Dr Marion Bowl

Senior Lecturer in Education

School of Education

Dr Marion Bowl

Contact details

School of Education
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham
B15 2TT, United Kingdom


Marion is Senior Lecturer in Education in the School of Education, Department for Education and Social Justice. Her areas of research and teaching expertise include post-compulsory education,adult and informal education, widening participation in further and higher education and education in the context of globalisation and internationalisation. In the School of Edication she is the School lead on Erasmus and Study Abroad exchange programmes and Departmental lead on Postrgraduate Research and Internationalisation.  She is also a member of the University's Ethics Committee.


  • PhD Education
  • MA Education
  • BA Sociology
  • Certificate in Community and Youth Work


Marion is a community worker, teacher and academic with over 25 years’ experience of developing, managing and researching adult and community education practice and policy both in the U.K. and overseas. Early in 2009, she returned from three years’ leave of absence in Aotearoa New Zealand where she was Senior Lecturer in Adult and Community Education at the University of Canterbury and Manager of the University’s Adult and Community Education Teaching and Research Team.From 1996-2006, she was responsible for setting up and managing Birmingham Reachout, a community-based widening participation initiative with adults, and for embedding the lessons of this work and research within the further and higher education sectors. Her training portfolio covers a spectrum from management training, to group work and interactive skills. Her teaching work ranges from one-to-one work with adult returners, formal lecturing and PhD supervision. She is Editorial board member of: Learning and Teaching: The International journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences and Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning and the Journal of Adult Learning Aotearoa New Zealand. She is also an Associate of the Higher Education Academy.

She has held a range of management roles in the School of Education, including Head of Division (2003-2006) and Director of Postgraduate Taught Provision (2009-2011).


PhD supervision; postcompulsory education, adult and community education, professional development.

Programme lead: Professional Studies (Ad.Cert, B.Phil, PgCeret, PG.Dip, MEd)

Module Lead: Contemporary Issues in Education (BA Education)

Module lead: Global Education (BA Education)

Module lead: Personal and Professionla Skils for Educational Management (Master's programme)

Contributor: MA Social Research (Action and participatory approaches to research)

                  International Studies in Education (Master's programme)

                  Equality and Diversity (BA Education)

Postgraduate supervision

Marion is interested in undertaking postgraduate supervision in the following areas:

Adult Education, Education and community development, Critical pedagogy, Education in New Zealand, Education in ‘developing’ countries (esp. West Africa), Informal and non - formal education, Post Compulsory Education (in particular mature entry to education), widening participation, Participatory research, action research approaches,
Qualitative approaches to data collection, Research ethics.

Topics of current and recently completed doctoral studies include: 


Her research interests and activities include:

  • Adult and Community Education
  • Lifelong learning
  • Informal and non-formal education
  • Post-compulsory education
  • Widening access to higher education
  • Teaching and learning in tertiary and higher education
  • Participatory research methods and approaches
  • Gender and Adult Education

Recent research includes:

2007-2010 Men's Learning Research Project (Aotearoa New Zealand)
This project is utilising statistical data and empirical research from the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to explore and critique the contention that men are under-represented in adult education and lifelong learning.

April 2009-November 2009 Mature Students Bridging to University: an international evaluation of models and approaches to access (England and New Zealand)
The project explored different models of bridging/access to higher education provision through research undertaken with teachers and managers of Access/Bridging courses in England and New Zealand. It highlighted the ways in which the notion of ‘preparedness’ is integrated into Access/Bridging provision for mature students.

2008-9: ESOL Home Tutors – the role of the organisation and its staff in advocating for refugees and new migrants (Aotearoa New Zealand)
The project involved volunteers, staff and managers of ESOL Home Tutors (New Zealand) in exploring their role as advocates for refugees and new migrants, the ways in which this aspect of the organisation’s work could be profiled and the training needs of those undertaking advocacy. 

November 2007-September 2008: Researching the impact of Adult Learners’ Week He Tangata Matauranga (ACE Aotearoa/Tertiary Education Commission, New Zealand )
The project evaluated the role of Adult Learners’ Week in developing capability and capacity in the adult and community education sector. In Aotearoa New Zealand.

Other activities

Member of ethics committee


Selected publications

Bowl, M. (2014) Adult education practice: Policies, philosophies and professionalism Leicester: NIACE. Book details

Bowl, M. (2013) ''Ducking and Diving' Adult Educator agency in testing times: insights from England and Aotearoa New Zealand. Globalisation, Education and Society (in press)

Bowl, M. et al (eds)(2012) Gender, masculinities and lifelong learning Abingdon: Routledge

Bowl, M. and Tobias, R. (2012) Learning from the past, organizing for the future: Adult and Community Education in Aotearoa New Zealand Adult Education Quarterly (in press)

Bowl, M. (2011) ‘Post Compulsory and Higher Education’ in Arthur, J. and Peterson, A. (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Education Abingdon: Taylor Francis/Routledge

Bowl, M. (2011) Communities of practice, compliance or resistance? Regional networks in the adult and community education sector in Aotearoa New Zealand Community Development Journal 46 (2)

Bowl, M. and Whitelaw, L. (2010) Be prepared: Preparing mature students for university entry in England and AotearoaNew Zealand, Journal of Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning Vol. 12 (special issue): 13-29.

Bowl, M. (2010) University Continuing Education in a Neoliberal Landscape: Developments in England and Aotearoa New Zealand, International Journal of Lifelong Education 29 (6) 723-738

Bowl, M. ,with  Leahy, J and Tully, L (2010) The complexity of collaboration: Opportunities and challenges, Gateways: International Journal of Community Research and Engagement (online)

Bowl, M. (2010) Struggling Against the Tide?  University Continuing Education in Aotearoa New Zealand, Journal of Adult Learning Aotearoa New Zealand 38 (1): 45-56

Bowl, M. (2010) Post Compulsory and Higher Education in Arthur, J. and Peterson, A. (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Education Abingdon: Taylor Francis/Routledge

Hockings, C., Cooke, S. and Bowl, M. (2010) Learning and teaching in two universities within the context of increasing student diversify: complexity, contradictions and challenges, in David, M. (ed.) Improving Learning by Widening Participation in Higher Education Abingdon: Routledge.

pdficonsmall Publications from 2008 - 2011 (PDF 132KB)

pdficonsmall Publications 2001 - 2007 (PDF 131KB)

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