Name: Jon Talbot (

Discipline/Subject: Planning

Institution: University of Chester

Title: Networks of professional practice

Overview of programme of outreach:

I work in the Centre for Work Related Studies at the University of Chester. We use a pre-validated trans-disciplinary framework to create tailored programmes for individuals and organisations. This includes short awards, Bachelor, Masters programmes. Learners negotiate their award title and pathway (i.e. curriculum) within the framework. It means we do not have to keep validating lots of new programmes and can create learning relevant to peoples’ needs. The only constraints are that their learning must be relevant to the workplace and we must in the university have the necessary underpinning expertise to support their learning. Students can obtain credit for past professional learning (either formal, informal or non-formal), complete subject modules (any in the university as long as it is at the appropriate level, consistent with the award title or ones we have created) or trans-disciplinary workplace project modules.

I have a professional background as a town planner. The professional body, the Royal Town Planning Institute has since 1972 provided a charitable service called Planning Aid which helps members of the public and community groups with planning issues. I have been involved with it since 1979.

I no longer offer advice as I have been out of practice too long. But I do provide non-formal training in planning matters, in recent years mostly to Town councillors in Wales. This is supported and encouraged by my line manager although it does not have a direct bearing on my academic role.

Where I have been able to contribute is in two ways:

  • First, my specialist knowledge is based upon legal understanding and professional experience, as you might expect. So contribution one is subject knowledge.
  • My second contribution is pedagogic. While most academics are seasoned presenters (and I am that) I am also someone very familiar with the theory and practice of learning, especially in respect of adults. I have been able to help the design of materials which are consistent with planned learning outcomes using participative techniques. Many of the learners have a lot of prior knowledge but this tends to be bitty and unconnected. We therefore give them the opportunity to confirm what they know and provide the underlying narrative which links their existing knowledge. Theory also tells us of the importance of shared/social knowledge so exercises are designed to facilitate this.

In terms of what I receive in return are two things:

  • First, I maintain networks with a community of professional practice developed over many years. It gives me a sense of realism when dealing with our students who are all in the workplace.
  • Second, it helps my own understanding of practice knowledge and learning. The developments in learning theory in the twentieth century are not matched by developments in our understanding of practice knowledge, which is in my opinion, under conceptualised. My own experience as a professional practitioner gives me an intuitive understanding I am not sure I would have otherwise. My continuing involvement with professionals and area of professional practice is a constant reminder of that.

Description of non-academic group, subject areas and age groups with which the programme is engaged:

Professionals seeking academic recognition for professional/vocational practice; Town Councillors in Wales.

Links to resources:

Centre for Work Related Studies:

Planning Aid Wales:


Name: Tom Ritchie (

Discipline/Subject: History of Science

Institution: University of Kent

Title: Radical Pedagogies

Overview of programme of outreach:

The forum engaged with staff, administrators and students from FE, with these groups presenting alongside those from HE, on issues including: BME Challenges in HE (observing critical race theory), utopian pedagogiesm the student journey (with a focus on transition and helping secondary students develop agency), Experiential Teaching, Widening Participation (with an emphasis on the role academics must play), and collaborative learning.

Description of non-academic group, subject areas and age groups with which the programme is engaged: 

I created a forum at the University of Kent for academics from around the country to attend to share resources and discuss innovative pedagogy and praxis in an effort to improve and change how we engage and inspire students, specifically those from ‘non-traditional’ backgrounds. Alongside the forum a website repository of resources was created, with the view of developing the initiative each year, having forums around the country.

Links to resources:

Radical Pedagogies