These pages have been put together largely in response to requests for details of, and links to, books and articles on education and community development. One or two people have also asked about the research projects I have been involved in – and my background and experience.


current research

Tony Jeffs and I have been undertaking research for a new book that explores the current environments that educators have to operate within. In particular, we focus on the fundamental mistakes being made by policymakers, academics and those charged with developing practice in schools, colleges and local communities.

Much like Tomison’s Academy (pictured above) – which is in South Ronaldsay and on the Buildings at Risk Register – there is a danger of dereliction. We argue for the need to re-imagine education and that the differences between pedagogy and teaching matter. Understanding this is central to developing an alternative way of approaching schooling, informal education and community development.

Click for details of previous projects.


recent articles

picture by florian klauser, unsplash

Thanks to the need to research the book above – and to undertake work around collaborative housing – only a few articles have appeared in recent years. Here are three of them:

Marie Paneth: Branch Street, the Windemere children, art and pedagogy. Marie Paneth (1895-1986) was a talented painter, art therapist and pedagogue. Her book, Branch Street (1944) is a classic exploration of community-based work with children during the Second World War – and the healing use she made of art both with The Windemere Children (2020) and in later practice was pioneering. Her approach was based in pedagogy and an appreciation of therapeutic practice. In this piece, we explore her work – mostly in the 1940s – and continuing relevance. This revised article also includes a discussion of her approach as an educator/pedagogue. [infed.org 2024].

Josephine Macalister Brew, youth work and informal education. One of the most ‘able, wise and sympathetic educationalists of her generation’, Josephine Macalister Brew made a profound contribution to the development of thinking about, and practice of, youth work and informal education. This 2024 version contains additional details of her work –  particularly around To Start You Talking and Youth and Youth Groups. [updated and extended 2024]

Why cohousing is good for people and communities – the evidence. Here, I examine five key claims for cohousing and collaborative housing, and the evidence there is to support them. [HCH 2022, 2024]

The education of informal educators. The article explores the emergence of informal education and highlights some key failings in the professional education of practitioners – and how they can be addressed. [Tony Jeffs and Mark K Smith, Education Sciences 2021]

Ruth Kotinsky on adult education and lifelong learning. Building a life in common. Ruth Kotinsky made several important contributions to thinking about lifelong learning and welfare. Of particular interest was her exploration of adult education as an aspect of everyday life and working together to build a life in common. [2021]

Click for a full listing of articles with links where available.


books etc

Nearly all of the books that I have been involved with have been digitized and are available online. In the books section, you can click through to them. Also, you will find new epub (kobo etc.) and mobi (kindle) versions of the following:

Click for books and please contact me if you have problems with downloads.


about me

I edit infed.org – the encyclopaedia of pedagogy and informal education. Alongside this, I am part of a team developing a community-led affordable rental housing initiative close to where I live in Orkney. Formerly the Rank Research Fellow and Tutor at the YMCA George Williams College, London, I have also been a visiting professor in community education at the University of Strathclyde.

Click for further details.

updated: June 25, 2024