A philosopher and theorist of education, Liam Francis Gearon is a specialist in critical, historical and contemporary analyses of education in multi-disciplinary contexts. His research takes a multiplicity of methodological and theoretical approaches:
- philosophical and history of ideas approaches to religion in education, particularly focused on the epistemological foundations of contemporary religious education, post-Enlightenment paradigms of religion in education, political theologies, particularly the politicisation and securitisation of religion in education (key works including the award-winning On Holy Ground; MasterClass in Religious Education; and highlighted in numerous journal articles discussing the ‘Gearon-Jackson’ debate);
- philosophy of education through history of ideas applications to cultural and political life, particularly analyses of the arts and literature, including multiple grant funded projects, articles, edited collections, monographs, seminars, conferences and international colloquia with beyond-the-Academy impacts;
- the historical emergence and contemporary governance of human rights education, particularly historical-political framings of totalitarianism;
- the historical and theoretical framing of UK-US security and intelligence agency relationships with universities, including a guest edited volume of British Journal of Educational Studies which initiated this sub-field, conceptualisations of the securitised university, and collaborations with US Military Intelligence on research ethics; and, drawing together many elements of the foregoing;
- the historical determinants of counter-extremism in education, including recent substantial articles on counter-terrorism, publications on value learning and the life trajectory, and empirical research with Arniika Kuusisto (Helsinki/Stockholm/Oxford) on value learning and life history research in political and security contexts, a four year collaborative project funded by the Academy of Finland.
Concurrently Conjoint Professor at the University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Liam was formerly Adjunct Professor at the Australian Catholic University and also previously Professor of Education at the University of Roehampton and Research Professor at the Faculty of Education, University of Plymouth. With a published doctorate in English Literature, I am the author and or editor of over thirty books and seventy peer-review articles and chapters in a multiple range of disciplines, including the arts, literature and philosophy, political theology, as well as citizenship, human rights and religion in education.
As Principal Investigator, he led research projects over twenty years, with funding including the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the British Academy, the Leverhulme Trust, the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain, and the Society for Educational Studies, with recent co-investigator roles with the Academy of Finland.
For over two decades, this scholarship has transgressed but interconnected the epistemological boundaries between the arts, humanities and social sciences, enabling new theoretical directions and research collaborations to create problem-solving frameworks for interdisciplinary investigation.
He has delivered keynote lectures, seminars and colloquia in Australia, Austria, Canada, Dubai, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Georgia (former Soviet Union), Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, Turkey and the United States.
He has recently convened two major international invitation-colloquia which have attempted to extend the theoretical boundaries of educational studies. With substantial funding from the Society for Educational Studies, these colloquia were both convened at Oriel College, Oxford:
- Education, Security and Intelligence Studies (2017)
- Writers and their Education (with Emma Williams) (2018)
Further details are available at http://soc-for-ed-studies.org.uk/seminars/, and both colloquia continuing to produce a number of individual and collaborative research outputs.
He has guest edited seven international peer-review journals, including the British Journal of Children’s Spirituality (on Children’s Rights), the British Journal of Religious Education (on Religion, Human Rights and Religious Education), Education Research International (with Kirsi Tirri, Terence Lovat and Elizabeth Campbell on The Moral Core of Teaching); the British Journal of Educational Studies (twice, on Education, Security and Intelligence Studies; and guest editing this journal a second time for a forthcoming special issue on Writers and their Education); the international journal Religions for a special issue on Religion, Security and Education; and with Emma Williams the Journal of Philosophy of Education (on Philosophy, Literature and Education).
A Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA), and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), Liam Francis Gearon is an appointed member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Peer Review College and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Peer Review College, serving too on the Peer Review College of Research Councils UK Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).
He has also made sustained contributions of service to the following international research councils: Academy of Finland; Austrian Science Fund; EU 7th Framework Program for Research; Hong Kong Research Grants Council’s Public Policy Research Fund; Irish Research Council; National Research Foundation, South Africa; and Templeton Foundation.
A graduate of the Curtis Brown novel-writing course, his debut novel, Eleven Notebooks, is published in 2018. A further novel is forthcoming, The Corridor of Centuries.