Alex Ryan

Picture of Alex Ryan

Dr Alex Ryan works part-time as Associate Director of Sustainability (Academic) at the University of Gloucestershire and part-time as a freelance consultant in HE research, educational development and evaluation. She also teaches Religious Studies as an Associate Lecturer for the Open University and is an Honorary Research Fellow in the School of History, Archaeology and Religion at Cardiff University. Alex's undergraduate degree was in English Language and Literature at the University of Glasgow and she studied for MA and PhD degrees in Religious Studies at Lancaster University.

Her research takes an inter-disciplinary perspective on questions of embodiment, spirituality and consciousness, with a particular focus on the Chinese martial art taijiquan (t'ai chi ch'uan), considering issues of power and globalization, ritualisation and meditative practice, healing and interpersonal conflict. She is a long term practitioner of taijiquan and was involved in developing the Tai Chi Forum for Health, an association offering additional training for teachers of Chinese physical arts working with varied client needs in health and social care settings. She also helped to develop a successful series of researcher-practitioner conferences through her work with the Alternative and Complementary Health Research Network (ACHRN) between 2005 and 2010.

Her work in the field of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in HE covers a range of different projects and roles. At the University of Gloucestershire she is responsible for curriculum and staff development to embed ESD in the culture and practice of teaching and learning. She is currently managing Leading Curriculum Change for Sustainability, a 2 year HEFCE-funded initiative to develop thinking and practice at sector level and within a consortium of five HE institutions regarding the role of sustainability issues in the future of quality teaching and learning. Alex has been a freelance consultant to the HE Academy ESD Project since it began in 2005, through which she has carried out a range of projects including ESD and Holistic Curriculum Change, the 2008 Review of ESD in HE in Scotland, a series of events to support organisational change for sustainability in HE institutions, investigations into the responses of the humanities and social sciences to sustainability and a workshop series on sustainability and inter-disciplinarity.

Alex Ryan and Geoffrey Samuel are actively involved in work to build understanding around the connections between consciousness, wellbeing and sustainable development issues in academic research and the implications for transfer into curricula and public engagement in HE institutions. Together they designed and hosted the Sustainability and the Humanities event held at Cardiff University in May 2010, in collaboration with the Cardiff Humanities Research Institute. See Alex's opening presentation: (1) Download video file from (2) View online.


Page revised 13 March 2011
by Geoffrey Samuel.