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Mr Stephen Paul Harrison

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Lecturer in Education (Youth Work)
  • Faculty of Wellbeing, Education & Language Studies
  • School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport
  • Childhood, Youth and Sport
  • stephen.harrison

Professional biography

My professional background is in informal and community education, working with children, young people and adults in a wide variety of settings. I have worked as a Youth Worker in Bristol, London and Hong Kong and a Play Worker in Bristol and London (working with children through Save the Children on an all day visit scheme in Holloway Prison and with children from Gypsy and Traveler backgrounds via the London Gypsy Traveler Project). I have also worked extensively within the field of Drug Education and harm minimisation.

Since 1997 I have been predominantly involved in the the field of professional education, teaching and managing Undergraduate programmes leading to qualifications in Youth and Community Work across the UK and Ireland.

I am currently Programme Lead for Childhood and Youth Studies (Undergraduate) at the Open Univerisity.


Research interests

My research interests centre around work with Young People, 'informal learning', 'professional formation' and 'identity and the social dimension of learning'.

I am involved in a range of scholarship projects examing various dimensions of teaching and learning here at the Open univeristy.

I have recently contibuted as a central team memeber to the NP3 research project:




Teaching interests

I am Programme Lead for Childhood and youth Studies (Undergraduate) which includes:

Q23 BA (Hons) Childhood and Youth Studies 

Q55 BA (Hons) Youth Work

I also co-chair E102: Introduction to childhood studies and child psychology.


External collaborations

I was the lead academic consultant for the Open University on the filming of 'Old School with the Hairy Bikers'. for more information click




Research Activity

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)CentreFaculty of Education and Language Studies


Real lives, imagined futures: stories of participation and progression through the Open University professional qualification in youth work (2012-10-31)
Golding, Tyrrell; Harrison, Roger and Harrison, Stephen
In : Developing Internships and Work Based Learning Opportunities for Mature Students: Creating Opportunities and Raising Aspirations (31 Oct 2012, Milton Keynes, UK)
NP3 – New Purposes, New Practices, New Pedagogy: Meta-analysis report (2017)
Twining, P.; Browne, N.; Murphy, P.; Hempel-Jorgensen, A.; Harrison, S. and Parmar, N.
Society for Educational Studies, London.