Associate Professor - Education and Outdoor Learning
Programme Area Lead - Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning
School of Education
Mark is an Associate Professor of Education in the Institute of Education. He is Programme Lead for BA (Hons) Outdoor Adventure Education and lead tutor on the MRes (Outdoor Education). Current PhD supervision, PhD examination, and his own research allows Mark to be at the cutting edge of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning. Mark enjoys working with all students and the different challenges they bring.
At Marjon, Mark shares his experience and is involved in various activities that sit outside his programme responsibilities. He is an academic representative on the Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee, and a member of the PIF (Pedagogic Innovation Forum), and SCION (Sustainability, Creativity and Innovation) Knowledge & Exchange Group. click here.
Mark is co-convenor for the British Educational Research Association of Nature Outdoor Learning and Play, a special interest group - click here.
Mark has extensive experience working in diverse sectors of education, including secondary education, residential education, outdoor centres, American summer camps, and sailing schools. He is passionate about international and cultural opportunities for students and colleagues.
Mark is available for consultancy and media work.
Selected research is available on ResearchGate.
Leather, M. (in press). What Works - Outdoor education and physical activity (England). In S. Blandford & S. Burkey (Eds.), Teaching and Learning to Unlock Social Mobility for Every Child: Building Learning Futures, Chapter 9 A global approach – Reviewing What Works. Routledge.
Lee, E. Y., de Lannoy, L., Li, L., de Barros, M. I. A., Bentsen, P., Brussoni, M., ... Leather, M., ... & Tremblay, M. S. (2022). Play, Learn, and Teach Outdoors—Network (PLaTO-Net): terminology, taxonomy, and ontology. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 19(1), 1-20.
Cottrill, R., Molyneux, J., Gill, V., Yanishevskaya, M., Main, H., Van Zanten, B., Greet, S., & Leather, M. (2022). Evaluation of Educational Access final report for Natural England. ECORYS.
Hayes, T. & Leather, M. & Passy, R. (2021). (Eds.). Wellbeing and being outdoors. Blog Series 9 June 2021. British Educational Research Association. https://www.bera.ac.uk/blog-series/wellbeing-being-outdoors
Hayes, T. & Leather, M. (2021). (Eds.). The serious side of nature, outdoor learning & play: International perspectives. Research Intelligence summer 147. British Educational Research Association.
Leather, M. & Thorsteinsson, J. (2021). Developing a Sense of Place. In G. Thomas, J. Dyment, & H. Prince (Eds.). Outdoor Environmental Education in Higher Education: International Perspectives, pp. 51-60. Springer. ISBN: 978-3-030-75979
Leather, M., Harper, N., & Obee, P. (2021). A pedagogy of play. Reasons to be playful in post-secondary education. Journal of Experiential Education, 44(3) 208–226. https://doi.org/10.1177/1053825920959684
Leather, M., Fewings, G. & Porter, S. (2020). Outdoor education: the Romantic origins at the University of St Mark and St John. History of Education Review. 49(1), 85-100. https://doi.org/10.1108/HER-04-2019-0009
Quay, J., Gray, T., Thomas, G., Allen-Craig, S., Asfeldt, M., Andkjaer, S. Beames, S., Cosgriff, M., Dyment, J., Higgins, P., Ho, S., Leather, M., Mitten, D., Morse, M., Neill, J. North, C., Passy, R., Pederson-Gurholt, K., Polley, S., Stewart, A., Takano, T., Waite, S., & Foley, D. (2020). What future/s for outdoor and environmental education in a world that has contended with COVID-19? Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42322-020-00062-7
Leather, M. (2020). Finding my professional voice: Autobiography as a research method for outdoor studies in B. Humberstone and H. Prince (Eds.). Research Methods in Outdoor Studies. Routledge.
Gibson, K. & Leather, M. (2020). Mixed methods research: Paradigmatic considerations for outdoor studies in B. Humberstone and H. Prince (Eds.). Research Methods in Outdoor Studies. Routledge.
Leather, M., & Gibson, K. (2019). The consumption and hyperreality of nature: Greater affordances for Outdoor Learning. Curriculum perspectives, 39(1), 79-83. https://doi.org/10.1007/s41297-019-00063-7
Leather, M. (2019). Pasts and Presents Making Connections with the Sea: A Matter of a Personal and Professional Heimat, in K. Peters & M. Brown, (Eds.). Living with the Sea: Knowledge, Awareness and Action. Routledge Studies in Human Geography. pp 196-212. Taylor & Francis. ISBN: 9781138062078
Leather, M. (2018). Outdoor education in the National Curriculum: the shifting sands in formal education, in P. Becker, B. Humberstone C. Loynes, & J. Schirp, (Eds.). The Changing World of Outdoor Learning in Europe. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. (Chapter 12). ISBN: 9781138047662
Leather, M (2018). (Ed.). Atmospheres and Hauntings: Book of Extended Abstracts for the European Institute for Outdoor Adventure Education and Experiential Learning Conference. Plymouth: Plymouth Marjon University. ISBN: 978-0-9955996-4-2
Leather, M. (2018). A critique of Forest School: something lost in translation. Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education. 21(1), 5-18. doi: 10.1007/s42322-017-0006-1
Leather, M. (2018) The water environment and informal education, in T. Jeffs & J. Ord (Eds.). Rethinking Outdoor, Experiential and Informal Education: Beyond the Confines. pp 124-138. Routledge. ISBN 9780415703109
Ord, J. & Leather, M. (2018). Experiential Education: The Importance of John Dewey, in T. Jeffs & J. Ord (Eds.). Rethinking Outdoor, Experiential and Informal Education: Beyond the Confines. pp. 40-55. Routledge. ISBN 9780415703109
Leather M & Nicholls F (2016) More than activities: using a ‘sense of place’ to enrich student experience in adventure sport. Sport, Education and Society, 21(3), 443-464.
Nicholls, F & Leather, M (2014) Enriching Student Learning: More than activities. In E. Backman, B. Humberstone & C. Loynes (eds.) Urban nature: inclusive learning through youthwork and school work. Boras, Sweden: Recito Publishers. ISBN-13: 978-9175176598
Leather M (2013) ‘It's good for their self-esteem’: the substance beneath the label. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, 13(2), 158-179.
Parrott L, Pettit E & Leather M (2012) Up the creek without a communication aid: Speech and language therapy and outdoor adventure education. In A Miller, J Sharp & J Strong (eds.) What is research-led teaching? Multi-disciplinary perspectives. London: CREST/GuildHE.
Ord J & Leather M (2011) The Substance Beneath the Labels of Experiential Learning: The Importance of John Dewey for Outdoor Educators. Australian Journal of Outdoor Education, 15(1), 13-23
Leather M (2010) An Exploratory Case Study of a 'Successful' Pupil Referral Unit (PRU). Unpublished Doctoral Thesis: University of Exeter. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/10036/97436
Leather M & Porter S (2006) An Outdoor Evolution: Changing names, changing contexts, constant values. In B Humberstone & H Brown Shaping the Outdoor Profession through Higher Education. Penrith: Institute for Outdoor Learning. ISBN 1-898555-11-7
INVITED KEYNOTE PRESENTATIONS
Leather M (2021) Leisure studies, útimenntun, and holistic education: Talking, walking, and playing. University of Iceland. The annual conference of the School of Education, Menntakvika: Research, innovation and development, 15th October 2021.
Leather M (2021) Learning Ecologies. Developing student learning ecologies: Exploring my practice. University of Winchester Learning & Teaching Conference, 7th June 2021.
Leather M (2019) Paths, Goals and Perspectives of Forest Pedagogy in Italy. 1st Convengo di Pedagogia del Bosco, Milan, Italy.
Cree J & Leather M (2018) What is the place of Forest School in outdoor learning? At the Forest School Association National Conference, 5th - 7th October, Bradmoor Woods, Norfolk, UK.
Leather M (2018) A Critique of Forest Schools: Something Lost in Translation. National Outdoor Education Conference, 9th - 12th April, Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart, Australia.
Leather M (2015) University Programmes in Adventure Education & Outdoor Learning, at The First International Conference on Education - INNOVATION - the role of informal education, including outdoor education in the education and development. Faculty of Economics and Management, University of Szczecin, Poland.
Kelly, O. & Leather, M. (2022). Walking with nature: reflections on alternative pedagogies. International Outdoor Education Research Conference (IOERC). Conference in Ambleside at University of Cumbria, July 18-22.
Thorsteinsson, J. F., & Leather, M., & Nicholls, F. (2022). Exploring a pedagogy of place in Iceland. Students understanding of a sense of place and emerging meanings. International Outdoor Education Research Conference (IOERC). Conference in Ambleside at University of Cumbria, July 18-22.
Þorsteinsson, J. F., & Leather, M., & Jóhannesson, G. Þ. (2022). Exploring a pedagogy of place in Iceland. Students understanding of a sense of place and emerging meanings. Nordic Educational Research Association (NERA). Conference in Reykjavik, Iceland, June 1-3, 2022
Leather M & Thorsteinson J F (2020) Shifting perspectives of nature through adventure: A Pedagogy of Place. British Education Research Association Shifting Perspectives on Nature through Pedagogical Practices. Webinar online click here
Leather M (2019) Putting the torch of knowledge into the hands of the rickburners: An imaginary risk of inconvenient excellence. Outdoor education and social justice for the poor. European Institute for Outdoor Adventure Education and Experiential Learning. Conference: Diversity and inclusion in Outdoor & Experiential Learning, Tralee, Ireland.
Leather, M (2019) Playful in operation, seriousness with intent: Not just for the kids. British Education Research Association Conference, University of Manchester, UK.
Leather M (2018) Finding my professional voice: Autobiography as an effective research method. Presentation at the 8th International Outdoor Education Research Conference, held at the University of the Sunshine Coast. click here
Leather M & Gibson K (2018) Hyperreality, young people and “nature”. Presentation at the 8th International Outdoor Education Research Conference, held at the University of the Sunshine Coast. click here
Loeffler TA & Leather M (2018) Encounters with Technology in Higher Education: Engaging Students using Social Media. European Institute for Outdoor Adventure Education and Experiential Learning. Seminar: “The Mediation of Experiences by Technology in the Outdoors Opening or Losing Connections with the world”, 19th – 23rd September 2018, held at CŠOD Bohinj, Slovenia.
Loeffler TA & Leather M (2018) Visualising seascapes: Encounters in Higher Education. Royal Geographical Society-IBG Annual International Conference, Cardiff. Geography of Leisure and Tourism Research Group and the Coastal and Marine Research Group.
Leather M (2018) A Critique of “Forest School” or something lost in translation. Live online Outdoor Education Seminar 18 at Institute of Technology Tralee, Ireland. Available at youtu.be/FjMomZbF2vw
Leather M (2018) A Critique of Forest Schools. Critical Approaches to Outdoor Studies. Cape Breton University Open Online Learning in SPAL 4101.
Leather M, Gibson, K & Lundie, D (2017) Space, Place and Agency in Childhood and Education. British Education Research Association Conference, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK.
Leather M (2017) Living with the sea: Making connections - a personal and professional Heimat. European Institute for Outdoor Adventure Education and Experiential Learning, Plymouth Marjon University, Plymouth, UK.
Leather M, Hayes T & Prince H (2016) Playfully being outdoors: research, pedagogy and practice. Royal Geographical Society-IBG Annual International Conference, London. Geographies of Children, Youth and Families Research Group. Session Convenor.
Leather M (2016) Playtime: Developing creativity through outdoor education. Presentation at the 7th International Outdoor Education Research Conference, Cape Breton University, Nova Scotia, Canada. Book of abstracts published ISBN: 1-978-77206-069-0 available from http://www.cbu.ca/ioerc7/proceedings-and-publications/
Leather M (2015) University Programmes in Adventure Education & Outdoor Learning. Invited International Keynote Speaker at The First International Conference on Education - INNOVATION - the role of informal education, including outdoor education in the education and development. Faculty of Economics and Management, University of Szczecin, Poland.
Leather M (2014) Time to play: developing a pedagogy of play for outdoor learning. Presentation at
The European Institute for Outdoor Adventure Education and Experiential Learning (EOE) Seminar “Under the open sky: Supporting healthy lifestyle and relationship to nature and society through outdoor engagement in youth work -European perspective, hosted by Association of Nature and Outdoor schools (SNÚ), in cooperation with EOE and The Educational Research Institute of University of Iceland. http://utinam.is/?page_id=576
Leather M (2013) Lost in translation: A critique of ‘Forest School’ in the UK. Presentation at the 6th International Outdoor Education Research Conference, held at the University of Otago http://www.otago.ac.nz/ioerc2013/programme/
Leather M (2013) The importance of ‘informal talk’ in residential outdoor education: It’s more than the activities. Presentation at the 6th International Outdoor Education Research Conference, held at the University of Otago http://www.otago.ac.nz/ioerc2013/programme/
Nicholls F & Leather M (2013) Enriching student learning: developing a socio-cultural and historical ‘sense of place’ using an experiential pedagogy. European Institute for Outdoor Adventure Education and Experiential Learning. Seminar “Urban nature: inclusive learning through youth work and school work”, 5th – 9th June 2013, held at The Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences (GIH), Stockholm, Sweden.
Leather M (2012) Seeing the wood from the trees: constructionism and constructivism for outdoor and experiential education. Philosophical Perspectives in Outdoor Education. Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain, Edinburgh Branch Conference.
Leather M, Parrott, L & Pettit, E (2011) ‘Improvisation with good intentions’ – Outdoor Practitioners Perspectives on working with disabilities. Paper presented at 5th International Outdoor Education Research Conference, Denmark.
Selected research by Mark is available on ResearchGate.
Co-convenor of British Educational Research Association (BERA) Nature, Outdoor Learning and Play (NOLAP) special interest group (SIG) - since 2019. Details click here
Co-convenor of Peninsula Research in Outdoor Learning (PRinOL) a regional research hub for the Institute for Outdoor Learning (IOL). Details click here
Convenor EOE2017 Atmospheres and Narratives for of European Institute for Outdoor Adventure Education and Experiential Learning.
Academic committee member and reviewer for the International Outdoor Education Conference 2013, 2016, 2018, 2021
Board member of European Institute for Outdoor Adventure Education and Experiential Learning, 2016-2017
Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning. Reviewer since October 2012.
Journal of Experiential Education. Reviewer since September 2011, Editorial Board member since January 2014.
Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education. Editorial Board member since March 2018. Special Issue co-editor March 2019
Canadian Journal of Environmental Education. Reviewer since November 2019.
2020: University of Dundee, PhD Thesis viva voce, Alexia Barrable, A new focus for education? Nature connection as a goal for all education: Theoretical research and practical perspectives.
2018: University of Central Lancashire, PhD Thesis viva voce, Carmen Byrne, HERO, HEROINE OR OUTCAST? Examining gender identity of the British Adventuring hero.
2016: University of Edinburgh, PhD Thesis viva voce, Sharifah Intan Sharina Syed Abdullah, An Investigation into the Influence of Outdoor Environmental Education Courses on the Environmental Attitude and Behaviours of Malaysian Participants: A Life History Approach.
2016: University of Western Sydney, PhD Thesis via examination, Amanda Lloyd, Place-Based Outdoor Learning Enriching Curriculum: A Case Study in an Australian Primary School.
University of Hertfordshire MSc Outdoor Environmental Education 2021/22 - present
University of Cumbria MA Outdoor and Experiential Learning 2016/17 – 2020/21
University of Cumbria MA Transcultural European Outdoor Studies 2016/17 - 2018/19
University of Chichester BA (Hons) Adventure Education 2012/13-2016/17