Professor Emeritus Lifelong Learning Room B29, Pathfoot
School of Education
University of Stirling
+ 44 (0) 1786 466145 + 44 (0) 1786 466131 (School of Education fax)


Picture of John Field

Currently, I serve as the School’s Director of Research. I have a long-standing background of interest and involvement in lifelong learning. Recent publications include edited collections on Mental Capital and Wellbeing and Researching Transitions in Lifelong Learning. I have just completed a new book on British work camp systems before 1939, which is being published in 2013 by Manchester University Press, and am editor of the new Sage Handbook on Aging, Work & Society (also due in 2013).  

Externally, I serve as a Visiting Professor of Birkbeck College, University of London. I currently chair the Advisory Board for the ESRC Research Centre on Learning and Life Chances in Knowledge Economies and Societies (LLAKES), University of London. I served as a commissioner of the National Commission of Inquiry on the Future of Lifelong Learning. A summary of the commission's findings can be read here.

Co-Director of the Centre for Research in Lifelong Learning.


BBC News Items

Work camps that tackled Depression

How 1930s work camps operated (online video)


Downloadable Papers


Journal articles since 2001

Complete list of publications Aug 2001 - July 2006

Recent Book Chapters

Research Interests

My research interests encompass the social and economic contexts of adult learning, policy in lifelong learning, and the history of adult education and training. Together with Professor Gert Biesta, I co-directed the Learning Lives project (, which is now being written up for publication. The project examines the meaning and significance of formal and informal learning in the lives of adults, and was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council as part of its Teaching and Learning Research Programme. Theoretically, it is concerned with the interplay of learning with structure, agency, identity and change over the life course.

I am also involved in a transnational study of Access and Retention: Experiences of non-traditional learners in higher education ( Our research looks at how non-traditional students in higher education experience the processes of learning, how they perceive themselves as learners and how their identity as learners develops. It involves case studies in seven European countries, and is funded by the European Commission.

Doctoral Supervisory Interests

This member of staff is interested in supervising doctoral students in the following subject areas:

Research Supervision

Research Student | Thesis Title
Evgueni Chepelin | Learning cultures in work-based learning: mediation and dialogic construction of identity
Janita Itaniemi | Young return migrant and English language maintenance: an exploratory study on English language maintenance of children and young people who have recently reimigrated with their guardians from the UK to the Czech republic
Anne Lawrie | An exploration of perceptions of verbal and non-verbal communication strategies on intercultural interaction and how they impact on Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
Blair Matthews | TBC
Elizabeth Noonan | Reconceptualising teaching in a Research Intensive University
Rokyha Salah | A framework for implementing Quality Assurance in the Higher Education sector in Libyan institutions
Maria Tsakiri | "What are you looking at?" - representations of disability in independent documentary films