Pete Allison photo

Following several years of study and working which involved oscillating between theory and practice I have been working teaching and researching in the School of Education since 2001. Prior to working at Edinburgh I lectured at the University of Strathclyde and worked for several organisations including Outward Bound and Indiana University.


My main interests are in experiential learning, particularly through expeditions and travel. I have worked extensively with the British Schools Exploring Society (BSES) and screened expedition proposals as vice chair of their expeditions committee. I have led 14 significant expeditions to Greenland, central Asia, the Himalayas and Africa. I am the chair of the Scottish panel of the Young Explorers Trust (YET), a member of the strategic advisory group for the Duke of Edinburgh award (Scotland) and a governor for the Stirlingshire Education Trust.

In 2010 I received the Stephenson award for ‘outstanding service to youth expeditions’.

My PhD explored the contribution of youth expeditions to the values, narrative and authenticity of participants. In recent years I have undertaken significant research and evaluation work for Scottish National Parks and for Sail Training International.

I am a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and founder of the Journal Of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning. In the past I have served on the board of directors for the Association for Experiential Education and am a reviewer for several academic journals including the Journal of Experiential Education, Journal of Leisure Studies and the Australian Journal of Outdoor Education. Interests include mountaineering, cycling, skiing and wilderness expeditions.

Expedition experience

Chief Leader BSES SW Greenland 2009
Reconnaissance leader SW Greenland BSES 2009
Reconnaissance leader NE Greenland BSES 2007
Expedition Leader Cycling Tibet, Everest, Nepal 2003
Chief Leader BSESE Ladakh 2001
Expedition Leader: Kilimanjaro 2001
Deputy Chief Leader BSES West Greenland 2000
Reconnaissance Ladakh 2000
Reconnaissance leader West Greenland BSES 1999
Expedition leader - Kilimanjaro 1998
Co-leader Himalayan Hand-Cycle Expedition 1997
Chief Mountaineer BSES SW Greenland 1997
Group leader NE Greenland 1990
YSES Kenya 1989
BSES NE Greenland 1988

Key publications

Allison, P. & Beames, S. (2010). Feature article: The changing geographies of overseas expeditions. International Journal of Wilderness, 16(3), 35-42.

Allison, P. & Higgins, P. (2002). Ethical adventures: Can we justify what is done in the name of education. Australian Journal of Outdoor Education, 6(2), 22–26.

Allison, P. & Pomeroy, E. (2000). How shall we 'know?': Epistemological concerns in research in experiential education. Journal of Experiential Education, 23(2), 91–97.

Allison, P. & Von Wald, K. (2010). Personal, social and health education and educational expeditions. In S. Beames (Ed.), Understanding educational expeditions (pp. 55-65). Rotterdam: Sense Publishing.

Allison, P. & Wurdinger, S. (2005). Understanding the power, promise and peril of the Experiential Learning Process. Teacher Education and Practice, 18(4), 386-399.

Allison, P. (2000). Authenticity and outdoor education. In P. Barnes (Ed.), Values and outdoor learning (pp. 43–49). Penrith: AfOL.

Allison, P. (2000). Constructing values: An expedition case study. In P. Barnes (Ed.), Values and outdoor learning (pp. 159–167). Penrith: AfOL.

Allison, P. (2005). History of adventure programming: Great Britain. In S. Priest & M. Gass (Eds.) Effective leadership in adventure programming (pp. 31-33). Illinois: Human Kinetics.

Allison, P., & Telford, J. (2005). Turbulent times: Outdoor education in Great Britain 1993 – 2003. Australian Journal of Outdoor Education, 9(2), 21-30.

Allison, P., McCulloch, K., McLaughlin, P., Edwards, V. & Tett, L. (2007). The characteristics and value of the sail training experience. Edinburgh: Sail Training International /The University of Edinburgh.

Allison, P., Stott, T., Felter, J. & Beames, S. (in press). Overseas youth expeditions. In M. Berry & C. Hodgson (Eds.), Adventure education: An introduction (pp. 187-205). London: Routledge.

Allison, P., Thorburn, M., Telford, J. & Marshall, A. (in press). Values in adventure education: Happy and wise through hands on learning. In M. Berry & C. Hodgson (Eds.), Adventure education: An introduction (pp. 206-218). London: Routledge.

Carr, D., Allison, P. & Meldrum, G. (2006). In search of excellence: Towards a more coherent Scottish common school curriculum for the twenty-first century. Scottish Educational Review, 38(1), 13-24.

Glen, T., Allison, P. & Von Wald, K. (2009). Scotland’s National Parks and National Nature Reserves – overcoming barriers to engagement. Perth: Scottish Natural Heritage.

McCulloch, K., McLaughlin, P., Allison, P., Edwards, V. & Tett, L. (2010). Sail training as education: More than mere adventure. Oxford Review of Education 1-16.

Stonehouse, P., Allison, P. & Carr, D. (2011). Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates: Ancient Greek perspectives on experiential learning. In T. E. Smith & C. E. Knapp (Eds.) Sourcebook of experiential education: Key thinkers and their contributions (pp. 18-25). London: Routledge / Taylor & Francis Group.

Thomas, G., Potter, T. & Allison, P. (2009). A tale of three journals: An investigation of the development and futures of AJOE, JAEOL and JEE. Australian Journal of Outdoor Education, 13(1), 16-29.

Thorburn, M. & Allison, P. (2010). Are we ready to go outdoors now? The prospects for outdoor education during a period of curriculum renewal in Scotland. Curriculum Journal, 21(1) 97-108.

Veevers, N. & Allison, P. (2010). Introduction: The philosophy of Kurt Hahn. In M. Zelinski (Ed.) One small flame: Kurt Hahn’s vision of education (pp. 12-18). Ontario: From the heart publishing.

Woollven, R., Allison, P. & Higgins, P. (2007). Perception and reception: The introduction of licensing of adventure activities in Great Britain. Journal of Experiential Education, 30(1), 1-20.

Available from Amazon

Smith, T. & Allison, P. (Eds.) (2006). Outdoor experiential leadership: Scenarios describing incidents, dilemmas and opportunities. Tulsa, OK: Learning Unlimited. 370 Pages

Veevers, N. & Allison, P. (in press - 2011) Kurt Hahn: Inspirational, visionary, outdoor and experiential educator. Rotterdam: Sense. 141 pages. Available spring 2011.