Site icon ASP – Association of Sustainability Practitioners

Action Research

Action Research - shaping the ideas for the next generation

Action Research Events

Evolving Future Plans


  • October: Action Research Self Reflective Learning Session online
  • October: potential Action Research session live with the Humber Eco Fest
  • November: “Leadership for Sustainability: Paper back copy” review and celebration
  • January: “Satish Kumar: Abundant Love” book launch online


Current & Past Events


What a pleasure it was to take a pause and think about reflective practices yesterday – it was like an MOT for the mind!

In just 30 minutes our randomly allocated group of three touched on unexamined thoughts and feelings about our working lives that were profoundly important to each of us. We noticed things that escape our attention when we’re busy solving problems or tackling tasks and I’d strongly encourage others to join future sessions about ‘Living life as inquiry’.


Action Research can help us tap an awareness about how we are that’s important to the things we do and how we do them.

The pitstop last night will keep me going for weeks.

I expect I’ll probably find myself using the analogy with clients as I encourage them towards more reflective moments in the flow of their work….I’ll report back if I do 🙂

Thanks again for organising this, and for being the steady beacons you are for your passions in these darkly changing times.

Mike Zeidler, Co-Founder ASP

ASP Action Research Organisers

External Action Research Friends


Prof Judi Marshall

Judi was at the School of Management, University of Bath from 1978 to 2008, where she was a core member of the Centre for Action Research in Professional Practice (CARPP).  In 2008 she moved to Lancaster University Management School, where she is now Professor Emerita in Learning and Leadership.

Judi repeatedly explored what she was next curious about – including managers’ job stress, women in management, the dynamics of systemic change, ‘responsible’ careers, education and action for sustainability, and the gendering of corporate social responsibility.  Throughout her career, Judi has articulated the processes of going about researching, seeing research as personal and political process. 

In 1997 Judi, Gill Coleman and Peter Reason developed the MSc in Responsibility and Business Practice at Bath, addressing issues of sustainability, social justice and systemic change.  Judi was its Director of Studies until 2007.  Leadership for Sustainability: An action research approach (2011 & 2023, Routledge) tells the stories of 30 graduates from the degree.

Judi’s contributions to action research include First person action research: Living life as inquiry (2016, Sage), and a recent paper on ‘living life as inquiry’ with Margaret Gearty.  Copies of some of Judi’s papers can be found on


Dr Gill Coleman

Gill is an educator and researcher with more than 25 years’ experience of working with action research-based approaches to personal and organizational learning and change, particularly connected to issues of sustainability and social justice.

In the mid-1990s she left an academic post at Bristol University to join the New Academy of Business, a radical business education venture sponsored by Anita Roddick of The Body Shop International. While there, she worked with Judi Marshall and Peter Reason at the University of Bath to establish the MSc in Responsibility and Business Practice, and helped establish and run a successor course, the Msc in Sustainability and Responsibility, at Ashridge Business School (now Hult International Business School) from 2009.

These programmes were innovative in the way they expressed the view that pro-sustainability change involves more than just knowledge and information: that personal reflection, collaborative working and a willingness to try new things in practice and learn from what happens also matter.

Gill has also been involved in action research doctoral teaching and supervision at Bath and at Ashridge, and has done workplace-based action research projects in the UK, US and Middle East.


Dr Margaret Gearty

Margaret is an independent action researcher, originally from Ireland and now based near Bath in the UK where she enjoys exploring the local woods and cold water swimming when feeling brave! Her particular interests lie in how action research and storytelling – rooted in the everyday – might be creatively combined to develop meaningful personal and systemic responses to social and environmental issues.

One expression of this has been her widely recognised work with  ‘learning histories’ as a means of surfacing stories and spreading learning about how to innovate and adapt within complex challenges.  Another expression is her more recent work on ‘poetic activism’ as a potential response to the eco-social crisis. She blogs regularly here on the topic. Recently Margaret joined Judi Marshall in writing about ‘living life as inquiry’  – as an embodied practice for change agents. Margaret consults and collaborates with others from the public- and private- sector via her research practice New Histories which she established in 2012.  For a decade now, Margaret’s been a member of the teaching faculty at Ashridge /Hult business school. She tutors on their PhD in organisational change (EDOC), and until 2018 on the MSc in Sustainability and Responsibility (AMSR) and was director of studies there from 2016-18


Prof Peter Reason

As Director of the Centre for Action Research in Professional Practice at the University of Bath, England, Peter was an international leader in the development of participative approaches to action research. In these forms of experiential inquiry all are co-researchers, contributing both to the thinking that forms the research and to the action that is its subject. He contributed to the articulation of a participatory worldview, and published widely, co-editing the first two editions of the Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice and co-founding the journal Action Research.

Since retiring from full time academic work, Peter has focused on writing books and articles that link the tradition of nature writing with the ecological crisis of our times, drawing on scientific, ecological, philosophical, and spiritual sources. He undertook two ecological pilgrimages at sea; explored the place of art and poetry in a time of ecological catastrophe; writes and sings ‘songs for the Earth’; and is currently engaged in series of experiential and co-operative inquiries exploring living cosmos panpsychism in relation to Rivers.  Most of Peter’s action research publications and his later ecological writing are at

Videos & Event Recordings

Action Research Resources

Journey to Hopeful Futures  –  A Handbook – Helena Kettleborough

With Journey to Hopeful Futures, Helena Kettleborough, Centre for Connected Practice, offers a transformative new approach to reimagining a world which respects and restores the natural systems on which life depends. At a time when the imminent destruction of our planet can feel overwhelming, Helena invites the reader to re-energise, re-think and embark with her on a unique journey of hopeful discovery.

This journey involves self, community, planet and cosmos. Having worked as a community activist and teacher for three decades, Helena specialises in creating new spaces within the home, workplace and academy for spiritual reflection. Here, she shares that knowledge with us in a creative, important handbook aimed at nurturing new paradigms – which respect and restore the natural systems on which life depends – a world of love, equality and social justice within our living planet and sacred cosmos.

Through personal stories, research, life-experience, community and spiritual practice, she offers a unique space within which the reader can question, learn and reflect, signposting to an extensive range of resources. The handbook provides a practical toolkit of creative exercises and personal actions to revive our lives, and the world around us – vital steps towards overcoming the daily challenges we all face and to creating new, hopeful futures.

Order at Siverwood Books by following the QR link.

You can order from Kindle or Amazon




Longform Conversations Series No. 1: Satish Kumar: Abundant Love. Jagdish Rattanani

Much has been written by and about Satish Kumar – peace pilgrim, co-founder of Schumacher College, and long-time editor of Resurgence magazine.

A monk at the age of nine, and now a world-renowned environmental activist with Honorary Doctorates from five UK universities, Satish Kumar has been working to realise Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of a peaceful, sustainable world for much of his life.

But this new volume brings a whole new perspective on the man and his work. Based on a 30-hour ‘longform conversation’ with Satish – this book gives readers the chance to listen in a conversation where his interviewers draw out his experiences, reflections and insights in much more depth than elsewhere. 

They question his political and philosophical thinking, invite him to revisit strongly held positions and, through the conversation, seek to cast new light on the man and his multiple perspectives on the world.

Forewords by Charles Eisenstein and Arun Maira place his life and work in context and the conversation challenges him on many aspects of life.



Leadership for Sustainability: An Action Research Approach. By Judi Marshall, Gill Coleman, Peter Reason


Those who advocate moving towards sustainability debate how change can be achieved. This book focuses on what it means to take up leadership for sustainability, from a variety of organizational and social positions, and considers the consequences of different strategies and practices for influencing change.

Leadership for Sustainability shows what an action research based practice of leadership for sustainability looks like and provides a sense of the personal and professional challenges this involves; it demonstrates how people who are influencing change draw on reflective practice strategically (to create a context in which they can be influential) and also tactically (in moment-to-moment choices about how to act). It also illustrates and reflects on the kinds of outcomes that can be expected from this work, both the specific and strategic achievements, and the difficulties, challenges and disappointments.

Thus the major part of this volume consists of accounts by thirty graduates of an innovative Master’s programme, the MSc in Responsibility and Business Practice (which ran at the University of Bath School of Management), of their activities, projects, achievements and learning. Accompanying sections from the editors overview, analyse and reflect on these accounts and the issues they raise for notions of leadership, practice, sustainability and change. One substantial chapter offers ideas, frameworks and action research practices for people taking leadership.

Available at:

Leadership for Sustainability: An Action Research Approach – 1st Edition (

Paperback: £38.99 with free shipping – now available
ISBN 9781032571096
Published May 31, 2023 by Routledge

eBook version also available:
ISBN 9781351278287
Published September 8, 2017 by Routledge

Exit mobile version