Personal profile

Research interests

I am an internationally recognised scholar and author of over 130 publications. My work focuses principally on education for democracy and on educational leadership and policy, with a special focus concerning distributed, collaborative and democratic leadership and change towards more democratic environments fostering collaborative and holistic learning. A former Chair of the British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society (BELMAS), I have wide-ranging experience and expertise in leading, managing and participating in major funded projects.

Most recently, I and colleagues at the University of Hertfordshire led a successful application to Horizon Europe to fund a project on aesthetic and embodied learning for democracy - the AECED project. This is a three-year project, begun in April 2023, on which we are working with five other European countries. Its aim is to bring aesthetic and embodied learning to the heart of education for democracy.

Books to be published in the near future are: 

  • Handbook on Leadership in Education, edited by P. A. Woods, A. Roberts, M. Tian & H. Youngs, Cheltenham: Elgar Publishing, in press.
  • Education and communication: Promoting peace and democracy in times of crisis and conflict, edited by M. J. O’Hair, P. A. Woods & H. D. O’HairWiley Blackwell, in press.

Featured publications: 

  • ‘Nurturing Change: Processes and outcomes of workshops using collage and gesture to foster aesthetic qualities and capabilities for distributed leadership’, P. A. Woods, S. Culshaw, K. Smith, J. Jarvis, H. Payne & A. Roberts, Professional Development in Education, 2023
  • ‘Democratic Leadership’, P. A. Woods, in R. Papa (ed), [Oxford] Encyclopaedia of Educational Administration, New York, New York: Oxford University Press, 2021



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