Dr David A. G. Clarke

Lecturer in Outdoor and Environmental Education / Programme Director for OEE programmes

  • Moray House School of Education and Sport, IETL
  • University of Edinburgh

Contact details



Moray House School of Education and Sport, TL 2.05

University of Edinburgh (Holyrood Campus)
Post code


My interests lie in the philosophy of environmental and sustainability education and political ecology/ontology in formal and informal education, policy, and research. To this end my interests traverse many areas of education, including the education of ordinary life, as well as creative inquiry, and ethics. I see research as necessarily responding to the materiality and politics of what is widely being called the Anthropocene. 

Before starting at Moray House I lectured in outdoor studies at the University of the Highlands and Islands, and at Plumpton College, University of Brighton. I have worked for a number of organisations focusing on outdoor, adventure, and environmental education in the UK and abroad in both the private and charitable sectors and I have led educational overseas expeditions to the Nepalese and Indian Himalayas, China, Mongolia, and Borneo.

I am the author of the book Practising Immanence: Living with Theory and Environmental Education (Routledge, 2023).  I co-edited the book New Materialisms and Environmental Education (Routledge, 2023). I have published articles in Qualitative Inquiry, Cultural Studies <-> Critical Methodologies, the Journal of Autoethnography, The Qualitative Report, Environmental Education Research, the Journal of Environmental Education, the Australian Journal of Environmental Education, Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, and the Ontario Journal of Outdoor Education. I have contributed to UNESCO reports and made sustained contributions to environmental education research internationally.

I am the course organiser for  Social Theory and Outdoor Education, within the MSc Outdoor Education and MSc Outdoor Environmental Sustainability Education, where I also contribute to courses in research methods, praxis, and environmental philosophy, and critical perspectives on personal and social development. I have also contributed to the Philosophy of Education pathway in the MSc in Education. Further to this I contribute to primary and secondary initial teacher education programmes across the School. I have shared perspectives on teaching practice in blogs and podcasts for the Times Higher Education supplement.

I completed my PhD at the University of Edinburgh in 2018, on Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari's philosophy of immanence and practise in environmental education research.


  • PhD Education - University of Edinburgh
  • MSc Outdoor Education (with distinction) - University of Edinburgh
  • Postgraduate Certificate of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education - University of Brighton
  • BA (Hons) Adventure Education - University of Chichester

Responsibilities & affiliations

  • Sustainability in Education Research Group
  • Environmental Sustainability Education Research Development Network
  • Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network
  • Centre for Creative-Relational Inquiry
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Institute for Education, Teaching, and Leadership
  • Teacher Education, Curriculum and Pedagogy Thematic Hub

Undergraduate teaching

PGDE Secondary Outdoor Learning

Postgraduate teaching

  • Social Theory and Outdoor Education
  • Outdoor and Environmental Education Praxis
  • Personal and Social Development in Outdoor Education: Critical Perspectives

Previously taught:

  • Introduction to Learning for Sustainability
  • The Philosophy of Education
  • Research Methods 1: The Sources of Knowledge
  • Research Methods 2: Conceptualising Research
  • Experiential Education

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I view educational research-practice as situated in and necessarily responding to the Anthropocene era. I am hopeful to work with candidates in the following areas:

  • Creative-relational approaches to environmental education research/experiences of policy/political ontology/being alive
  • Practitioner inquiry and participatory action research in environmental education research/experiences of policy/political ontology/being alive
  • Narrative, autobiographical, and autoethnographic inquiry in environmental education practice/research/and policy
  • Philosophical inquiry, writing as inquiry, thinking with theory, and post-qualitative inquiry
  • Immanent ontologies, including  animisms, feminist new materialisms, and posthumanisms
  • The work of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari in relation to education and the act of living
  • The work of Tim Ingold in relation to education and the act of living
  • Research into the methods and methodologies of environmental education research

Current PhD students supervised

Louise Hawxwell - Thesis title: Impact of Early Experiences on Perceptions and Practices of Outdoor Learning in Primary Education Trainees

PhD Examinations

Andrew Mark Gillott - Thesis title: Where Are All the Bodies Buried? Towards a Creative-Relational Inquiry.

Research summary

My research interests focus broadly on the blurring of environmental education research-practice, philosophical theory, and life experiences. More specifically I am interested in the relationship between education and environmental ethics, animism, and alternative ontologies; the philosophy of affect in relation to environmental degradation and climate change; immanent ethics and immanent ontology in all areas of education; and creative practices of inquiry for affective encounters, especially writing as inquiry - or what I have termed 'immanent life writing'., as well as 'living with theory'. I am interested in the potential of post-autoethnographic or sympoethnographic approaches for exploring the relationship between education and political ontology, as well as as a conduit for practitioner-world inquiry in the Anthropocene more generally.

Current research interests

Current Research Projects: Principles Teaching Award Scheme (PTAS) (2021) (£15k) Keeping the Door Open: Curating, developing and evolving Edinburgh University teaching in spaces and places within the city and beyond Co-Investigator with Beth Christie, Catherine Dunn, Pete Higgins, Robbie Nicol, Heidi Smith

Knowledge exchange

Science Education

Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy

International Journal of STEM Education

History of Education Review

Environmental Education Research

Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning

Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education

Book reviewer for Springer

Book reviewer for Palgrave Macmillan

Affiliated research centres

Peer-reviewed Articles


Edited Books:

Peer-reviewed Book Chapters

  • Mcphie, J. & Clarke, D.A.G. (forthcoming). Distributed Assemblages of Cognition and Mental Health and Wellbeing (Or) How TikTok ate my Mind. In: Boyd, C. et al. (Eds.). Routledge Handbook on Spaces of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Routledge.

  • Mcphie, J. & Clarke, D. A. G. (2021). Human-Nature Relationships: Navigating a Privileged White Landscape. in G. Thomas, J. Dyment, and H. Prince Eds. Outdoor Environmental Education in Higher Education: International Perspectives. Springer. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-75980-3_4
  • Mcphie, J. & Clarke, D. A. G. (2019). Post-Qualitative Research in Outdoor Studies. In B. Humberstone and H. Prince Eds. Research Methods in Outdoor Studies. Routledge. Available at: https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9780429199004/chapters/10.4324/9780429199004-18
  • Clarke, D. A. G. (2017). Educating beyond the cultural and the natural: (re)framing the limits of the possible in environmental education. In: K. Malone, S. Truong, and T. Gray ed. (2017). Reimagining Sustainability Education in Precarious Times. Springer, London. Available at: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-981-10-2550-1_21

Peer-reviewed Reports

  • Kraftl, P., McKenzie, M., Gulson, K., Accioly, I., Blackmore, J., Burke, C., Perrota, C.., Clarke, D.A.G., Daniels, H., Fregoso Bailon, R.O., Goodyear, V., Goodyear, P., Gunasekara, I., Hartong, S., Hickman Dunne, J., Howard. S., Lupinacci, J., Mcphie, J., Mannion, G., Nxumalo, F., Parnell, R., Pykett, J., Ratuio, P., Sefton Green, J., Selwyn, N., Stovall, D., Southgate, E., Talbert, R., Teelucksingh, C., Tucker, R., Uduku, O., Wilson, A. and Wood, A. (2022). ‘Learning spaces: built, natural and digital considerations for learning and learners’ in Bugden, S. and Borst, G. (eds.) Education and the learning experience in Reimagining education: The International Science and Evidence based Education Assessment [Duraiappah, A.K., Atteveldt, N.M. van et al. (eds.)]. New Delhi: UNESCO MGIEP. Available at: https://d1c337161ud3pr.cloudfront.net/files%2F8469b7d1-c42d-446c-97f5-87775cf28f49_ISEE%20Assessment%20-%20Working%20Group%203.pdf


Book Reviews

Other publications:

Clarke, D. A. G. (2019). Practising immanence:(still) becoming an environmental education academic. Unpublished PhD Thesis. University of Edinburgh. Available: https://era.ed.ac.uk/bitstream/handle/1842/35533/Clarke2019.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y


  • Clarke, D. A. G. (Keynote Speaker) (2023). Animism and the politics of nature: Creative practices for worlding-with. 10th International Adventure Conference, Adventure Tourism Research Association. 7th-9th June. Treuchtlingen, Germany,
  • Clarke, D.A.G., & Mcphie, J. (2023). Perturbing the Theory/Practice Divide in Environmental Education Research to Arrive at Situations Thinking. European Conference on Educational Research, European Educational Research Association. 22nd-25th August. Glasgow, UK.
  • Mcphie, J., Clarke, D. A. G. (2023). The Ideological Susceptibility of ‘Nature’: How Common-sense Notions of ‘Nature’ are Open to Far-Right Capture in Informal Environmental Education. American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting. 13th-16th April. Chicago, IL. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPslpQvkG2Y 
  • Mcphie, J., Clarke, D. A. G., & Fenton, L. (2021). The Ecology of Language: Concept Conservation and Control in a World of ‘Climate Catastrophe’. RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, Royal Geographical Society,  31st August – 3rd September. London. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rP1hiw9Kpi0&t=1s
  • Clarke, D. A.G (2019). Ecobiography, posthuman-postnature? Immanent life writing in the Anthropocene. 3rd European Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, University of Edinburgh, 12-14 Feb 2019.

  • Bittinger, R., Clarke, D.A.G., Erb, J., Hauser, H., & Wyatt, J. (2019). Becoming Intimate-Activist Reader-Writers with Deleuze & Guattari. 3rd European Congress of Qualitative Inquiry. University of Edinburgh, 12-14 Feb 2019.
  • Clarke, D.A.G., & Mcphie, J. (2019). The diffractive practitioners: collaborative writing-thinking-doing with students, concepts, and Walney Island. Environmental Arts Collaboratory hosted by the Biosocial Research Lab. Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK, 22nd January 2019.
  • Bittinger, R., Clarke, D.A.G., Erb, J., Hauser, H., & Wyatt, J. (2018). Becoming Intimate (Readers) with Deleuze & Guattari. European Congress of Qualitative Inquiry. Leuven, Belgium, 9th February, 2018.
  • Mcphie, J., & Clarke, D.A.G. (Invited Guest Speakers) (2016). Multiple Natures in Environmental Education Research. Environmental Sustainability Education Research Summer School I: Doctoral studies in environmental and sustainability education: contextualizing the process. European Educational Research Association and Homerton College. August 2nd to August 5th at Homerton College, Cambridge.

  • Clarke, D.A.G. (2016). Outdoor Learning and the Material Turn: Considering pedagogies of experience, place and sustainability through new materialist philosophy. Outdoor Environmental Education Research Seminar 2016, Broomlee Outdoor Education Centre, Scottish Borders, 13-15th April, 2016.

  • Mcphie, J, & Clarke, D. A. G. (2014) A walk in the park: Considering practice for environmental education through an immanent take on the ‘material turn’. Under Western Skies conference, Mount Royal University, Calgary, Alberta, CA, 9-13 September 2014.
  • Clarke, D. A. G. (2014). Outdoor Learning and Education for Sustainable Development: What are the links? Institute for Outdoor Learning South East Regional Conference, Plumpton College, Lewes, East Sussex, 19th November, 2014.
  • Clarke, D. A. G (2014) Becoming animate in teacher education: Immanent materialism and Learning for Sustainability. South Downs National Park Student Conference, Midhurst, West Sussex 9th July, 2014