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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, and in the history of adult education and citizenship in Britain. His earlier work covered learning in trade unions and social movements, lifelong learning in South East Asia, the history of adult education in the British colonies, as well as historical sociology of labour.

His books include Patterns of Lifelong Learning: Policy & Practice in an Expanding Europe (with Sheila Riddell, Elisabet Weedon, Judith Litjens & Guy Hannan; LitVerlag, 2008), The Theory and Practice of Learning (with Peter Jarvis & Colin Griffin; 1998, 2nd edition, Routledge 2003), Union Education in Britain (Nottingham University 1994), and Reshaping Labour (Routledge 1988). His edited work includes International Perspectives on Lifelong Learning (with Peter Jarvis & Colin Griffin; Kogan Page 1998), and Citizenship, Democracy and Lifelong Learning, a special issue of the International Journal of Lifelong Education (2003) and (with Rachel Brooks) a special issue of Citizenship Studies on Citizenship, Learning and Education.

He is Editor of the International Journal of Lifelong Education (Routledge), and a member of the Editorial Boards of the Adult Education Quarterly (Sage/American Association for Adult and Continuing Education) and of the Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education.

He chairs the Universities' Association for Lifelong Learning (UALL) Research Committee, and is joint Convenor of the European Society (ESREA) for Network on Policy Studies in Adult Education (www.esrea.org/policy_studies?l=en).

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/), 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, Head of Department of Politics, and Head of the Department of Educational Studies at the University of Surrey. He also served on Surrey University's Council, Senate, and many other committees, and was Chair of its Academic Assembly (1999-2003). Before joining Surrey he worked at the University of Hong Kong's School of Professional and Continuing Education and for the Workers' Educational Association.

You can find more information about John Holford, and some of his publications, on his acaemia.edu profile: http://nottingham.academia.edu/JohnHolford/about

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 formation in the European Union
  • Significance of measures and indicators in adult learning policy
  • Interactions between adults and higher education.
  • 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

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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., 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., RIDDELL, S., WEEDON, E., LITJENS, J. and HANNAN, G., 2008. Patterns of lifelong learning: policy & practice in an expanding Europe Lit.
  • HOLFORD, J, ed., 2008. Patterns of lifelong learning: policy & practice in an expanding Europe Berlin : Lit.
  • 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., 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., 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, 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
  • JARVIS, P., HOLFORD, J. and GRIFFIN, C., 2003. The Theory and Practice of Learning 2nd edition. London: Kogan Page.
  • 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.
  • 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., 2002. Distance education in the learning society. In: JARVIS, P., ed., The Theory and Practice of Teaching London: Kogan Page. 189-203
  • 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 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
  • HOLFORD, J., JARVIS, P. and GRIFFIN, C., eds., 1998. International Perspectives on Lifelong Learning London: Kogan Page.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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., GRIFFIN, C. and JARVIS, P., eds., 1997. Lifelong Learning: Rhetoric, Reality and Public Policy Guildford: University of Surrey.
  • 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., 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., 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. Why social movements matter: adult education theory, cognitive praxis and the creation of knowledge Adult Education Quarterly. 45(2), 95-111
  • HOLFORD, J., GARDNER, D. and NG, J.G.H., 1995. The Hong Kong Adult Education Handbook Hong Kong: Longman.
  • 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., 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
  • 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. 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
  • 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. 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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