Michael Gilsenan


Mike qualified in Informal Education, with the JNC professional Qualification in Youth Work, at the YMCA George Williams College in 1995. Since then, he has held numerous Youth and Community Work and Senior Youth Work roles across Shropshire and Staffordshire prior to moving into Higher Education in 2005 as the Award Leader for the Foundation Degree in Youth and Community Work.

Mike has a MA in Community Education from De Montfort University, is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Mike is on the leadership team for Citizens UK Birmingham and is the university link tutor for the Certificates in Community Leadership and Community Organising delivered by Citizens UK. He is also part of the Birmingham Youth Work Training Group.


Research Interests

Mike is studying for his Doctorate of Education with Liverpool Hope University. The focus of Mike’s Doctorate is: ‘Unplanned, Incidental and Spontaneous Learning’, which is being explored using a collaborative research approach where research participants are also the researchers and is aimed at drawing educational meaning from the ordinary everyday life occurrences.


Mike’s broad area of interest is in informal education philosophy and critical pedagogy. He teaches on a range of Youth and Community Work modules as well as delivering Foundation Year study for those interested in moving into working with children, young people, families and communities.

Administrative Responsibilities

Mike is the Joint Programme Lead for the BA Hons Youth and Community Work and is currently a member of the Learning, Teaching and Academic Quality Committee as well as the Safeguarding Task Group.

Other Activities

Conferences and Other Research Activity

 Mike Has Presented the Following Conference Papers:

‘What Can Society Learn From Intentional Communities’  at the International Communal Studies Association Conference, Findhorn, Scotland in July 2013.  For the link to the video fo the presentation see:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dj8MFeOHBw

Collaborative Critical Pedagogical Relationships (CCPR), or Teacher-less Learning:  Horizontal environments for learning and action. In July 2016 at the Liverpool Hope University Doctoral Conference.

Unplanned, Incidental and Spontaneous learning: A critical exploration in a climate of measurement.  At the Doctoral Conference in Newman University in July 2017.

‘Interrogating Power Relationships and Problematising Assessment’ at the British Educational Studies 13th Annual Conference at Liverpool Hope University on 30th June 2017 and an edited version of the same paper at the Newman University Learning and Teaching Conference in January 2018.