John has been an Australian policy researcher in the area of adult and vocational learning with a special interest in the community education sector.

He was a teacher and researcher in adult and vocational learning for over 25 years at the University of Technology Sydney and its predecessors. For some years he was a member of the Board of Adult and Community Education and sometime Chair of the NSW Advisory Committee on Community Education. He is an Adult Learning Australia Research Fellow.

He has researched capacity building in community adult education providers including Enterprising ACE (ALA, 2010) and Engagement, Knowledge and Capability: Connecting Research and Policy to Practice (for the Victorian ACFE Board, 2007). Download the full report or a journal article.

Since 2010 has been an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education, Science, Technology and Mathematics at the University of Canberra.

In 2012 he contributed a policy history of lifelong learning in adult and vocational education in Australia to the Second International Handbook of Lifelong Learning (Springer 2012). Preview the chapter here.

See biography and recent publications

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Theatre for Children Sydney

John has researched the Theatre for Children founded and directed by Rosemarie Benjamin in Sydney 1937-1957. His uncle was a leading member of the company and held the theatre archive. See the Theatre for Children as webpage or read a journal article. John has discerned the Freudian influence of Susan Isaacs on Benjamin's work. See the Freud and Oceania blog.

History of Wat Buddha Dhamma

Since 2015 John has been writing a history of Wat Buddha Dhamma, with Constance Ellwood. The Wat was a pioneer Theravada Buddhist organisation established as forest monastery, meditation centre and community in 1978 near Wiseman's Ferry, NSW. For a project update and more information, see the Wat Buddha Dhamma history project.

John has a long-standing interest in the Buddhist meditation practice of satipaṭṭhāna vipassanā. He is a member of the Canberra Insight Meditation Group and a Trustee of the Buddha Sāsana Association of Australia that owns and operates the Blue Mountains Insight Meditation Centre.

Australian National Museum of Education


John managed the communications of this museum of schooling based in the Faculty of ESTeM at the University of Canberra, until December 2017.