Professor John William Morgan

PhD, MA, BSc(Hons), PGCE


I joined the University of Auckland in May 2012. Before that, I worked at both the University of Bristol and the Institute of Education, University of London. My academic career developed out of my 10-year experience of teaching Geography in London schools and colleges. I subsequently trained beginning geography teachers, and continued to explore my own interest in the history and politics of school geography teaching.  I have published widely in the field of geography education, including three books, the most recent being Teaching Secondary Geography as if the Planet Matters (Routledge 2011). In 2005 I was seconded to work at Futurelab (a not-for-profit educational research and development lab) to lead a project called Enquiring Minds, funded by Microsoft under its global Partners in Learning programme ( This project led me into a number of areas that have since defined my research interests. The close involvement with schools and teachers has led to a focus on the question of how schools and curriculum change (and also why they often don't); the technology-focus of the project led me to research the way that digital futures are imagined to transform schooling and young people's lives; and the experience of working with a global corporation which has a grand vision of what 21st century learning should entail has led to my interest in the political economies of education and educational futures. In addition to this, I am exploring the cultural politics of curriculum debates in the UK, as part of my co-directorship of the Faculty of Education Knowledge and Education Research Unit.

As well as Masters' and doctoral supervision, I teach courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate level on social studies, education for sustainability, and curriculum studies, and maintain my interest in geography education. I am currently working on two University of Auckland funded research projects. One exploring the commercialisation strategies of New Zealand universities, and the other examining alternative food networks in Auckland.

I hold the belief that universities remain places where there is a space to explore our intellectual passions and my location witihin an education faculty provides the opportunity to work with people committed to improving the quality of education.


Research | Current

A key focus of John's research is geographical education, where he has published widely. Focus on this area has led to a wider interest in curriculum studies and curriculum change and John's more recent work focuses on the social and cultural aspects of educational politics.

Postgraduate supervision

Recently completed Masters' theses:

  • Zahera Alanfooz (2013) Producing Global Citizenship through Geography Educatoin: New Zealand Geographical Imaginations. University of Auckland.
  • Catharine Quirk-Marku (2012) Develooing Student Agency: an empirical study of the impac tof developing student agency amongst sixtf-form students. University of Bristol.
  • Montserrat Casaneuva (2011) A Documentary Study of the Mexican government's attempts to minimize the digital divide in public education, 2000-2010. University of Bristol.
  • Diana Larsson (2011) Modernities and Geographical Education: a comparative studies of Romania, Sweden and England. Institute of Education, University of London (awarded with Distinction).
  • Judith Reed (2011) Primary School Geography Fieldwork: a valuable learning experience? Institute of Education, University of London.
  • Anistis Kokkanides (2010) The Politics of Scale: a comparative study of Greek Geography Textbooks, 1970-2010. Institute of Education, University of London.
  • Nichola Reckless (2010) 'My Place': Hacking into the curriculum - how might digital literacy impact geography classrooms. Institute of Education, University of London.
  • Indra Persaud (2010) Teaching Geography: the Journal - a critical discourse analysis. Institute of Education, University of London (awarded with Distinction).
  • Amy McKenzie (2010) Developing Literacy through Geography: improving students' awareness of literacy through subject-soecific teaching. Institute of Education, University of London.

Completed Doctoral supervisions:

  • Pao-Jing Chan ‘Curriculum Reform and Citizenship: A Comparison between Taiwan and England’ (started 2007, completed 2011)
  • Mary Fargher ‘Geography, GIS and Place’ (started 2008)
  • Judith Hemingway ‘Spatializing Drugs Discourses: cultural geographies/pedagogies of ‘illicit’ drug-using’ (completed 2001)
  • Phillip Wright ‘Holistic Philosophy and Classroom Practice: an investigative study of the Steiner-Waldorf approach to teaching geography’ (Started 2007, completed 2010)
  • Jessica Pykett ‘The Geographies of Citizenship Education’ (started 2004, completed 2007)

Areas of expertise

  • Digitial media, culture and education
  • Geographical Education
  • Education for Sustainable Development
  • Social and cultural studies of education
  • Curriculum studies
  • Political economy of education

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Morgan, J. (2019). The cultural economies of national curriculum-making: the cases of England and Wales. Curriculum Perspectives, 39 (2), 181-185. 10.1007/s41297-019-00076-2
  • Morgan, J., Hordern, J., & Hoadley, U. (2019). On the politics and ambition of the ‘turn’: unpacking the relations between Future 1 and Future 3. Curriculum Journal, 30 (2), 105-124. 10.1080/09585176.2019.1575254
  • Morgan, J. (2018). Culture and the Political Economy of Schooling What's Left for Education?. Routledge. Pages: 220.
  • Morgan, J. (2017). Learning from cities: a cautionary note about urban/childhood/nature entanglements. Environmental Education Research, 23 (10), 1369-1378. 10.1080/13504622.2017.1325449
  • Morgan, J., Hoadley, U., & Barrett, B. (2017). Knowledge, Curriculum and Equity Social Realist Perspectives. Routledge.
  • Matthewman, S., Morgan, J., Mullen, M., Hindle, R., & Johansson, M. (2017). Teaching literacy in a time of environmental crisis. Set: Research Information for Teachers, 2017 (3), 26-31.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Molly Mullen
  • Morgan, J. (2017). Persevering with geography. Documents d'Anàlisi Geogràfica, 63 (3), 529-544. 10.5565/rev/dag.457
  • Morgan, J. W. (2017). Teaching geography for sustainability. In M. Jones (Ed.) The handbook of secondary geography (pp. 92-105). Sheffield: Geographical Association.

Contact details

Alternative contact

Level 5, Room 6EN-553D

Primary office location

Level 3, Room 301

Web links