IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Q&A with Professor Douglas Bourn

Douglas Bourn is Professor of Development Education and Founding Director of the Development Education Research Centre at IOE.

How did you come to join IOE?

I joined to establish the Development Education Research Centre in 2006. IOE has a long-standing tradition of supporting learning about international development and global issues and was a natural fit to establish the Centre here.

Since then, I have also established the international Academic Network on Global Education and Learning (ANGEL), established the first ever academic journal in the field – the International Journal of Development Education and Global Learning, and published leading books in the field, including the edited Bloomsbury Handbook of Global Education.

I also established the first ever Master's programme in Development Education and Global Learning in 2008. This programme is now known as the Global Learning MA, and it is led by my colleague Dr Clare Bentall.

I value the comradeship and mutual learning that takes place and the willingness of people to be open to new ideas and thinking.

What might it surprise people to know about you?

I only became an academic in my fifties after spending 25 years working for civil society organisations.

What is the focus of your research and why is it important?

Research on education for sustainable development in Initial Teacher Education, the Pedagogy of Hope, and Global Citizenship. 

These areas will enable educators to be equipped to address the dominant challenges of our time: climate change, globalisation, and global poverty.

What's the most important thing you've learned from your students about the subjects you teach?

Learning about and recognising importance of differing voices and perspectives from around the world. Always being open to new ideas and to ensure your publications and research has relevance around the world.

Do you think being London-based benefits the work you do?

As most of my work is online, geographical location has not been a major issue, but being in a global city has meant that London is home to a rich variety of voices, perspectives and cultures that can only enrich education and broader our horizons.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

The opportunity to develop research ideas and teaching with like-minded colleagues, introducing the development education ideas and practices within the institution, and sharing quality research with colleagues.

What other subjects outside of your area of specialism interest you?

International Education, Critical Pedagogy, and Higher Education in general.

Last updated 28 July 2023.