Dr Margaret Petrie



A practitioner, researcher and educator in the broad field of Community Education for over thirty years mainly outside of academia. She has worked in youth unemployment, youth homelessness,in adult education with women returning to education, in strategies to combat gender based violence and in the disability field promoting educational inclusion. She worked for many years as an independent researcher and latterly as an equalities engagement officer. Her research interests relate generally to the role of informal education in promoting or inhibiting social justice and participatory democracy. She has worked with an NGO to evaluate critical media literacy as a means of raising young people's awareness of the alcohol industry's role in shaping public attitudes to alcohol consumption. Most recently she has been exploring the role of Populist activism in promoting or inhibiting participatory democracy and is also involved in a collaborative research project to develop an effective means of evaluating university community engagement.


CQSW Diploma in Social work

MSc in Community Education with Distinction

PhD for Research Thesis, Identity, Self – Confidence and Schooling for Citizenship: Listening to Young People

Responsibilities & affiliations


Editorial board of the UK Community Education journal Concept.

Undergraduate teaching

  1. Concepts and Controversies in Community Education (Community Development)
  2. Community Education: Theory, Policy and Politics
  3. Honours Seminar in Social and Educational theory (Course Organiser)
  4. Community Work (Course Organiser)
  5. Professional Practice 1 (Course Organiser)
  6. Placement Tutor
  7. Supervise dissertations

Postgraduate teaching

Community Engagement: Co-constructing Knowledge with Communities (Course Organiser)

Supervise dissertations

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Current PhD students supervised

Alison Murphy (2nd supervisor)

Anne O'Donnell (2nd supervisor)

Fiona Lindsay (2nd supervisor)

Past PhD students supervised

Jo Forster (2nd supervisor): Austere lives: marginalised women gaining a voice in the former Durham coalfields.  

Research summary

The role of informal education in promoting or inhibiting social justice and participatory democracy. Community engagement, community based research, co-constructing knowledge with communities.

Current research interests

Experiential learning in communities: developing and testing a framework for evaluation [PTAS funded project with Andy Cross (ECCI), Simon Beames (Sport Science), Rebecca Samaris (Law)]; Strategies for community university partnerships which serve the interests of communities

Past research interests

Critical media literacy to combat irresponsible corporate promotion of alcohol to children and young people; Learning citizenship from school culture: the perspective of young people Disability Equality; Combating violence against women and children; Experiences of young refugees and asylum seekers;