Linden West

Linden West

Hall of Fame Class of 2020

Dr. Linden West is internationally recognized for his inspirational scholarship, advocacy and practice. He has influenced adult education across Europe and North America with scholarship that encompasses popular education, adult learner motivation, professional learning, career and life choices, family learning, racism and fundamentalism. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) degree from the University of Keele, a master’s clinical degree in psychoanalytic psychotherapy from the University of Kent, a Master of Philosophy degree from the Open University, and a Ph.D. from Kent.

West’s most notable achievement has been to challenge adult education scholars to transcend disciplinary and conceptual boundaries by integrating psychoanalytic perspectives with critical theory to refine a theory of self/other recognition that encompasses intimate relationships, along with cultural, imaginal and unconscious processes in adult learning.

He used these approaches to establish a highly successful autobiographical and narrative research theme group as a professor of education at Canterbury Christ Church University, focusing on the learning and educational processes among professionals, families, nontraditional adults entering universities, and learners and those alienated from learning in postindustrial communities.

Before moving into Local Education Authority adult education, his career began as a community developer and researcher in university adult education. He was head of adult basic education in Edinburgh, and chair of the Scottish Right to Learn Campaign. He became secretary of the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) in Oxford, working closely with the University Department for Continuing Education to develop and research working-class, second- chance adult education programs.

As Lecturer in the Theory and Practice of Continuing Education, he developed a master’s program and trained as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist to understand the lives of adults, along with their resilience and struggles, in greater depth. He also undertook research into family learning programs in marginalized communities while at the University of East London.

Widely published in both adult education and research methodology, his writing is translated into many languages. His book Distress in the City: Racism, Fundamentalism and a Democratic Education has been widely acclaimed while Tra n s fo r m i n g Perspectives in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education, co-authored with Laura Formenti, won the 2019 Cyril O. Houle Prize for Outstanding Literature in Adult Education.

He was director of the EU financed ERASMUS intensive methodology program from 2012-2015 and has led the European Society for Research on the Education of Adults Life History and Biography Network and jointly coordinates the Network on Transformative Processes in Learning and Education. As director of research development at CCCU, he has mentored many adult graduate and doctoral students. He has served as a visiting professor at Université de Paris Nanterre, the University of Milano-Bicocca and Michigan State University and is consulting editor for the Journal of Transformative Education, Research on the Education and Learning of Adults, Culture, Biography and Society, and CLIOPSY. He is a lifelong honorary member of SCUTREA and Steward of the International Transformative Learning Conference.

West was made a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, Manufacture and Commerce (RSA), in recognition of his diverse achievements, as well as a Fellow of the United Kingdom Higher Education Academy. He won a 2016 award for his outstanding contribution to the theory and practice of transformative learning at the 12th International Conference on Transformative Learning.

He is presently working as a consultant on a European Union financed project – CURE – designed to cultivate active citizenship and democratic values in teaching, learning and curriculum design in Israel and Georgia, in addition to undertaking in-depth biographical research among groups of Palestinian and Israeli academics and educators, and is seeking to develop experiential, dialogical adult education for peace in zones of conflict.