Curriculum Vitae (synoptic)
1968 - 1971
||BSc (Leeds) IIi Hons
|University of Nottingham
1971 - 1974
||PhD (Nottingham) Physiology
of reproduction in mammals 1978
1977 - 1978
in Education (Leeds)
||Freelance Writer and
of Malawi, Senior Lecturer in Biology Education
|1993 - 1994
||Freelance Writer and
|1989 - 1992
of Technology and Arts, Head of Division of Science
|1987 - 1989
Borough Council Education Directorate,
Planning Officer for Further Education
|1983 - 1987
Institute of Higher Education, Lecturer II in Biology
|1978 - 1983
Institute of Higher Education, Lecturer I in Biology
|1975 - 1976
||St Bernadette's School,
Nottingham, Science Teacher
||Member of the Institute
of Biology Yorkshire branch committee member
||Member of the British
Association of Science Writers
I've had a lifelong fascination
with science, and especially biology. I am intrigued by the continually
unfolding story of how our complex material world operates. I am
also interested in the impacts of scientific discovery and technological
development on peoples' lives, their wider environment and the natural
world. I learnt from my time in science
education that one of the best ways to understand something is to
try to explain it to someone else. Writing, with its opportunities
to inform and entertain, is another way of advancing my own understanding
by explanation. If all goes well, the results are concise, coherent
Having travelled a fair amount,
I don't have a parochial, Eurocentric view of science and technology.
I recently worked in science
education in Africa (in Malawi) and I have also travelled independently
in other African countries, the Indian subcontinent and south-east Asia.
I'm interested in stories that explore the relationship between western
science and the indigenous cultures of such countries.
More about the writing I
offer may be found at services, while a selection
of credits and samples of work may be found at credits.
I am an entirely self-taught
photographer. My interest in the medium was stimulated in the mid
1980s when I started a succession of independent trips to south-east Asia,
the Indian subcontinent and Africa. In wanting to bring back a record
of my first trip to the Malaysian rain forest, I discovered there is more
to photography than 'point 'n press' and an eye for composition.
Over the next few years I learnt from my mistakes to develop a range of
professional skills, both artistic and technical. My photographs have
since appeared in a variety of publications, as both stand alone reproductions
and combined with my own text in several photofeatures. A collection
of African images is managed by a photographic library. For more
about my photography visit services.
Stock lists and more pictures may be found in the gallery
pages, and samples of published work at credits.
In the early 1970s I started
my PhD at Nottingham University. At that time, I was fascinated
by the strategies that mammals in different environments adopt to
ensure successful reproduction. I was also interested in how advancing
knowledge of physiology could be used to manipulate and manage reproduction
in farm animals and humans.
In my work on the laboratory
rat, I developed a radio-immuno assay to investigate patterns in the
secretion of testosterone by the male, and the role of the hormone in
modulating the effects of environmental change on the reproductive system.
I showed that testosterone levels in the blood are not stable.
Several peaks and troughs occur throughout a day, levels vary seasonally
(even in the apparently constant and stable environment of the laboratory
rat colony) and change with age after puberty. Raised testosterone
levels are found in the proximity of oestrus (receptive) females, and
when males search for females using only the sense of smell. The
work contributed to the emerging story of the endocrine control of the
male reproductive system and sexual behaviour.
and environmental education
At Nottingham University I did
a lot of laboratory demonstration work and project supervision - the start
of my exploration of life science education over the next 15 years.
After school teaching in Nottingham, I took a Postgrad.Cert.Ed. at Huddersfield
Polytechnic, and spent the following nine years as a biology lecturer
at Doncaster Metropolitan Institute of Higher Education.
The challenge in any area
of science education is to help students gain the analytic and linguistic
skills that are essential for understanding and practice. Within
academic and vocational education for the 16-19 and adult sectors, those
challenges are enhanced by the huge diversity of courses, and by a wide
range of individual abilities and backgrounds. Building the materials
and refining the skills on which successful teaching and learning depend
kept me fully occupied for nearly a decade.
Colleges of Further and Higher
education must respond rapidly to changing patterns of demography and
employment. In the table of teaching programmes below, some courses
lasted but others came and went as society changed dramatically.
In South Yorkshire, throughout the 1980s, the demise of the traditional
industrial base of coal and steel affected all walks of life, altering
the very fabric of society. It was a time and a place where the
impact of technological change and social policy were keenly felt.
I learnt that demonstrating the relevance of science education to the
lives of ordinary people could be as important as the development of
and environmental science
for industry and
science for the
Hygiene BERB Preliminary Certificate in Ionising Radiations; Non-ionising
and C&G courses in Catering and Hairdressing
teachers) Diploma in Environmental Studies (Sheffield)
Higher Certificate Chemistry (Toxicology)
A and O Level/GCSE Biology, Human Biology, Environmental Science
Science (full-time, part-time, and by distance learning)
Diploma in Environmental Sciences
studies for mining industry courses
management, employment research, line management
In the late 1980s a series of
initiatives from the then Conservative Government were aimed at making
the Further and Higher Education service more responsive to, and accountable
to their core markets of employment and continuing education. As
part of that process, I was seconded to manage the production of the Further
Education Development Plan for the Doncaster Local Education Authority
area. I produced two, highly regarded, three-year rolling development
plans that modelled the procedures for course development by colleges,
and their responsiveness to changing patterns of demography and employment.
In addition, I managed applications for grant-aid, bringing in funds for
several FE development projects. These included a research assistant
post to establish greater efficiency in gathering the national, regional
and local intelligence used by employers and training providers - a project
which I supervised.
In 1989, I took up the post
of Head of Division of Science and Mathematics at Chesterfield College
of Arts and Technology, a line management responsibility for some 30
full and part-time lecturers, their ancillary staff and the development
of courses in science and mathematics. After three years, as the
college prepared for its incorporation as an independent institution,
I took the opportunity to change direction and explore new horizons
in science education in developing countries, science writing and photography.
education in developing countries
One should never live in the
'land of regrets', a fate for myself, had I not fulfilled a long-held
ambition to work in a developing country - to experience at first-hand
both cultural diversity with its rich rewards, and the challenges faced
by third world nations in their search for a route out of poverty.
In September 1994, I started
work as Senior Lecturer in Biology Education at the University of Malawi.
I was employed on a local contract, earning a pitifully low salary by
western standards, but a fortune to the overwhelming majority of people
in this exceedingly poor country. I stayed for two years, teaching
B.Ed. students the theory and practice of science education, supervising
their work in schools throughout the country, and developing teaching
materials for the University's Curriculum Department. I also worked
with NGOs including VSO, on their inservice training programmes.
Though economically impoverished,
Malawi is rich in natural beauty. I enjoyed to the full the wonderful
opportunities open to the enthusiastic naturalist in this land of mountains,
forests and lakes. But life in Malawi is a bitter-sweet experience.
Some of the world's most spectacular scenery, and the Malawians' great
charm and friendliness in spite of adversity, vie for attention with
the terrible ravages of AIDS, malaria, malnutrition and environmental
My time in the country provided
many opportunities for photography, and I supplemented my income with
photographic commissions for aid agencies. A selection of
pictures from Malawi can be found in the galleries.
I also gathered material for subsequent writing. You can find more on
Malawi in some of my recent articles.
An audio-visual presentation about Malawi and its people is available.