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John Holford

Robert Peers Chair in Adult Education, Faculty of Social Sciences

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Biography

John Holford is Robert Peers Professor of Adult 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.

He is Co-ordinator of the Horizon 2020 research project, ENLIVEN (Encouraging Lifelong Learning for an Inclusive & Vibrant Europe: 2016-2019). He has been a partner in several previous EU research projects, including LLLight'in'Europe, LLL2010, Includ-Ed, and Etgace (which he also co-ordinated).

His books include The Palgrave International Handbook on Adult and Lifelong Education and Learning (co-editor, 2017), Adult Education Policy and the European Union: Theoretical and Methodological Perspectives (co-editor, 2014), Adult and Lifelong Education: Global, National and Local Perspectives Citizenship (co-editor, 2014), Lifelong Learning in Europe: National Patterns and Challenges (co-editor, 2013), Patterns of Lifelong Learning: Policy & Practice in an Expanding Europe (co-author, 2008), The Theory and Practice of Learning (co-author, 1998, 2nd edition, 2003), International Perspectives on Lifelong Learning (co-editor, 1998), Union Education in Britain (author, 1994), Reshaping Labour (author, 1988). He has also edited or co-edited many journal special issues, including: Lifelong Learning and Higher Education in Europe 1995-2011: Widening and/or Narrowing Access? (2014), Adult and Lifelong Education: The European Union, its member states and the world (2014), Citizenship, Learning and Education (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 President of the International Society for Comparative Adult Education (http://www.iscae.org/), and joint Convenor of the European Society (ESREA) for Network on Policy Studies in Adult Education (www.esrea.org). He is an Honorary Professor at the University of Hong Kong (www.hku.hk/), and a Governor of West Notts College, Mansfield (www.wnc.ac.uk/), and a member of the Advisory Board of the Centre for Nepal Studies (UK) (www.cnsuk.org.uk).

Before taking up the Robert Peers Chair of Adult Education in 2007, he was (successively) Professor of Politics and Education and Head of Law & Politics, Politics and Educational Studies at the University of Surrey. He also served on the University's Council, Senate, Finance & General Purposes, Research and 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 further information and some publications, see http://nottingham.academia.edu/JohnHolford/about. You can follow him on twitter at @john_holford

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:

  • Co-ordinator of the Horizon 2020 project, ENLIVEN (Encouraging Lifelong Learning for an Inclusive and VIbrant Europe, 2016-2019)
  • 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"

John is a member of the Centre for International Education Research. 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

My main areas of current research are:

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

  • Co-ordinator of the Horizon 2020 project, ENLIVEN (Encouraging Lifelong Learning for an Inclusive and VIbrant Europe, 2016-2019)
  • 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"

In the past, my research has included the following:

Lifelong Learning, Innovation, Growth & Human Capital Tracks in Europe (LLLight'in'Europe) (European Union 7th Framework research project: Co-ordinator of Nottingham Team)

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.

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

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

School of Education

University of Nottingham
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