especially in the "global university"

Selected Publications

John is a member of the Centre for Research in Higher, Adult and Vocational Education. His research supervision areas include:

  • adult and lifelong education
  • higher education
  • educational policy
  • the European Union
  • South East Asia
  • historical, sociological, policy and political perspectives on lifelong learning and education
  • education, citizenship and governance
  • education, social inclusion and social cohesion
  • community engagement and widening participation
  • governance, leadership and management in lifelong education
  • workers and labour education
  • community education
  • learning and social movements

Research proposals: please email John if you would like to discuss the appropriateness of your research topic.

See also: School of Education research supervision areas.

Past Research

Towards a Lifelong Learning Society in Europe: The Contribution of the Education System (LLL2010) (European Union 6th Framework Integrated Project; Co-ordinator of Nottingham team)

Strategies for inclusion and Social Cohesion in Europe throughEducation (Includ-Ed) (European Union 6th Framework Integrated Project: Co-ordinator of Nottingham team)

New Spaces of Education (ESRC Seminar Series, Joint co-ordinator)

Learning citizenship in Europe. Led EU 5th Framework project Education & Training for Governance & Active Citizenship in Europe (ETGACE); member of EU Joint Research Centre network on indicators of active citizenship for democracy.

Adult learning and the development of citizenship in the British colonies

Adult learning in trade unions and social movements chiefly in Britain but also South East Asia.

British labour politics and workers' education, especially in the twentieth century.

Hong Kong's adult continuing education: policy, quality, internationalisation

  • MILANA, MARCELLA, HOLFORD, JOHN and MOHORČIČ ŠPOLAR, VIDA A., 2014. Adult and lifelong education: global, national and local perspectives Globalisation, Societies and Education. 14(1), 1-9
  • HOLFORD, JOHN, 2014. The lost honour of the Social Dimension: Bologna, exports and the idea of the university International Journal of Lifelong Education. 33(1), 7-25
  • RIDDELL, SHEILA, WEEDON, ELISABET and HOLFORD, JOHN, 2014. Lifelong learning and higher education in Europe 1995–2011: widening and/or narrowing access?: (Introduction to Special Issue) International Journal of Lifelong Education. 33(1), 1-6
  • MILANA, MARCELLA and HOLFORD, JOHN, eds., 2014. Adult Education Policy and the European Union: Theoretical and Methodological Perspectives Sense Publishers.
  • HOLFORD, JOHN and MILANA, MARCELLA, 2014. Introduction: European Adult Education Policy in Question. In: MILANA, MARCELLA, ed., Adult Education Policy and the European Union: Theoretical and Methodological Perspectives Sense Publishers. 1-12
  • MOHORČIČ ŠPOLAR, VIDA A. and HOLFORD, JOHN, 2014. Adult Learning: From the Margins to the Mainstream. In: MILANA, MARCELLA and HOLFORD, JOHN, eds., Adult Education Policy and the European Union: Theoretical and Methodological Perspectives Sense Publishers. 35-50
  • MILANA, MARCELLA and HOLFORD, JOHN, 2014. Conclusion. In: MILANA, MARCELLA and HOLFORD, JOHN, eds., Adult Education Policy and the European Union: Theoretical and Methodological Perspectives Sense Publishers. 163-168
  • HOLFORD, JOHN, MILANA, MARCELLA and MOHORČIČ ŠPOLAR, VIDA A., 2014. Adult and lifelong education: the European Union, its member states and the world: (Introduction to Special Issue) International Journal of Lifelong Education. 33(3), 267-274
  • MILANA, MARCELLA, HOLFORD, JOHN, JARVIS, PETER, WALLER, RICHARD and WEBB, SUSAN, 2014. Editorial: Skills assessment, PIAAC and the adult literacy agenda International Journal of Lifelong Education. 33(2), 121-124
  • HOLFORD, JOHN and MLECZKO, AGATA, 2013. Lifelong Learning: National Policies in the European Perspective. In: SAAR, ELLU, URE, ODD BJØRN and HOLFORD, JOHN, eds., Lifelong Learning in Europe: National Patterns and Challenges Edward Elgar. 25-45
  • HOLFORD, JOHN and WELIKALA, T., 2013. 'Renaissance' without enlightenment: New Labour’s 'Learning Age' 1997-2010. In: SAAR, E., URE, O.B. and HOLFORD, J., eds., Lifelong learning in Europe: national patterns and challenges Edward Elgar.
  • HOLFORD, JOHN, JARVIS, PETER, MILANA, MARCELLA, WALLER, RICHARD and WEBB, SUSAN, 2013. Exploration, discovery, learning: mapping the unknown: Editorial International Journal of Lifelong Education. 32(6), 685-689
  • SAAR, Ė, URE, OB and HOLFORD, J, eds., 2013. Lifelong learning in Europe: national patterns and challenges Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
  • SAAR, E., URE, O.-B. and HOLFORD, J., 2013. Introduction. In: SAAR, E., URE, O.-B. and HOLFORD, J., eds., Lifelong learning in Europe: national patterns and challenges 1. Edward Elgar. 1-21.
  • LAKSAMBA, CHANDRA K., DHAKAL, LOKENDRA P. and HOLFORD, JOHN, 2012. Education and Employment. In: ADHIKARI, KRISHNA, ed., Nepalis in the United Kingdom: An Overview Centre for Nepal Studies United Kingdom (CNSUK). 69-90
  • HOLFORD, J. and MOHORČIČ ŠPOLAR, V., 2012. Neoliberal and inclusive themes in European lifelong learning policy. In: RIDDELL, S., MARKOWITSCH, J. and WEEDON, E., eds., Lifelong learning in Europe: equity and efficiency in the balance Policy Press. 39-61
  • BOEREN, E., HOLFORD, J., NICAISE, I. and BAERT, H., 2012. Why do adults learn?: developing a motivational typology across 12 European countries Globalisation, Societies and Education. 10(2), 247-269
  • PUIGVERT, L., CHRISTOU, M. and HOLFORD, J., 2012. Critical communicative methodology: including vulnerable voices in research through dialogue Cambridge Journal of Education. 42(4), 513-526
  • ENGEL, L.C., HOLFORD, J. and PIMLOTT-WILSON, H., 2010. Effectiveness, inequality and ethos in three English schools International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy. 30(3/4), 140-154
  • GÓMEZ GONZÁLEZ, A. and HOLFORD, J., 2010. Contribuciones al éxito educativo desde la metodología comunicativa [Contributions of the communicative methodology to educational success] Revista Educación y Pedagogía. 56, 21-29
  • HOLFORD, J., 2009. Post-colonial perspectives on the ‘great tradition’: or, why the British model of university adult education flourishes in Hong Kong, but withered in England. In: COARE, P. and CECIL, L., eds., Really Useful Knowledge?: Critical Perspectives on evidence-based policy and practice in lifelong learning. Proceedings of the 39th Scutrea Annual Conference University of Sussex Centre for Continuing Education & Standing Conference on University Teaching & Research in the Education of Adults. 238-245
  • BROOKS, R.M. and HOLFORD, J.A.K., eds., 2009. Citizenship, Learning and Education: Special Issue of Citizenship Studies Abingdon: Routledge.
  • BROOKS, R.M. and HOLFORD, J.A.K., 2009. Citizenship, learning and education: themes and issues Citizenship Studies. 13(2), 85-103
  • HOLFORD, J., RIDDELL, S., WEEDON, E., LITJENS, J. and HANNAN, G., 2008. Patterns of lifelong learning: policy & practice in an expanding Europe Lit.
  • HOLFORD, J., 2008. Hard measures for soft stuff: citizenship indicators and educational policy under the Lisbon Strategy European Educational Research Journal. 7(3), 331-343
  • HOLFORD, J., 2008. The European Citizen in a Learning Society: Governed, Mobilised or Active?. In: TÜBITAK, ed., Citizenship and Cultural Identities in the EU: Old Questions, new Answers Ankara: Tübitak. 105-116
  • HOLFORD, J, 2008. Trade unions: from workers' education to lifelong learning. In: JARVIS, P., ed., The Routledge International Handbook of Lifelong Learning Routledge. 139-152
  • HOLFORD, J, ed., 2008. Patterns of lifelong learning: policy & practice in an expanding Europe Berlin : Lit.
  • HOLFORD, J., 2007. 'Workers' education in the twentieth century British labour movement: class, union and role.’. In: CLARKE, L. and WINCH, C., eds., Vocational education: international approaches, developments and systems London: Routledge. 191-204
  • HOLFORD, J., 2007. The European citizen in a learning society: governed, mobilised, or active?. In: KUHN, M., ed., Who is the European?: a new global player New York: Peter Lang. 87-103
  • HOLFORD, J, PATULNY, R and STURGIS, P., 2006. Indicators of Non-formal and Informal Educational Contributions to Active Citizenship In: Working towards Indicators on Active Citizenship. Report of the JRC-CRELL Active Citizenship for Democracy Conference, held at European Commission Joint Research Centre, Ispra, Italy, 20-21 September 2006. 39 pp
  • VAN DER VEEN, R and HOLFORD, J, 2005. A critical educational perspective on localisation, governance and citizen education.’. In: WILDEMEERSCH, D, STROOBANTS, V and BRON, M., eds., Active Citizenship and Multiple Identities in Europe: A Learning Outlook Frankfurt am Main. 123-137
  • HOLFORD, J., 2003. Unions, adult education and post-war citizenship: the WEA and the construction of trade union education. In: ROBERTS, S.K., ed., A Ministry of Enthusiasm: centenary essays on the Workers’ Educational Association London: Pluto Press. 153-175
  • HOLFORD, J and VAN DER VEEN, R., 2003. Lifelong Learning and Citizenship in Europe: Final Report of the ETGACE Project (FP5 Project CT-99-00012) Guildford: University of Surrey.
  • JARVIS, P., HOLFORD, J. and GRIFFIN, C., 2003. The Theory and Practice of Learning 2nd edition. London: Kogan Page.
  • HOLFORD, J., 2002. Distance education in the learning society. In: JARVIS, P., ed., The Theory and Practice of Teaching London: Kogan Page. 189-203
  • HOLFORD, J. and BLACK, T., 2001. Implications for the delivery of learning materials. In: JARVIS, P., ed., The Age of Learning: Education and the knowledge society London: Kogan Page. 157-170
  • HOLFORD, J., 2001. Civil society and citizenship in a learning age. In: JARVIS, P., ed., The Age of Learning: Education and the knowledge society London: Kogan Page. 205-216
  • HOLFORD, J. and NICHOLLS, G., 2001. The school in the age of learning. In: JARVIS, P., ed., The Age of Learning: Education and the knowledge society London: Kogan Page. 134-146
  • HOLFORD, J., 2000. Formazione aperta (Open Learning). In: FEDERIGHI, P., ed., Glossario Dell’Educazione degli Adulti in Europa Firenze: Ministerio della Publica Istruzione. 111-112
  • HOLFORD, J. and JARVIS P., 2000. The Learning Society. In: WILSON, A.L. and HAYES, E.R., eds., Handbook of Adult and Continuing Education: A Publication of the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education San Francisco: Jossey Bass. 643-659
  • HOLFORD, J., 2000. Perspectives on Citizenship and Governance Education in Europe. In: HOLFORD, J., ed., Researching Lifelong Education and Citizenship: Proceedings of an ESRC Seminar Guildford: University of Surrey. 21-37
  • FALVEY, P. and HOLFORD, J., 2000. The role of the university in in-service education for teachers: patterns of provision and the shaping of policy in Hong Kong, 1986-97 Journal of In-Service Education. 26(1), 169-189
  • HOLFORD, J., 2000. Politica dell’apprendimento durante tutto l’arco della vita (Lifelong Learning Policy). In: FEDERIGHI, P., ed., Glossario dell’Educazione degli Adulti in Europa Firenze: Ministerio della Publica Istruzione. 82-84.
  • CHAN, F.T. and HOLFORD, J., 1999. Quality in Adult Continuing Education: Hong Kong Perspectives Hong Kong: University of Hong Kong School of Professional and Continuing Education.
  • JARVIS, P., GRIFFIN, C. and HOLFORD, J., 1998. A market for lifelong learning? The voucher experience in the City of London. In: HOLFORD, J., JARVIS, P. and GRIFFIN, C., eds., International Perspectives on Lifelong Learning London: Kogan Page. 198-209
  • HOLFORD, J., 1998. "Through-life" perspectives and continuing education in Hong Kong: Policy review and policy unformation. In: HOLFORD, J, JARVIS, P. and GRIFFIN, C., eds., International Perspectives on Lifelong Learning London: Kogan Page. 137-151
  • HOLFORD, J., JARVIS, P. and GRIFFIN, C., eds., 1998. International Perspectives on Lifelong Learning London: Kogan Page.
  • JARVIS, P., HOLFORD, J. and GRIFFIN, C., 1998. The Theory and Practice of Learning London: Kogan Page. (In Press.)
  • HOLFORD, J., 1998. ‘Is Our History Bunk? Adult Education’s Historiography and the Notion of “Learning Society”. In: , ed., In Proceedings of the 38th Adult Education Research Conference San Antonio: Texas A&M University. 185-190. http://www.edst.educ.ubc.ca/aerc/1998/98h
  • HOLFORD, J., 1997. A learning society - but whose? Lifelong Learning in colonial and postcolonial Hong Kong. In: HOLFORD, J., GRIFFIN, C. and JARVIS, P., eds., Lifelong Learning: Rhetoric, Reality and Public Policy Guildford: University of Surrey. 154-161
  • HOLFORD, J., GRIFFIN, C. and JARVIS, P., eds., 1997. Lifelong Learning: Rhetoric, Reality and Public Policy Guildford: University of Surrey.
  • HOLFORD, J., 1996. Educational and research links between trade unions and universities in the United Kingdom. In: KESTER, G. and PINAUD, H., eds., Trade Unions and Democratic Participation in Europe: A scenario for the 21st century Aldershot: Avebury. 241-250
  • HOLFORD, J., GARDNER, D. and NG, J.G.H., 1995. The Hong Kong Adult Education Handbook Hong Kong: Longman.
  • HOLFORD, J., 1995. Why social movements matter: adult education theory, cognitive praxis and the creation of knowledge Adult Education Quarterly. 45(2), 95-111
  • HOLFORD, J., 1995. Globalising University Adult Education: Money, Markets and an East Asian Challenge to Western Traditions. In: COLLINS, M., ed., Educating the Adult Educator: the Role of the University Saskatoon: University of Saskatchewan. 195-204
  • HOLFORD, J., 1995. Les liens entre syndicats et universités dans le domaine de l’enseignement et de la recherche au Royaume Uni. In: KESTER, G and PINAUD, H., eds., Syndicats et participation démocratique: Scénario pour le 21ème siècle Paris: L’Harmattan. 278-88
  • HOLFORD, J., 1995. Britain's Forgotten Minister of Adult Education: Arthur Creech Jones and a Socialist Strategy for Development and Democracy in Africa. In: SCOTT, S. and COLLETT, D., eds., Proceedings of the 35th Adult Education Research Conference Edmonton: University of Alberta. 171-176
  • HOLFORD, J., 1994. Old Themes, New Variations: Politics, the State, and the Shaping of Labour Education in Singapore and Hong Kong Labor Studies Journal. 19(1), 92-106
  • HOLFORD, J., 1994. Adult Education without a Soul? Colonialism, Economic Progress, and Democratic Underdevelopment in Hong Kong. In: Proceedings of the 34th Annual Adult Education Research Conference Knoxville: University of Tennessee. 199-204
  • CHAN, F.T. and HOLFORD, J., 1994. The Hong Kong adult learner: a profile. In: LEE, N. and LAM, A., eds., Professional and Continuing Education in Hong Kong: Issues and Perspectives Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. 71-84
  • HOLFORD, J., 1994. Union Education in Britain: A TUC Activity Nottingham: University of Nottingham.
  • HOLFORD, J. and NG, J., 1994. Access and educational consortia: Models and issues. In: LEE, N. and LAM, A., eds., Professional and Continuing Education in Hong Kong: Issues and Perspectives Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. 105-122
  • CHAN, F.T. and HOLFORD, J., 1993. Adult learners in Hong Kong: Motives, deterrents, plans. In: , ed., Economics of Distance Education: Proceedings of VIIth AAOU Annual Conference Hong Kong: Asian Association of Open Universities. 50-53
  • HOLFORD, J., 1992. Labour education in South East Asia: Empowerment for Whom?. In: TAYLOR, M. and BEDARD, R., eds., Proceedings of the 11th Annual Conference of the Canadian Association for the Study of Adult Education. Saskatoon: University of Saskatchewan. 179-84
  • HOLFORD, J., 1988. Reshaping Labour: Organisation, Work and Politics - Edinburgh in the Great War and After London: Croom Helm.
  • HOLFORD, J., 1988. Continuing Education in the Trade Union Movement New Directions for Continuing Education. 40, 45-54.
  • HOLFORD, J., 1988. Mass Education and Community Development in the British Colonies, 1940-1960 International Journal of Lifelong Education. 7(3), 163-183.
  • DISNEY, R., DOYLE, M., GOODWIN, H., HOLFORD, J. and SMITH, S., 1982. Unemployment London: Workers' Educational Association.

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