Department of Education

Anne Edwards

Professor Emeritus

College Affiliation: St Hilda's College

Anne joined the Department in 2005 having held Chairs at the Universities of Leeds and Birmingham. She was Director of the Department for three years (January 2010 to December 2012) and when not in that post, she was its Director of Research.

Anne is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and is a former President of the British Educational Research Association. She was a member of the ESRC’s Research Grants Board between 2003 and 2007 and a member of the Education sub-panel in the 2008 UK Research Assessment Exercise. She was also a visiting Professorship at the University of Oslo from 2007 to 2016 and has been awarded Doctorates honoris causa by the Universities of Helsinki and Oslo. She is co-founder with Geoff Hayward of OSAT (the Oxford Centre for Sociocultural and Activity Theory Research), is a founding editor of Learning Culture and Social Interaction and remains a member of its editorial board. She is currently a Fellow of St Hilda’s College, undertakes research evaluations for several research councils worldwide and has been involved in a number of institutional reviews.


Anne’s research draws on cultural historical approaches to learning. She focuses on professional learning and in particular the relational turn in expertise and the concepts of relational expertise, common knowledge and relational agency. These ideas are discussed in her 2010 book with Springer. In her recent edited book Working relationally in and across practices (Cambridge, 2017) researchers, who work with her ideas have tested, stretched and refined these concepts in a range of different settings.

Her research on practice, professional expertise and inter-professional work with vulnerable children and families also informs her interest in user engagement with research and its implications for the design of educational research. User engagement was discussed in her 2011 book with Mark Rickinson and Judy Sebba and in a recent study of knowledge exchange in the social sciences based in Oxford.

As well as being a member of project advisory boards in Denmark, Norway and the UK, Anne is a team member in a University of Oslo NRC-funded study of how teachers of shy and withdrawn children work successfully with them. In Oxford she is studying how working relationally across practices can ease the transitions into work of young people with autistic spectrum disorders. These ideas are to be explored in her up-coming book on transitions with Mariane Hedegaard. She also continues to work and write on teacher education and is currently co-editing two books on cultural-historical approaches to learning and a Special Issue of Learning Culture and Social Interaction.

Publications since 2009


• Edwards, A., Daniels, H., Gallagher, T., Leadbetter, J. & Warmington, P. (2009) Improving Inter-professional Collaborations: multi-agency working for children’s wellbeing London: Routledge.
• Daniels, H.,  Edwards, A., Engeström, Y. &Ludvigsen, S. (Eds.) (2009) Activity Theory in Practice: promoting learning across boundaries and agencies London: Routledge.
• Ellis, V., Edwards, A. & P. Smagorinsky, P.  (Eds.) (2009) Learning Teaching: cultural historical perspectives on teacher education and development London: Routledge.
• Edwards, A. (2010) Being an Expert Professional Practitioner: the relational turn in expertise Dordrecht: Springer.
• Rickinson, M., Sebba, J. & Edwards, A. (2011) Improving User-engagement in Educational Research London: Routledge.
• Hedegaard, M., Edwards, A. & Fleer, M. (Eds.) (2012) Motives, Emotions and Values in the Development of Children and Young People. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
• Wells, G. & Edwards, A. (Eds.) (2013) Pedagogy in Higher Education Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
• Edwards, A. (Ed.) (2017) Working Relationally In and Across Practices: cultural-historical approaches to collaboration. New York: Cambridge.

Chapters in books

• Edwards, A.  (2009) Becoming a Teacher, in H. Daniels, J. Porter & H. Lauder (Eds.) Educational Theories, Cultures and Learning: vol 1. London: Routledge, pp. 153-164.
• Edwards, A. (2009) Agency and Activity Theory: from the systemic to the relational, in A Sannino, H Daniels & K. Guttierez (Eds.) Learning and Expanding with Activity Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 197-211.
• Edwards, A. and Kinti I. (2009) Working Relationally at Organisational Boundaries: negotiating expertise and identity, in H. Daniels, A. Edwards, Y. Engeström & S. Ludvigsen (Eds.)  Activity Theory in Practice: promoting learning across boundaries and agencies. London: Routledge, pp. 126-139.
• Edwards, A. (2010) How can CHAT help us to understand and develop teacher education?, in V. Ellis, A. Edwards & P. Smagorinsky (Eds.) Learning Teaching: cultural historical perspectives on teacher education and development. London: Routledge, pp. 63-77.
• Edwards, A. (2010) Learning How to Know Who: professional learning for expansive practice between organisations, in S Ludvigsen, A. Lund, I. Rasmussen & R. Saljo (Eds.) Learning Across Sites. London: Routledge, pp. 17-32.
• Edwards, A.  (2010) Qualitative Designs and Analysis, in G. MacNaughton, S. Rolfe & I. Siraj-Blatchford (Eds.) Doing Early Childhood Research: Theory and Process: an international perspective 2nd Edition. Melbourne: Allen and Unwin, pp.155-175.
• Edwards, A. (2012) Expertise in the Children’s Workforce: knowledge and motivation in engagement with children, in M. Hedegaard, A. Edwards & M. Fleer (Eds.) (2012) Motives, Emotions and Values in the Development of Children and Young People, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 173-190.
• Edwards, A. & Ellis, V.  (2012) The Professional Development of Teachers: European perspectives, in C. Day (Ed.) International Handbook on Teacher and School Development. London: Routledge.
• Edwards, A. (2012) User Engagement and the Processes of Educational Research, in L. Farrell & T. Fenwick (Eds.) Knowledge Mobilization and Educational Research: politics, languages and responsibilities. London:  Routledge
• Daniels, H. & Edwards, A. (2012) Integrating Children’s Services, in G. Head (Ed.) Professionals, Children and the Community: working together, London: Pearson.
• Edwards, A. & Thompson, M. (2013) Resourceful Leadership: revealing the creativity of organizational leaders, in A. Sannino & V. Ellis (Eds.) Learning and Collective Creativity: Activity-Theoretical and Sociocultural Studies. London: Routledge.  pp. 49-64.
• Childs, A., Edwards, A. & McNicholl, J. (2013) Developing a Multi-layered System of Distributed Expertise: What does cultural historical theory bring to understandings of workplace learning in school university partnerships?, in O. McNamara et al. (Eds.) Teacher Learning in the Workplace: widening perspectives on practice and policy. Dordecht: Springer. pp. 29-45.
• Lundsteen, N. & Edwards, A. (2013) Internship: navigating the practices of an investment bank, in G. Wells &   Edwards (Eds.) Pedagogy in Higher Education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.pp.155-168.
• Edwards, A. (2014) Learning from Experience in teaching; a cultural historical critique, in V. Ellis & J. Orchard (Eds.) Learning Teaching from Experience: Multiple Perspectives, International Contexts. London: Bloomsbury.pp.47-61.
• Edwards, A. (2014) Designing Tasks which Engage Learners with Knowledge, in I. Thompson (Ed.) Task Design,Subject Pedagogy and Student Engagement. London: Routledge. pp. 13-27.
• Edwards, A. (2016) A Cultural-historical Approach to Practice: working within and across practices, in J. Lynch et al. (Eds.) Practice Theory: Diffractive readings in professional practice and education. London: Routledge.pp.127-140.
• Edwards, A. (2017) Cultural-historical Approaches to Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: teaching to support student agency, in B. Leibowitz, V. Bozalek & P. Kahn (Eds.) Theorising Learning to Teach in Higher Education. London: Taylor and Francis. pp.124-138.
• Edwards, A. (2017) Introductory chapter, final chapter and a joint chapter on knowledge exchange in the social sciences with E. Stamou, in A. Edwards (Ed.), Working Relationally In and Across Practices: cultural-historical approaches to collaboration. New York: Cambridge.
• Edwards, A. (2017) Cultural Historical Theory and Pedagogy: the influence of Vygotsky on the field, in R. MacLean (Ed.) pp. Handbook on Life in Schools and Classrooms: Past, present and future visions. Dordrecht, Springer. pp. 153-166.
• Edwards, A. (2017) Relational Expertise: a cultural-historical approach to teacher education, in Peters, B. Cowie & I Menter (Eds.) A Companion to Research in Teacher Education. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 555-567.
• Edwards, A. & Montecinos, C. (2017) Working Relationally on Complex Problems: building the capacity for joint agency in new forms of work, in M. Goller & S. Paloniemi (Eds.) Agency at Work. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 229-247.
• Edwards, A. (in press) The Dialectic of Person and Practice: how cultural-historical accounts of agency can inform teacher education, in J. Clandinin & J. Husu (Eds.) International Handbook on Research on Teacher Education, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Refereed articles

• Edwards, A. (2009) Understanding Boundaries in Inter-professional Work, The Scottish Educational Review, 41, 1, 5-21.
• Edwards, A. (2009) Relational Agency in Collaborations for the Wellbeing of Children and Young People, Journal of Children’s Services, 4, 1, 33-43.
• Shaw, I., Morris, K &. Edwards, A. (2009) Technology, Social Services and Organizational Innovation or How Great Expectations in London and Cardiff are Dashed in Lowestoft and Cymtyrch, Journal of Social Work Practice,  23, 4, 383 – 400.
• Edwards, A., Lunt, I. & Stamou, E. (2010) Inter-professional Work and Expertise: new roles at the boundaries of schools, British Educational Research Journal, 36, 1. 27-45.
• Edwards, A. (2011) Building Common Knowledge at Boundaries between Professional Practices, International Journal of Educational Research 50 (1) 33-39.
• Edwards, A & Daniels, H. (2012) The knowledge that matters in professional practices Journal of Education and Work 25(1), 33-39.
• Edwards, A. (2012) The role of common knowledge in achieving collaboration across practices Learning Culture and Social Interaction 1(1), 22-32.
• Edwards, A. (2015) A Tool for Public Services Research and Development, International Journal of Public Management. 11(1) 21-33.
• Edwards, A. (2015) Discussant’s Comments: Recognising and Realising Teachers’ Professional Agency, Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice. 21(6), 779-784.
• Fancourt, N., Edwards, A. & Menter, I. (2015) Reimagining a School – University Partnership: the development of the Oxford Education Deanery narrative, Education Inquiry, 6(3). 353-373.
• Hopwood, N., Day, C. & Edwards, A. (2016) Partnership Practice as Collaborative Knowledge Work: overcoming common dilemmas through an augmented view of professional expertise, Journal of Children’s Services. 11(2), 111-123.
• Engeness, I. & Edwards, A. (2016) The Complexity of Learning: Exploring the Interplay of Different Mediational Means in Group Learning with Digital Tools, Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research.
• Hopwood, N. & Edwards, A. (2017) How common knowledge is constructed and why it matters in collaboration between professionals and clients, International Journal of Educational Research, 83, 107–119.


• Edwards, A. and Stamou, E. (2009) The Development of Preventative Practices in England: implications for the children’s workforce. DCSF: Children’s Workforce Development Council
• Hannan, S., Canwell, A. Longfils, H. and Edwards, A. (2011) The Resourceful Leader, Nottingham: National College
• Daniels, H. and Edwards, A. (2012) Leading the Learning: how the intelligent leader builds capacity. Nottingham: National College.
• Edwards, A. and Downes, P. (2013) Alliances for Inclusion: cross-sector policy synergies and inter-professional collaboration in and around schools. NESET for the European Commission.
• Alexander, P., Edwards, A., Fancourt, N. and Menter, I. (2014) Raising and Sustaining Aspiration in City Schools. Oxford University for the CitiFoundation.
• Edwards, A. (2015) Inter-professional Working in and around Schools, in C. McLaughlin (Ed.) The Connected School: a design for wellbeing. London: Pearson / NCB

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