Staff Profiles


Professor Linden West

Faculty Director of MPhil and PhD

School: School of Childhood and Education Sciences

Campus: Canterbury

Tel: 01227 922732

Profile summary

Linden West, FRSA, BA (Keele), M.Clin.Psych. (Kent), M Phil (Open University) and PhD (Kent) is Professor of Education and directs the MPhil/PhD programme. He was formerly Reader and Co-Director of the Centre for International Studies of Diversity and Participation; and Principal Lecturer in the Department of Post-Compulsory Education at CCCU. He was Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of Kent and Principal Research Fellow at the University of East London; and researcher in adult education at the University of Keele.  He has worked at a senior level for the Workers Educational Association, as well as in further education and Local Authority adult education. He has worked for the Open University and as a broadcaster on educational matters.  

Linden has extensive experience of working internationally. He has been Visiting Professor at the Université de Paris Nanterre and has taught in countries including Poland, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Slovenia and France. He has examined and supervised PhDs in Australia, Denmark, France, Canada, South Africa and Lithuania, as well as supervising PhD students from Cameroon, Italy and France. He has been Director of the ERASMUS intensive international programme for doctoral students, with intensive programmes on methodology held in Lithuania, Turkey, and this summer in Finland. There is participation in the project by 5 universities from Italy, Turkey, Finland and Lithuania as well as the UK. Linden is a lifelong honorary member of the European Society for Research on the Education of Adults (ESREA) He has played a key role for many years in coordinating, with international colleagues, two of its networks: the Life History and Biographical Research Network and, more recently, the Transformative Processes in Learning and Education.  


Linden is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce

Research and knowledge exchange

Linden’s research is motivated by concern for people who live and work in marginalised communities. He uses auto/biographical and narrative research, in a clinical style, to illuminate experiences of diverse groups. He works with the Centre for Narrative Research (University of East London), and jointly coordinates the European Society for Research on the Education of Adults (ESREA) Life History and Biography Network.

Distress in the city: racism, fundamentalism and a democratic education

Linden has been researching the rise of racism and fundamentalism in one post-industrial city - Stoke on Trent where he was born. He has completed narrative enquiry among diverse people in the city, which has suffered chronic economic decline, social fragmentation and a crisis of representative politics. Narratives illuminate the rise of Islamic fundamentalist groups, the BNP and EDL. Resources of hope also exist, however, in the Lidice shall live campaign and the history of workers education and in current activities of the WEA. A new book - Distress in the city, is published by Trentham.

Researching critical reflection in the professions

This was a collaborative ESRC seminar series. A book has recently been published by Routledge. 

Retention and Non-traditional learners in European Universities (RANLHE)

Linden was a collaborator in a trans-European study of non-traditional learners in higher education, supported by the European Union’s Lifelong Learning Research programmes.  The study interrogated the factors which promote or inhibit the access, retention and drop-out of non-traditional students in universities. 

Narrative based career counselling

Linden has collaborated with Dr.Hazel Reid, Reader and Director of the Centre for Career and Personal Development, on a project examining the use of narrative methods in career counselling.  This involved engaging with practitioners in workshops to develop narrative approaches in career guidance, then trialing these in practice, and researching the experience in depth, over time.

Teaching and subject expertise

Linden has taught in the Department of Post-Compulsory Education on the BA in Lifelong Learning and  Masters courses. He has also taught on the MA in Career Guidance and Counselling, the MA in Professional Practice in Post-Compulsory Education, and the MA in Early Years. He devised specific modules for the EdD and various MA programmes on the auto/biographical imagination in professional practice. His work for the Erasmus Intensive Programme has significantly enhanced the international engagement of cohorts of doctoral students, from across all the faculties, in collaboration with 4 other European universities. Active networks have continued among the students, via Facebook and other social media.

Linden currently teaches in Educaitonal Studies, the BA in Mentoring and on the revised Doctorate in Education programme, and supervises and has supervised many Masters, EdD and PhD students working on topics such as Education and Working Class Biography, Gender, Class and Education, Life Histories and Literacy in marginalised communities; Motivation and Volunteering; Wisdom and Adult Learning; choosing careers, auto/biographical perspectives; the concept of judgment in critical incidents in police work etc. He has supervised academic colleagues in the Faculty and Health and Well-Being, which has produced curriculum developments in nurse education. He works closely with the School of Law and Criminal Justice and h Social and Applied Sciences in supervising doctoral students on topics such as alcohol abuse and nighttime economies.


Linden has taught Masters and doctoral students in various universities, internationally as well as nationally. He works regularly at the University of Milano Bicocca, and the Université de Paris Nanterre, and was recently invited to teach on the European Masters in Education at the Université de Rouen.

External activities

Linden has edited various international books including ‘Psychoanalysis and Education: Minding a Gap’ and ‘Embodied Narratives: Connecting stories, bodies, cultures and ecologies’.  He is on the scientific boards of a number of international journals, including CLIOPSY, Biografici and Biography, Culture and Lifelong Learning (Busan, S. Korea). His writing is translated into Portuguese, Spanish, Polish, French, Chinese and Italian, and he has taken part in many conferences across the world, including in Brazil, Canada, India, South Korea and the USA.

Linden has played a key role for many years in coordinating, with international colleagues, two of the networks of the European Society for Research on the Education of Adults (ESREA): the ESREA Life History and Biographical Research Network and Transformative Processes in Education. He has been a keynote speaker at a range of national and international conferences.

Linden is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce.

Linden has been an external examiner for EdD and PhD programmes (for example at Exeter and Sussex, as well as in Australia, Canada, France and Denmark). The list specifically includes: External Examiner, EdD, Exeter, 2006-9; External Examiner, PhDs, Surrey, Sussex, Sheffield, Oxford Brookes, Huddersfield, Exeter, University of Siauliai, Lithuania; University of Southern Demark, Odense, Paris Nanterre.

Member, International Scientific Advisory Boad, Institut Sunkhronos, Geneva.

Member Scientific Committee of the Journals: Cliopsy, Biografici and Biography, Culture and Lifelong Learning

Visiting Professor: Paris Nanterre, Milano Bicocca, University of Llubljana, Slovenia and Roskilde University Centre, the National Pedagogic University of Denmark, the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, University of Southern Denmark; the University of Vaxjo, Sweden, and the University of Seville; the University of Southern Silesia and at the University of Wroclaw, Poland.

Registered psychoanalytic psychotherapist. United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy

Publications and research outputs


West L (2014) Transformative learning and the form that transforms: towards a psychosocial theory of recognition using auto/biographical narrative research. Journal of Transformative Education, 12, 2, 164-179.

West, L. R., Fleming, T. and Finnegan, F. (2013) Connecting Bourdieu, Winnicott, and Honneth: understanding the experiences of non-traditional learners through an interdisciplinary lens. Studies in the Education of Adults, 45 (2). 119-134.

Reid, H. and West, L. R. (2011) “Telling tales”: using narrative in career guidance. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 78 (2). 174-183.

Hunt, C. and West, L. R. (2009) Salvaging the self in adult learning. Studies in the Education of Adults, 41 (1). 68-82.

Books and chapters in books

West L (2016) Distress in the city: racism, fundamentalism and democratic education. London: Trentham

West et al (2016) (Eds) Researching critical reflection. London: Routledge

West L and Reid H (2014) Constructing Narratives of Continuity and Change: a transdisciplinary approach to researching lives. London: Routledge.

Reid, H. and West, L. R. (2014) Telling tales: do narrative approaches for career counselling count? In: Arulmani, G., Bakshi, A., Leong, F. and Watts, A., eds. Handbook of career development: International perspectives. Dordrecht: Springer.  413-430

West L, Formenti L and Horsdal M (2014) Embodied Narratives: Connecting Stories, bodies and ecologies.Odense: University Press

West L (2014), Capital Matters, interrogating the sociology of reproduction and the psychosociality of transition and potential transformation in the UK. In F.Finnegan, B.Merrill and C.Thunburg (Eds) Student voices on inequalities in European Higher Education: challenges for theory, policy and practice in a time of change. London: Routledge, 39-51.

West L and Merrill B (2012) Metodi biografica per la ricerca sociale. Milan: Apogeo.

West L and Bainbridge A (2012) Psychoanalysis and Education; minding the gap. London: Karnac

Merrill, B. and West, L. R. (2009) Using biographical methods in social research. London: SAGE.


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Last edited: 05/12/2017 01:27:00