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The history of the higher education research group

Healey, Ruth; France, Derek; Hill, Jennifer; West, Harry


Ruth Healey

Derek France

Jenny Hill
Associate Professor in Teaching and Learning

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Dr Harry West
Senior Lecturer in Geography & Environmental Management


This paper sets the scene for the discussions that follow by evidencing and reflecting upon the history of the Higher Education Research Group. We report on the purpose of the Group when it was established in the late 1970s as the Higher Education Learning Working Party, and trace its development to late 2019 when its members voted to change the name of the Group to the Geography and Education Research Group. Through a systematic analysis of the annual reports published in Area (from 1980 to 1994) and the minutes of the Annual General Meetings (from 1998 to 2019), alongside personal correspondence with former members of the Committee, we explore the history of the Group. We contend that the Group has passed through four distinct phases related to the broader geography and education context. The recent re-naming of the Group to publicly codify and celebrate the diversity of links between geography and education represents a fifth phase in the Group’s evolution. Throughout its history, the Group has had strong connections with geographies (and geographers) of education across a range of sectoral levels, indicating that this fifth evolutionary phase aligns well with the Group’s original purpose and vision.


Healey, R., France, D., Hill, J., & West, H. (2021, September). The history of the higher education research group. Paper presented at Royal Geographical Society Annual International Conference, Online

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name Royal Geographical Society Annual International Conference
Conference Location Online
Start Date Sep 2, 2021
Deposit Date Sep 2, 2021
Publicly Available Date Sep 2, 2021
Public URL