Skip to main content

School of Education

Professor Patrick Dillon

Professor Patrick Dillon

Emeritus Professor



Throughout my academic career, I have researched human-environment systems. My first degree is in biology and my early research was in human impacts on ecological systems. This involved studying changing patterns of land-use and was the subject of my PhD, in environmental history. In parallel with this research I worked in teaching and my attention turned to social and educational systems, more recently those mediated by technology, such as e-learning and social media. I am particularly interested in systems at the level of the individual, that is, how a person experiences the world and how he or she comes to understand it. The common theme through all of this work is the ways in which people engage with the resources, affordances and constraints of the environments in which they live, work and learn. I call these patterns of engagement ‘cultural ecologies’.

I have worked in higher education since 1981, first at Bulmershe College in Reading, then at the University of Reading where I was a senior lecturer and, from 2000, in professorial positions at the University of Exeter, The University of Joensuu, Finland, and the University of Eastern Finland.


Research group links

Back to top


Research interests

Cultural ecology, in which the major questions are about:

  • How we shape, and are shaped by the environments in which we live.
  • How we experience the world and how we come to understand it.
  • The relationships between perception, cognition and consciousness.

I have researched these questions through my work in environmental history, cultural studies, design, crafts, environmental education, technology mediated environments (e-learning and social media) and transdisciplinary studies. Publications at:

I have supervised 24 doctorates to completion, including 20 at the University of Exeter 2000-2010.

Back to top

External Engagement and Impact

External doctoral examining nationally and internationally

Twenty-five doctoral theses examined at Universities in the UK, Europe, Australia and South Africa.

International recognition, such as international research collaborations, visiting research posts in overseas institutions, involvement at senior levels in international research associations, acting as referee for national and international research councils.

Consultant and advisor to government departments and commercial organisations in the UK, Europe, North America and the Middle East, including Microsoft and Intel.

Journal and book series Editorships and Editorial board membership

International Editorial Board, Studia Vernacula

Keynote addresses or prestigious public lectures given in international forums

Over 200 presentations at conferences and symposia in the UK, Europe, North America, the Middle East, Asia, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, including many keynotes.

Major awards, Prizes and Honorary degrees, including election to national and international learned societies

Doctor honoris causa, University of Joensuu, Finland, conferred August 2004.

Back to top

Edit Profile