Picture: Writing in the park by Roey Ahram. Sourced from Flickr and reproduced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) licence.

We are looking to sustain the development of infed through contributions from a range of different writers. Our aim is to provide a space for people to explore the theory and practice of informal education, lifelong learning and social action.

The site is run on a not-for-profit basis. We are part of the British Library archiving project and a number of the pages are included on the UNESCO/NCVER voced database and on SOSIG (the Social Science Information Gateway).

If you have something that you want to write or submit, or wish to select something to work on from our wish list, we’d like to hear from you. Its best to contact us before you get a long way into it – there may be someone else also working on a similar subject area. As you will have probably gathered we run the page on a shoestring – so any work has to be done for love.

Below we have included our wish list, and set out some guidelines for contributors. We operate a refereeing system – so you will get feedback on your contribution.

Our wishlist

We are constantly adding to our list – but these are the pages we’d dearly like to develop at the moment. Where someone is currently writing something we have included their name in brackets. At the moment our main focus is on developing our coverage of key thinkers – but we’d welcome contributions in other areas.


Ulrich Beck and the risk society (Marina Basu)

William Beveridge and social evil

Wilfred R. Bion on groups (John Roberts)

Charles Booth and mapping poverty

Dorothy Day

Michel Foucault (Valerie Harwood)

Siegfried Heinrich Foulkes (Maurice Nitson)

Herbert J. Gans

Erving Goffman

Paul Goodman (Vicky Odams)

Amy Gutmann

Jurgen Habermas (John Bamber)

Basil Henriques (Tony Jeffs)

John Holt (Stephen Parker)

Jane Jacobs (Avil Beckford)

Nancy Kline (Louise Mycroft)

Jean Lave

Albert Mansbridge

Jacques Maritain (Thomas Delaney)

Marshall McCluhan (Josh Cole)

Jack Mezirow

Lewis Mumford (Don Blackburn)

Oscar Newman and defensible space

Helen Perlman

Betty Rearden (Andria Wisler)

The Rowntrees and social research

C E B Russell

Richard Sennett (Steve Weiland)

Samuel Smiles and self help

Socrates (John Roberts)

Rudolf Steiner (Trudi Cooper)

L. S. Vygotsky (Don Blackburn)

John White

Michael Young


Capacity building



Cognitive therapy

Community coherence and cohesion

Community planning

Developing collaborative relationships with learners

Emotional intelligence (Peggy Hailstone)

Exploring identity

Feminism and social action (Danielle Sharp)

4H Clubs (history and current work)



Feature: Settings for informal education

  • Informal education in faith communities
  • Informal education and working in supported housing
  • Informal education in care settings
  • Informal education in prisons and secure settings


Learning circles

Mentoring (Avil Beckford)

Muslim youth work (Mohammed Khan)

Parent Teacher Associations and civic life

Peer education

Policy discourses around children and young people

Policy discourse around community

Progressive education (Josh Cole)

Reading groups

Sports clubs and informal education

Social entrepreneurship (Tom Archer)

Social justice

Social mobility

Social innovation

Social networks

Women’s Institutes and lifelong learning

Guidelines for contributors

Audience. At the moment our pages are accessed around seven million times a year. About 25 per cent of browsers come from Britain and Ireland, 35 per cent from North America and around 8 per cent from Australia and New Zealand. The other 32 per cent are spread across the rest of the world.

The main users fall into three camps:

  • students in both higher and further education. They are often involved in programmes in youth work, community work, social work, schooling, adult education and community education.
  • academics with a professionals interest in the area.
  • practitioners working in youth work, museum education, lifelong learning and community development. They are often engaged in the development of new informal /non-formal education initiatives e.g. in higher education, community education, libraries and museums – especially in north America, Australia and Europe.

Writing style. We like writing that is direct and accessible. You need to write short sentences and to avoid the overuse of long words and technical terms. A good working rule here might be to imagine your readers as interested colleagues, who perhaps don’t have access to the same specialist language as yourselves. Thus, you will need to explain some terms, but must avoid talking down to readers.

Length. Our pages tend to be between 1000 and 5000 words – although this varies according to the type of page (see below).

Forms of contribution. We are on the look out for four main types of contribution. Pieces on key:

  • themes – such as developments in community schooling or in project work.
  • thinkers. We have a lot of gaps and are constantly open to suggestions for inclusion.
  • ideas
  • issues and talking points

The pieces on key thinkers tend to have the same format:

  • introduction
  • a biographical sketch
  • key ideas and themes
  • assessment of their contribution
  • conclusion with some discussion of continuing relevance etc.

Referencing. The referencing system we use involves putting the writer’s name, date, and if required, page numbers in brackets in the text i.e. (Jones 1979: 63). Then the full reference is put at the end.

Where the quote is substantial, say over five lines, it should be indented. In this case the full stop comes at the end of the text, and the reference after that (Jones 1979: 63) This reference system is usually known as the Harvard system.

References should be listed alphabetically by writer and then chronologically for more than one work by the same writer.

Books: Assensoh, A. B. (1998) African Political Leadership: Jomo Kenyatta, Kwame Nkrumah, and Julius K. Nyerere, New York: Krieger Publishing Co.

Chapters: Samoff, J. (1990) ‘”Modernizing” a socialist vision: education in Tanzania’, in M. Carnoy and J. Samoff (eds.) Education and Social Transition in the Third World, Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press.

Articles: Humphries, B. (1988) ‘Adult learning in social work education: towards liberation or domestication’. Critical Social Policy No. 23 pp. 4-21.

Reports: Department for Education and Employment (1999) Learning to Succeed. A new framework for post 16 learning, London: The Stationery Office (Cm 4392). (If the report is known by its chair please put in brackets after the title).

Internet materials: Boje, D. M. and Rosile, G. A. (2001) ‘Where’s the Power in Empowerment? Answers from Follett and Clegg’, Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Vol. 37(1): 90-117. http://cbae.nmsu.edu/~dboje//CleggFollett4_index.html. Accessed January 23, 2003.

Racist and sexist language. Please avoid gender specific language, except where applicable to a particular individual, and anything that might be construed as sexist. We try to avoid the use of s/he and her/his which can be somewhat repetitive and ugly. The best way around this, we feel, is to use the plural – they, people, educators etc. Likewise, please avoid all language and connotations that might be construed as racist. Also consider the extent to which your contribution might be considered as being ethnocentric.

Copyright. Please could you follow the normal publishing conventions re the use of copyright material i.e. short extracts etc.

We place your name as the copyright holder but give permission for the piece to be reproduced for educational and training purposes (copyright @ the informal education homepage).

We are also happy if you want to use the material elsewhere.

Manuscript. If possible we would like the manuscript to be either e-mailed to us or sent on a disk. The four main formats we can deal with are:

  • plain text (ASCII)
  • Rich Text Format (RTF)
  • HTML
  • Word

If not just send material to us on single sided paper, with a fairly large print face and double-spaced if possible.

Pictures. Relevant copyright-free pictures to illustrate your piece would also be welcome.

Contact us

Click here

Acknowledgement: Picture: Writing in the park by Roey Ahram. Sourced from Flickr and reproduced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) licence. http://www.flickr.com/photos/roeyahram/6659760491/

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