Chris Blackmore

Senior Lecturer

I am a Senior Lecturer in Environmental and Development Systems.  In both teaching and research I focus on learning systems, environmental decision making, environmental ethics and responsibility, sustainable development, managing systemic change and communities of practice.

Joined the Systems Discipline of the Open University in 1986 from an environmental sciences/ environmental education background and after working for several years in Africa. First  I managed the Farm Interpretation Project (25 staff through the Community Programme) and subsequently the self-financing Countryside Interpretation Unit. Between 1990 and 1994 I worked on a cross-Faculty project developing the OU's Environmental Education and Training and contributed to introduction of sustainable development into OU teaching through partnerships with external agencies, both national and international. I took an active role in multi-stakeholder processes around UNCED's Agenda 21 in the 1990s, representing the education community on the Executive of UNED-UK, fore-runner of the Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future.

From the mid 90s to the present time I  have become more involved in OU courses and research with a range of roles including:

  • Chair of the OU's first postgraduate course in Environmental Decision Making: a Systems Approach (T860)
  • Chair and/or team member of ten Open University courses/modules - undergraduate and postgraduate
  • Head of the Systems Discipline in 2002 and 2003.
  • Researcher on a succession of international projects concerned with social learning, governance, networks and communities of practice in contexts of water, agriculture and climate adaptation .
  • Author of a wide range of open learning materials, books and papers on environment/sustainable development and systems
  • Qualification co-lead of the MSc in Systems Thinking in Practice & various contributions to MSc in Environmental Decision Making/Environmental Management

I am an experienced researcher and have been involved in a range of international EU and private sector funded  research projects that have focused on learning, systems, sustainability, managing and governance in contexts of water and/or farming.  These projects include SLIM (Social Learning for the Integrated Management and sustainable use of water at catchment scale) ,  LEARNing (Learning in Agricultural and Rural Networks: institutions, networks and governance)  and CADWAGO (Climate change adaptation and water governance - reconciling food security, renewable energy and the provision of multiple ecosystem services).  I am involved in a new EU-funded project called AgriLink from June 2017.

I have supervised several PhD studies through to completion.   I have also examined a range of PhD studies in the UK and further afield.  My own PhD thesis was entitled: 'Learning systems and communities of practice for environmental decision making.'  

Recent  & forthcoming conference activity

Paper in preparation and will also once again be part of the team running the PhD training course  "Systems Thinking in Research Practice"

International Systems Sciences Society 2016, Boulder, Colorado 24-30 July 2016 -- Realizing Sustainable Futures in Socio-Ecological Systems
Paper, with Ray Ison, Transforming to sustainable futures: learning from 45 years of systems thinking in practice pedagogy also part of the team running the PhD training course  "Systems Thinking and Practice in PhD Research" from 22-30 July 2016

The 12th European IFSA Symposium 12-15 July 2016 at Harper Adams University, UK
Final plenary keynote, theme co-ordinator for enabling governance, policy and institutions workshops also part of the team running the PhD training course  "Systems Thinking and Practice in PhD Research" from 9-16 July 2016

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