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)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • 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