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Dr Nick Hopwood


I have been researching learning and pedagogy since 2002, in a range of settings including workplaces, community health centres, and schools. I use qualitative research methods, particularly ethnography, combined with diverse theoretical approaches such as cultural historical activity, and sociomaterial/ practice theory. I am particularly interested in learning that arises in the course of professional practices, and pedagogies that build resilience.

Completing my postgraduate studies at the University of Oxford, I then joined the Centre for Excellence in Preparing for Academic Practice (2006-2010), before moving to UTS (2010-present).

Follow me on Twitter: @NHopUTS

I write  a blog focusing on postgraduate research, early career research, and academic life, as well as providing regular updates about my ongoing research. See http://nickhop.wordpress.com


UTS Vice Chancellor's Awards for Research Excellence: Winner in Researcher Development (including Supervision) Award, 2014

UTS Vice Chancellor's Awards for Research Excellence: Highly Commended in Researcher Development (including Supervision) Award, 2013

I am on the Editorial Board for Teaching in Higher Education, and the College of Reviewers for Higher Education Research & Development

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Associate Professor, Adult Learning and Applied Linguistics Program
M.Sc, D.Phil
+61 2 9514 4658

Research Interests

My research interests currently fall in these areas:

1. Professional learning and practice. What do professionals learn as they go about their work? How do they work collaboratively to solve complex knowledge problems? How can innovative pedagogic practices better prepare future professionals for the challenges they will face in work? My DECRA Project explores professional learning and collaborative knowledge work in the context of services for vulnerable families (see below). The work I've been doing on simulation in health professional education addresses the latter theme.

2. Cultural-historical theory. I am interested in research that applies and develops theory rooted in the work of Vygotsky. Currently, my focus is on double stimulation in professional practices, as well as Edwards' work on relational agency, relational expertise and common knowledge. I have been applying these ideas in my work on parenting services, and in initial work on education in Bhutan (see below). 

3. Parenting services. There are wide-ranging services that support families with young children at risk. I am interested in the use of expertise and development of new knowledge in partnership between professionals (or volunteers) and parents. I've been using practice theory and cultural-historical theory in this work. How can professionals work effectively to help foster agency and build resilience in families, so that vulnerabilities are mitigated, and so that children get the best possible start in life? My take on this is to see the process as a pedagogic one (involving learning), and this is the linked focus of my DECRA project.

4. Education and Gross National Happiness in Bhutan. Nick is leading a DFAT-funded Australia Awards Fellowship, establishing collaboration between UTS School of Education and Paro College of Education. Exchange visits focus on teacher professional development and enhancing educational research capacity in areas that are prioritised by the Bhutan Blueprint for Education.

Can supervise: Yes

I currently have capacity to take on new students, and am looking in particular for students with ideas for projects that align with my research interest areas as described above (ie professional learning and practice, social resilience from a pedagogic perspective).

If you're interested in working with me, you could consider:

1. A project that fits directly alongside my DECRA - exploring similar questions and is focused on parenting services. Your project might take a different approach, or look at different sites.

2. A project that addresses the bigger questions I've mentioned above, but perhaps in other contexts (eg in other professions), or relating to simulation pedagogy (either in universities, or for  professionals as part of ongoing development)

3. Studies relating to education in Bhutan, particularly those focusing on teacher professional practice and professional learning.

Nick teaches within the Education Master's program, including subjects such as Research Practices, Research Design, and Professional Learning and Practice.

Nick also teachers Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) students, including courses on Fieldwork, Research Design, and Qualitative Data Analysis. In addition Nick offers workshops on Publishing, Scholarly Writing and Reading etc.


Hopwood, N. 2016, Professional practice and learning: times, spaces, bodies, things, Springer, Dordrecht.
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This book explores important questions about the relationship between professional practice and learning, and implications of this for how we understand professional expertise. Focusing on work accomplished through partnerships between practitioners and parents with young children, the book explores how connectedness in action is a fluid, evolving accomplishment, with four essential dimensions: times, spaces, bodies, and things. Within a broader sociomaterial perspective, the analysis draws on practice theory and philosophy, bringing different schools of thought into productive contact, including the work of Schatzki, Gherardi, and recent developments in cultural historical activity theory. The book takes a bold view, suggesting practices and learning are entwined but distinctive phenomena. A clear and novel framework is developed, based on this idea. The argument goes further by demonstrating how new, coproductive relationships between professionals and clients can intensify the pedagogic nature of professional work, and showing how professionals can support others' learning when the knowledge they are working with, and sense of what is to be learned, are uncertain, incomplete, and fragile.
Clerke, T. & Hopwood, N. 2014, Doing Ethnography in Teams: A Case Study of Asymmetries in Collaborative Research, 1st, Springer, London.
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This uniquely in-depth book offers a blow-by-blow account of the sometimes problematic dynamics of conducting collaborative fieldwork in ethnography. Tracing the interplay between co-researchers at various points of contact in both professional and personal relations, the analysis draws out the asymmetries which can develop among team members nominally working towards the same ends. It details the often complex dialogues that evolve in an attempt to navigate conflicting interests, such as team members resistances to particular methodological `recipes or research protocols. The authors show that such debates can create an open forum to negotiate new practices. A key element of this publication is that it goes beyond an analysis of more traditional power relations in research teams comprising members at different academic pay grades. As well as drawing attention to gender-related dynamics in research collaborations, the authors use themselves as an exemplar to demonstrate how differences in age, experience, knowledge, professional skills and background can be exploited to generate positive outcomes constituting much more than the apparent sum of their parts. In doing so, the authors reveal the delightful, surprising and yet challenging aspects of research collaboration that are often absent from the qualitative literature.
Hopwood, N. & Clerke, T. 2012, Partnership and pedagogy in child and family health practice: a resource for professionals, educators and students, Lambert Academic Publishers, Herstellung.
Hopwood, N. 2012, Geography in Secondary Schools: Researching Pupils' Classroom Experiences, 1st, Continuum, London / New York.
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This book tells a story about six pupils, how they experience geography lessons, and their ideas about geography as a school subject. I refer to the ways in which pupils reflected on their classroom experiences and talked about geography in terms of their subject conceptions.
Rickinson, M., Lundholm, C. & Hopwood, N. 2009, Environmental Learning: insights from research into the student experience, 1st, Springer, Dordecht, London.
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This paper presents findings from research about pupils experiences of environmental education in UK secondary schools. The study focused on six pupils aged 13- to 14-years-old and nearing the end of their compulsory geography education. Geography provided a relevant a curricular context for exploring pupils experiences of environmental education as it is one of the main subject areas dealing with environmental issues and education for sustainable development in the UK. Classroom observation and interviews offered insights into the way the six pupils interpreted a range of classroom experiences. This paper elucidates the personal ideas and agendas that children may bring to their environmental learning experiences, and demonstrates how lessons that were not intended to be environmental in focus may nonetheless be interpreted as such by pupils.


Hopwood, N. 2017, 'Practice Architectures of Simulation Pedagogy: From Fidelity to Transformation' in Mahon, K., Francisco, S. & Kemmis, S. (eds), Exploring Education and Professional Practice: Through the Lens of Practice Architectures, Springer Press, Dordrecht, pp. 63-81.
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In this chapter, I put the theory of practice architectures to work in re-imagining simulation pedagogy in university-based professional education. I locate simulation within a broader landscape of links between higher education and the professions, before outlining key features of existing research on simulation in health professional education. This links to the empirical context underpinning the chapter: an observational study of simulation classes in an undergraduate nursing degree. I take up calls to enrich the theoretical basis for simulation pedagogy, and to shake off an attachment to the notion of 'fidelity'. Weaving practice architecture theory with Baudrillard's concepts of hyperreality and simulacra, I analyse three moments from observed simulation classes. I show how these are constituted as productive pedagogic moments, not through a logic of mirroring stable realities of practice, but through much more fluid play between real and imagined worlds. This provides a basis from which to pinpoint the transformative potential of simulation, avoiding the traps of conservatism that accompany a view that is too closely tied to a fixed, stable reality referent. This involves a shift from simulation (re)creating practice architectures and practices based on an 'as if' logic, to simulation based on a 'what if' notion, where cultural-discursive, material-economic, and socio-political arrangements of both real and imagined practices come together, interwoven with those of responsive, emergent pedagogy.
Green, B. & Hopwood, N. 2015, 'The body in professional practice, learning and education: a question of corporeality?' in Green, B. & Hopwood, N. (eds), The body in professional practice, learning and education: body/practice, Springer, London, pp. 15-33.
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Hopwood, N. 2015, 'Relational geometries of the body: doing ethnographic fieldwork' in Green, B. & Hopwood, N. (eds), The body in professional practice, learning and education: body/practice, Springer, London, pp. 53-69.
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Hopwood, N. 2014, 'The fabric of practices: times, spaces, bodies, things' in McLean, L., Stafford, L. & Weeks, M. (eds), Exploring bodies in time and space, Inter-Disciplinary Press, Oxfordshire, pp. 137-146.
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Here I connect the themes of space, time, the body, and things with an ethnographic study of professional practices and pedagogy. The study joins an emerging body of work that aims to produce different accounts of professional practice, eschewing dominant discourses based on problematic assumptions of linear time that is used up, space as a container for practice, practice and learning as mindful but bodyless, and materiality as either irrelevant or passive. The study was conducted in a child and family health service in Sydney, Australia. The Residential Unit of Karitane takes up to ten families for five days each week, offering intensive support for parents experiencing significant difficulties with their children's sleeping, feeding or behaviour. Four themes of times, spaces, bodies, and things are discussed, drawing on Theodore Schatzkis practice theory and philosophy, but also making connections to wider sociomaterial theorisations of time, space and the body. While these themes resist analytic separation, they are offered as distinctive points of departure, each highlighting something different about practices, pedagogy and learning. Nonetheless the porous conceptual boundaries between temporality, spatiality, embodiment and materiality are addressed and illustrated. The result is an account of practices, and their pedagogic effects, which differs radically from conventional approaches.
Hopwood, N., Abrandt Dahlgren, M. & Siwe, K. 2014, 'Developing professional responsibility in medicine: a sociomaterial curriculum' in Fenwick, T. & Nerland, M. (eds), Reconceptualising professional learning: sociomaterial knowledges, practices, and responsibilities., Routledge, London, pp. 171-183.
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Lundholm, C., Hopwood, N. & Rickinson, M. 2013, 'Environmental learning: insights from research into the student experience' in Stevenson, R.B., Brody, M., Dillon, J. & Wals, A.E.J. (eds), International Handbook of Research on Environmental Education, Routledge, London, New York, pp. 243-252.
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Hopwood, N. 2013, 'Ethnographic fieldwork as embodied material practice: reflections from theory and the field' in Denzin, N.K. (ed), 40th Anniversary of Studies in Symbolic Interaction, Emerald Group Publishing, pp. 227-245.
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To mark 40 volumes of Studies in Symbolic Interaction, this volume includes a special introduction from Series Editor, Norman K. Denzin.
Hopwood, N. 2011, 'Young People's Conceptions of Geography and Education' in Butt, G. (ed), Geography, Education and the Future, Continuum, London, UK, pp. 30-43.
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Hopwood, N., Alexander, P., Harris-Huemmert, S., McAlpine, L. & Wagstaff, S. 2011, 'The hidden realities of life as a doctoral student' in Kumar, V. & Lee, A. (eds), Doctoral education in international context: connecting local, regional and global perspectives, Universiti Putra Malaysia Press, Serdang, Malaysia, pp. 212-231.
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This chapter is based on original funded research into doctoral students' learning and work practices. It underwent a peer review process (evidence of reviewer comments can be provided).
Hopwood, N. 2007, 'Researcher roles in a school-based ethnography' in Walford, G. (ed), Studies in educational ethnography. volume 12: methodological developments in ethnography, Elsevier, Oxford, pp. 51-68.


Hopwood, N., Boud, D.J., Lee, A., Abrandt Dahlgren, M. & Kiley, M. 2010, 'A different kind of doctoral education: a discussion panel for rethinking the doctoral curriculum', Quality in Postgraduate Research: Educating Researchers for the 21st Century, Quality in Postgraduate Research, The Centre for Educational Development and Academic Methods, Adelaide, pp. 83-91.
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Hopwood, N. & Sutherland, K. 2009, 'Relationships and agency in doctoral and early career academic experience', Proceedings of the 32nd HERDSA Annual Conference: The Student Experience, Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia Annual Conference, Higher Education Research & Development Society of Australasia, Darwin, Australia, pp. 210-218.
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Research on doctoral and early career academic experience has emphasised relationships within departmental communities, although a limited number of studies suggests the importance of interactions with a wide range of individuals. In this paper we consider new empirical evidence, and theorise experience in terms of relational agency. We show how knowing how to know whom to ask for help can be a significant means for individuals to influence their own experience. Given that doctoral students are in many ways undertaking academic work, and many undertake doctoral study with academic careers in mind, our discussion explores parallels between the doctoral student and early career academic experience, finding strong resonances across the two. We argue that relational agency is indeed important, but that it is often accompanied by knowing how to know when the locus of agency resides in oneself.

Journal articles

Lindh Falk, A., Hopwood, N. & Abrandt Dahlgren, M. 2017, 'Unfolding Practices: A Sociomaterial View of Interprofessional Collaboration in Health Care', Professions and Professionalism, vol. 7, no. 2.
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Knowledge sharing is an essential part of interprofessional practice and will be even more important in the future in regard to the opportunities and challenges in practices for delivering safe and effective healthcare. The aim of this ethnographic study was to explore how professional knowledge can be shared in an interprofessional team at a spinal cord injury rehabilitation unit. A sociomaterial perspective on practice was used to analyse the data, and by theorizing upon this, we captured different aspects of interprofessional collaboration in health care. The findings illuminate how knowledge emerges and is shared between professionals, and how it passes along as chain of actions between professionals, in various ways. The findings offer a novel perspective on how interprofessional collaboration as a practice, involving ongoing learning, unfolds. This reveals the mechanisms by which different forms of expertise are mobilized between professions as health care work.
Hopwood, N., Rooney, D., Boud, D. & Kelly, M. 2016, 'Simulation in Higher Education: A sociomaterial view', EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY AND THEORY, vol. 48, no. 2, pp. 165-178.
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Kelly, M., Hopwood, N., Rooney, D. & Boud, D. 2016, 'Enhancing students' learning through simulation: dealing with diverse, large cohorts', Clinical Simulation in Nursing, vol. 12, no. 5, pp. 171-176.
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As the field of health care simulation matures, new questions about appropriate pedagogy are emerging which present challenges to research and practices. This has implications for how we investigate and deliver effective simulations, how we conceive effectiveness, and how we make decisions about investment in simulation infrastructure. In this article, we explore two linked challenges that speak to these wider concerns: student diversity and large cohorts. We frame these within contemporary simulation practices and offer recommendations for research and practice that will account for students' varying cultural expectations about learning and clinical practice in the Australian context.
Abrandt Dahlgren, M., Fenwick, T. & Hopwood, N. 2016, 'Theorising simulation in higher education: difficulty for learners as an emergent phenomenon', Teaching in Higher Education, vol. 21, no. 6, pp. 613-627.
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Despite the widespread interest in using and researching simulation in higher education, little discussion has yet to address a key pedagogical concern: difficulty. A 'sociomaterial' view of learning, explained in this paper, goes beyond cognitive considerations to highlight dimensions of material, situational, representational and relational difficulty confronted by students in experiential learning activities such as simulation. In this paper we explore these dimensions of difficulty through three contrasting scenarios of simulation education. The scenarios are drawn from studies conducted in three international contexts: Australia, Sweden and the UK, which illustrate diverse approaches to simulation and associated differences in the forms of difficulty being produced. For educators using simulation, the key implications are the importance of noting and understanding (1) the effects on students of interaction among multiple forms of difficulty; (2) the emergent and unpredictable nature of difficulty; and (3) the need to teach students strategies for managing emergent difficulty.
Hopwood, N., Edwards, A. & Day, C. 2016, 'Partnership practice as collaborative knowledge work: overcoming common dilemmas through an augmented view of professional expertise', Journal of Children's Services: research informing policy and practice, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 111-123.
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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to shed new light on how partnership practices that build resilience in families work. Two broad questions are explored: first, what are the forms of expertise required in practices that effectively build resilience through partnership?; and second, how can some of the challenges practitioners experience when working in partnership be addressed? Design/methodology/approach – A theoretical approach is taken, framing partnership as collaborative knowledge work between practitioners and clients. Concepts of relational expertise, common knowledge and relational agency are explored as means to understand the forms of expertise involved in partnership. An empirical example is provided from practices guided by The Family Partnership Model, an approach that has been widely implemented. Findings – These concepts help to address three key challenges experienced by practitioners: client readiness for change, maintaining focus and purpose and using specialist expertise in partnership. This approach elucidates features of partnership practice that distinguish it from expert-led models, while highlighting diverse forms of expertise in play. Originality/value – The framework presented in this paper is distinctive and can be used to identify how practitioners can avoid common dilemmas, even in challenging circumstances with vulnerable families where practitioner-client relationships may be perceived as fragile. It counters the idea that partnership work dilutes professional expertise. Instead, an enriched and augmented view of professional expertise is presented.
Hopwood, N. & Clerke, T. 2016, 'Professional pedagogies of parenting that build resilience through partnership with families at-risk: a cultural-historical approach', Pedagogy, Culture and Society, pp. 1-17.
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© 2016 Pedagogy, Culture & SocietyThe importance of pedagogic practices in addressing major social problems is increasingly acknowledged. This is especially so in areas of work not traditionally understood in pedagogic terms, such as services for vulnerable families with young children. Policy mandates for change in relationships between professionals and clients have challenged conventional notions of professional expertise, intensifying and expanding the pedagogic dimension of such work. This paper examines professional–parent interactions, adopting a cultural-historical approach focused on mediation, everyday and scientific concepts, and the space of reasons. Analysis reveals four distinct activities: locating and orienting change, creating new meaning for change, change through joint live action, and planning for change. Each involves different objects and ways in which professional expertise is brought to bear in pedagogic work. It is argued resilience-building works by helping parents learn to interpret and act in their worlds differently, using cultural tools from professional expertise made available through pedagogic work. The paper provides new insights into the importance of professional expertise in these practices at a time when this is in question.
Hopwood, N., Sherab, K., Kumar Rai, B. & Lhendup, K. 2016, 'Using a cultural-historical approach to promote Gross National Happiness (GNH) in Bhutan: prospects for research and practice', Bhutan Journal of Research & Development, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 51-61.
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This paper discusses how cultural-historical theory can be used to promote GNH in Bhutan. Cultural- historical approaches stem from the work of Lev Vygotsky into early childhood development. Although GNH and cultural-historical theory have different historical origins, there are valuable points of intersection that point to useful areas of research and highlight relevant issues in development practice. Key to this are Vygotskian ideas that learning and development arise through dialectic interactions between individuals and society, people and practice. The framework of GNH can be understood as a cultural tool that enables people to work on problems and issues that are important to Bhutan. From a Vygotskian point of view, when GNH mediates people's activity, it also has an effect back on those people, thus addressing the individual and collective dimensions simultaneously.
Hopwood, N. 2015, 'Understanding partnership practice in primary health as pedagogic work: what can Vygotsky's theory of learning offer?', AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF PRIMARY HEALTH, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 9-13.
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Hopwood, N. & McAlpine, L. 2015, 'Conceptualising the PhD as preparing for academic practice in geography', GeoJournal, vol. 80, no. 2, pp. 203-207.
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This paper situates the geography PhD within the broader context of doctoral education. It addresses questions relating to the PhD as preparation for future academic work. Theoretical and practical ideas are woven through a discussion of the work of the Centre for Excellence in Preparing for Academic Practice, at the University of Oxford, UK. The Centre initiated wide-ranging reforms and has had lasting impacts, with a philosophy of remaining sensitive to disciplinary context. The paper argues that cultural historical activity theory is a useful lens for understanding challenges in contemporary doctoral education, and responses to them. Key concepts are outlined, and a worked example provided, drawing from the Centre's work. Connections are made with relevant initiatives specific to geography. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
Rooney, D.L., Hopwood, N., Boud, D. & Kelly, M. 2015, 'The Role of Simulation in Pedagogies of Higher Education for the Health Professions: Through a Practice-Based Lens', Vocations and Learning.
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The preparation of future professionals for practice is a key focus of higher education institutions. Among a range of approaches is the use of simulation peda- gogies. While simulation is often justified as a direct bridge between higher education and professional practice, this paper questions this easy assumption. It develops a conceptually driven argument to cast new light on simulation and its unarticulated potential in professional formation. The argument unfolds in, and is illustrated via, three accounts of a simulation event in an Australian undergraduate nursing program. This begins with a familiar approach, moves to one that problematizes this through a focus on disruption, culminating in a third that draws on socio-material theorisations. Here, simulation is conceived as emergent, challenging stable notions of fidelity, common in simulation literature. New possibilities of simulation in the production of agile practitioners and learners in practice are surfaced. This paper extends and enriches thinking by providing distinctive new ways of understanding simulation and the relationship it affords between education and professional practice, and by illuminating the untapped potential of simulation for producing agile practitioners.
Gregory, L.R., Hopwood, N. & Boud, D.J. 2014, 'Interprofessional learning at work: what spatial theory can tell us about workplace learning in an acute care ward', Journal of Interprofessional Care, vol. Online, pp. 1-6.
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Hopwood, N. 2014, 'A sociomaterial account of partnership, signatures and accountability in practice', Professions and Professionalism, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 1-15.
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Abstract: Professional work is often heralded as undergoing radical transformation. This paper focuses on partnership between health professionals and families as a specific instance of changes aimed at delivering shared responsibility and joint knowledge work. An ethnographic study of a residential child and family health services provides the empirical basis for a detailed examination of what is signed, by whom, and with what effects. I show how signing and signatures provide fertile starting points for sociomaterial analysis, a rich empirical reference point for what Nicolini calls zooming in on particular instances, and zooming out to understand their connections to other practices. Schatzki's practice theory is used as a theoret- ical basis, drawing also on Kemmis' notions of practice architectures and ecologies of practices to elaborate such connections. I trace how acts of signing and signatures as artefacts are produced through and reflect partnership, indeed pointing to significant changes in professional work. However I also show that wider ecologies of practices present architectures that challenge diffuse accountability and shared epistemic work.
Hopwood, N. 2014, 'Using video to trace the embodied and material in a study of health practice', Qualitative Research Journal, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 197-211.
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Hopwood, N. 2014, 'The rhythms of pedagogy: an ethnographic study of parenting education practices', STUDIES IN CONTINUING EDUCATION, vol. 36, no. 2, pp. 115-131.
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Hopwood, N. 2014, 'Four essential dimensions of workplace learning', Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 26, pp. 349-363.
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© Emerald Group Publishing. Purpose – This conceptual paper aims to argue that times, spaces, bodies and things constitute four essential dimensions of workplace learning. It examines how practices relate or hang together, taking Gherardi's texture of practices or connectedness in action as the foundation for making visible essential but often overlooked dimensions of workplace learning. Design/methodology/approach – This framework is located within and adds to contemporary sociomaterial- or practice-based approaches, in which learning is understood as an emergent requirement and product of ongoing practice that cannot be specified in advance. Findings – The four dimensions are essential in two senses: they are the constitutive essence of textures of practices: what they are made of and they are non-optional; it is not possible to conceive a texture of practices without all of these dimensions present. Although the conceptual terrains to which they point overlap considerably, they remain useful as analytic points of departure. Each reveals something that is less clear in the others. Research limitations/implications – This innovative framework responds to calls to better understand how practices hang together, and offers a toolkit that reflects the multifaceted nature of practice. It presents a distinctive basis for making sense of connectedness in action, and thus for understanding learning in work. Originality/value – The paper offers a novel conceptual framework, expanding the texture of practices through dimensions of times, spaces, bodies and things, rendering visible aspects that might otherwise be ignored.
Fletcher, R., Dowse, E., Hall, P., Hopwood, N., Bennett, E. & Erickson, J. 2014, 'Identifying depressed fathers during a home visit: why and how.', Australian Journal of Child and Family Health Nursing, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 5-9.
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The knowledge and expertise required for child and family health nursing practice has continued to evolve as a consequence of research-based interventions and policy changes affecting families. The benefits of sustained home visiting on family health and wellbeing are now accepted and Australian trials have demonstrated improvements in maternal–infant attachment and mothers' relationship with their child. At the level of clinical practice, best practice approaches for nurses visiting new mothers have moved away from delivering specific clinical procedures to focusing on the particular needs and circumstances of the parent and family, emphasising psychological support and health promotion in partnership and collaboration with parents. A particular focus on detecting postnatal maternal depression has arisen due to the development of the National Perinatal Depression Initiative. Child and family health nurses now regularly screen mothers using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). Recent evidence of the impact of fathers' depression on children and mothers has drawn attention to fathers' mental health in the perinatal period. Fathers' postnatal depression has been shown to impact on children's development at similar levels to mothers' and while children are most affected by two depressed parents, the effect of fathers' depression is independent of mood disorder in the mother. Nurses making home visits have an opportunity to engage with fathers and many do so when the father is available. In this paper we present the evidence and rationale for assessing fathers' depression or anxiety at the postnatal home visit.
Hopwood, N. 2013, 'The Routledge doctoral students' companion: getting to grips with research in education and the social sciences/The Routledge doctoral supervisors' companion: supporting effective research in education and the social sciences', Studies in Continuing Education, vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 254-262.
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Hopwood, N. 2013, 'Professional learning in the knowledge society, edited by Karen Jensen, Leif Chr. Lahn and Monika Nerland, Rotterdam/Boston/Taipei, Sense Publishers, 2012, 228 pp.', Journal of Education and Work, vol. Online.
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Hopwood, N., Fowler, C.M., Lee, A., Rossiter, C. & Bigsby, M. 2013, 'Understanding partnership practice in child and family nursing through the concept of practice architectures', Nursing Inquiry, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 199-210.
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A significant international development agenda in the practice of nurses supporting families with young children focuses on establishing partnerships between professionals and service users. Qualitative data were generated through interviews and focus groups with 22 nurses from three child and family health service organisations, two in Australia and one in New Zealand. The aim was to explore what is needed in order to sustain partnership in practice, and to investigate how the concept of practice architectures can help understand attempts to enhance partnerships between nurses and families.
Lind Falk, A., Hult, H., Hammar, M., Hopwood, N. & Abrandt -Dahlgren, M. 2013, 'One size fits all? A student ward as a learning practice for interprofessional development', Journal of Interprofessional Care, vol. 27, no. 6, pp. 476-481.
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Interprofessional training wards (IPTWs), aiming to enhance interprofessional collaboration, have been implemented in medical education and evaluated over the last decade. The Faculty of Health Sciences, Linko ¨ping University has, in collaboration with the local health provider, arranged such training wards since 1996, involving students from the medical, nursing, physiotherapy, and occupational therapy programs. Working together across professional boundaries is seen as a necessity in the future to achieve sustainable and safe healthcare. Therefore, educators need to arrange learning contexts which enhance students interprofes- sional learning. This article shows aspects of how the arrangement of an IPTW can influence the students collaboration and learning. Data from open-ended questions from a questionnaire survey, during autumn term 2010 and spring term 2011 at an IPTW, was analyzed qualitatively using a theoretical framework of practice theory. The theoretical lens gave a picture of how architectures of the IPTW create a clash between the ``expected professional responsibilities and the ``unexpected responsibilities of caring work. Also revealed was how the proximity between students opens up contexts for negotiations and boundary work. The value of using a theoretical framework of professional learning in practice within the frames of healthcare education is discussed.
Hopwood, N. 2013, 'The Routledge doctoral students' companion: getting to grips with research in education and the social sciences', STUDIES IN CONTINUING EDUCATION, vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 254-256.
Hopwood, N. 2013, '8th International Researching Work and Learning (RWL) conference: The visible and invisible in work and learning', Australian Journal of Adult Learning, vol. 53, no. 3, pp. 509-512.
Hopwood, N. & Paulson, J. 2012, 'Bodies in narratives of doctoral students' learning and experience', Studies in Higher Education, vol. 37, no. 6, pp. 667-681.
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Existing research on doctoral education documents levels of satisfaction, the difficulties students face and variations according to demographic variables. Cognitive dimensions of learning are emphasised, and calls to attend to bodies in doctoral education remain largely unheeded. This article draws on theoretical work that rejects Cartesian mind/body opposition, asking `in what ways do doctoral students bodies matter?' Thirty-three students were interviewed, and through analysis four themes identified: being with body, bodies in space, bodily practices and bodily experiences. The bodily dimensions of familiar issues, including race, gender, fatigue, and stress, are highlighted, and connections made between bodies and doctoral writing, thinking, age and the spaces in which students live and work. The themes provide new ways of understanding what it means to be and learn as a doctoral student. Taking bodies into account offers a fuller picture of how doctoral work is accomplished and the tolls this exerts on students.
Fowler, C.M., Rossiter, C., Bigsby, M., Hopwood, N., Lee, A. & Dunston, R. 2012, 'Working in partnership with parents: the experience and challenge of practice innovation in child and family health nursing', Journal of Clinical Nursing, vol. 21, no. 21-22, pp. 3306-3314.
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Aims and objectives. This study investigated what Family Partnership Model practice means in the day-to-day practice of child and family health nurses working with parents. Background. The Family Partnership Model has been widely implemented in child and family health services in Australia and New Zealand, with limited understanding of the implications for nursing practice. Design. A qualitative interpretive study design was used. Method. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 22 nurse participants, who had completed the Family Partnership Model training programme. Subsequent focus groups enabled these participants to validate the themes identified in the initial analysis and to confirm that the nurses concurred with the issues raised. Thematic content analysis produced rich descriptions and explanation of nurses' experiences and perspectives. Results. Four themes emerged from the analysis: experience of changing practices, exploring with parents, challenging unhelpful constructions and a commitment to examining practice. Conclusion. Overall, the participants embraced the use of the Family Partnership Model, providing examples of change and increasing confidence in their approach to working with parents. Relevance to clinical practice. This study demonstrates that the effective utilisation of the Family Partnership Model in nursing practice is a more complex and dynamic process than simply embracing the model. There are significant challenges to be negotiated when implementing new ways of working with parents, particularly questioning existing dominant forms of practice for nurses, managers and wider health organisations, and their clients. This paper also raises issues about sustaining practice innovation, which extends beyond the best intent of individual nurses, requiring receptive organisational conditions and leadership.
Solem, M., Hopwood, N. & Schlemper, M. 2011, 'Experiencing graduate school: a comparative analysis of students in geography programs', The Professional Geographer, vol. 63, no. 1, pp. 1-17.
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This article focuses on the role of departmental culture and academic climate in shaping the experiences of masters and doctoral students in geography. Structured logging of experiences at nine geography graduate programs over six months reveals the types of support provided to graduate students; how students cope with emotional, academic, and financial challenges; and ways students become integrated (or not) in department communities. Analysis of log data considers variation by subgroups (gender, citizenship, program type, full or part-time status, race, and ethnicity). For all students, the findings indicate the importance of unplanned, spontaneous, and other informal events, as well as relationships of a more formal nature with advisors and faculty in the department and beyond. Students also noted the importance of having access to resources, professional development opportunities, and support from peers as factors affecting their sense of progress and belonging in a department community.
Rossiter, C., Fowler, C.M., Hopwood, N., Lee, A. & Dunston, R. 2011, 'Working in partnership with vulnerable families: the experience of child and family health practitioners', Australian Journal of Primary Health, vol. 17, no. 4, pp. 378-383.
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Abstract.Family circumstances in infancy are persistent and powerful determinants of childrenâs physical and mental health, influencing inequalities that trace from childhood through to adulthood. While the social factors that perpetuate patterns of inequality are more complex than can be addressed through single interventions, child and family health (CFH) services represent crucial sites where trajectories of inequality can be disrupted. In particular, approaches that foster opportunities for practitionerâparent engagement that challenge traditional hierarchical health care practice, such as the Family Partnership Model (FPM), are recommended as ways of addressing disadvantage. Little is known about how practitioners implement models of working in partnership with families and, consequently, there is a gap in understanding how best to develop and sustain these new CFH practices. This paper reports a research project that investigated the experiences of 25 health professionals working within a FPM framework with vulnerable families. Through discussion of four key themes â redefining expertise, changing practices, establishing new relationships with parents and the complexities of partnership practice â the paper offers first-hand accounts of reframing practices that recognise the needs, skills and expertise of parents and thus contribute to empowerment of families.
Rossiter, C., Fowler, C., Hopwood, N., Lee, A. & Dunston, R. 2011, 'Working in partnership with vulnerable families: the experience of child and family health practitioners.', Australian journal of primary health, vol. 17, no. 4, pp. 378-383.
Family circumstances in infancy are persistent and powerful determinants of children's physical and mental health, influencing inequalities that trace from childhood through to adulthood. While the social factors that perpetuate patterns of inequality are more complex than can be addressed through single interventions, child and family health (CFH) services represent crucial sites where trajectories of inequality can be disrupted. In particular, approaches that foster opportunities for practitioner-parent engagement that challenge traditional hierarchical health care practice, such as the Family Partnership Model (FPM), are recommended as ways of addressing disadvantage. Little is known about how practitioners implement models of working in partnership with families and, consequently, there is a gap in understanding how best to develop and sustain these new CFH practices. This paper reports a research project that investigated the experiences of 25 health professionals working within a FPM framework with vulnerable families. Through discussion of four key themes - redefining expertise, changing practices, establishing new relationships with parents and the complexities of partnership practice - the paper offers first-hand accounts of reframing practices that recognise the needs, skills and expertise of parents and thus contribute to empowerment of families.
Hopwood, N. 2011, 'Social Work and the Body', QUALITATIVE HEALTH RESEARCH, vol. 21, no. 9, pp. 1295-1296.
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Hopwood, N. & Stocks, C. 2010, 'Bringing the backstage into the light? Thoughts on shadowy academic practices', International Journal for Academic Development, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 89-91.
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Hopwood, N. 2010, 'A sociocultural view of doctoral students' relationships and agency', Studies in Continuing Education, vol. 32, no. 2, pp. 103-117.
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Existing literature suggests that doctoral students' learning and experience are significantly influenced by their relationships with a wide range of people within and beyond academic settings. However, there has been little theoretical work focused on these issues, and questions of agency in doctoral study are in need of further attention. This paper draws on sociocultural theory in the analysis of interviews conducted with 33 doctoral students across four UK research-intensive universities. It focuses on agency and frames others as mediating studentsâ experiences whether as embodied or represented in material, or imaginary form.
Hopwood, N. 2010, 'Doctoral students as journal editors: non-formal learning through academic work', Higher Education Research and Development, vol. 29, no. 3, pp. 319-331.
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Much attention has been paid to formal pedagogic elements of the doctorate supervision and other structured institutional provisions but we know less about the role played by non-formal practices in doctoral students learning. This paper explores the experiences of eight doctoral students involved in editing student-run journals. Editorship and reviewing manuscripts are presented as part of academic service important yet overlooked aspects of academic work, which may be opaque to doctoral students. The analysis draws on concepts relating to workplace learning to understand what these student editors learned and how they learned it. It also pays explicit attention to learners prior learning and experiences and the role these played in their editorial work.
Hopwood, N. 2010, 'Doctoral experience and learning from a sociocultural perspective', Studies in Higher Education, vol. 35, no. 7, pp. 829-843.
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This article considers how and what doctoral students learn through teaching, student journal editing and academic career mentoring. It provides a grounded account of doctoral experience as a counter-narrative to prevailing policy discourses that focus on products and overlook the doctorate as a personal and social learning experience. Sociocultural theory is used to emphasise forms of agency and relationships between learning, practice and studentsâ intentions. Students are presented as agentic in their purposeful engagement in particular activities, and in their response to challenges they encounter in those activities. Learning is described as embedded in particular practice contexts, culturally mediated and rooted in social interaction.
Hopwood, N. 2009, 'UK high school pupils' conceptions of geography: research findings and methodological implications', International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 185-197.
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This paper explores substantive and methodological issues in relation to pupils conceptions of geography. It draws on an in-depth qualitative study with 13-14-year-old pupils from three secondary schools. Selected pupils were interviewed numerous times about their geography classroom experiences and ideas about the subject in general. A detailed analysis revealed that these pupils ideas are multifaceted in nature, often representing loose collections of context-dependent ideas rather than coherent or unified views. Substantive findings are discussed with specific reference to the themes of space and place. The paper argues in favour of research approaches that accommodate the complex nature of pupils subject conceptions, and locate learners ideas about particular concepts in the context of the wider range of ideas and opinions they have about the subjects they study. Suggestions for future research are offered.
Srivastava, P. & Hopwood, N. 2009, 'A Practical Iterative Framework for Qualitative Data Analysis', International Journal of Qualitative Methods, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 76-84.
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The role of iteration in qualitative data analysis, not as a repetitive mechanical task but as a reflexive process, is key to sparking insight and developing meaning. In this paper the authors presents a simple framework for qualitative data analysis comprising three iterative questions. The authors developed it to analyze qualitative data and to engage with the process of continuous meaning-making and progressive focusing inherent to analysis processes. They briefly present the framework and locate it within a more general discussion on analytic reflexivity. They then highlight its usefulness, particularly for newer researchers, by showing practical applications of the framework in two very different studies.
McAlpine, L. & Hopwood, N. 2009, ''Third spaces': a useful developmental lens', International Journal for Academic Development, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 159-162.
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McAlpine, L., Jazvc-Martek, M. & Hopwood, N. 2009, 'Doctoral student experience: activities and difficulties influencing identity development', International Journal for Researcher Development, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 97-112.
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This paper explores variation in the events or activities Education doctoral students describe as contributing to their feeling of being an academic or belonging to an academic community as well as difficulties they experience. The results (drawing principally on students in a Canadian research-intensive university though with some in a UK university) demonstrate a rich variation in multiple formative activities that are experienced as contributing to a developing identity as an academic, with many lying outside formal and semi-formal aspects of the doctorate. Yet, at the same time students report tensions in the very sorts of activities they often find significant and positive in the development of their identity. We see this analysis as offering much-needed insights into the formative role of cumulative day-to-day activities in the development of academic identity.
Hopwood, N. & Stocks, C. 2008, 'Teaching development for doctoral students: what can we learn from activity theory?', International Journal for Academic Development, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 187-198.
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This paper explores issues relating to programmes for doctoral students wishing to gain experience of, and develop skills in, teaching. The focus is on Developing Learning and Teaching a new provision at the University of Oxford. The purpose is to exemplify how activity theory can be used to situate particular programmes and individual experiences in a wider systemic setting. The authors explain the concepts of the activity system, and use these to identify systemic tensions (analysing university-wide survey data), then to assess whether the provision has addressed these tensions (analysing data from interviews with participants).
Hopwood, N. 2008, 'Values in geographic education: the challenge of attending to learners' perspectives', Oxford Review of Education, vol. 34, no. 5, pp. 589-608.
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Geography as a school subject is highly infused with values and controversial issues. Much attention has been paid to the role of the (geography) teacher in dealing with values education, but the continued lack of pupil-focused empirical work hampers conceptual, practical and policy development. Drawing on evidence from pupil-focused research, it is argued that greater attention must be paid to three issues: (i) pupils may interpret classroom experiences in relation to unannounced or hidden values and controversies; (ii) pupils may position or locate themselves in relation to controversial issues in a variety of ways; and (iii) as a result, pupils engagement with values in the geography classroom may be highly individualised and complex, reflecting (i) and (ii) in combination. The challenge is to attend to learners perspectives, and these three issues are presented as possible starting points for future research agendas.
Hopwood, N., Courtley-Green, C. & Chambers, T. 2005, 'Year 9 students' conceptions of geography', Teaching Geography, vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 91-93.
Hopwood, N. 2004, 'Research design and methods of data collection and analysis: Researching students' conceptions in a multiple-method case study', JOURNAL OF GEOGRAPHY IN HIGHER EDUCATION, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 347-353.
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Hopwood, N. 2004, 'Pupil's conceptions of geography: Towards an improved undestanding', International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 348-361.
This paper explores both substantive and methodological issues relating to research investigating Year 9 (age 13-14) pupils' conceptions of geography in one English comprehensive school. Posters, a questionnaire and interviews were used to generate a variety of forms of data. Findings indicated that the pupils saw geography as about the world, people and ways of life, countries, and world problems, and as a dynamic subject in which multiple points of view were considered. Map work, life skills, understanding other people's perspectives and geographical knowledge were the main skills associated with the subject. Values entered pupils' ideas in various ways, relating to respecting other people's points of view, and nurturing attitudes of respect for cultures or the environment. The paper concludes that these pupils' conceptions of geography may be better understood through individual pupil profiles that reflect the links between their ideas. © 2004 N. Hopwood.


Rossiter, C., Hopwood, N., Dunston, R., Fowler, C.M., Bigsby, M. & Lee, A. Centre for Research in Learning and Change, FASS, UTS 2011, Sustaining Practice Innovation in Child and Family Health: report to partners, pp. 1-38, Sydney.
The publication reports on the findings of a UTS Partnership Grant-funded project, a collaboration between the Centre for Learning & Change FASS and FNMH, Tresillian Family Care Centres, Kaleidoscope Hunter Children's Health Network and the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society. The study explored the implementation of the Family Partnership Model (FPM, Davis, Day and Bidmead 2002) in three child and family health nursing services in Australia and New Zealand. The FPM is an internationally-recognised exemplar of co-productive partnership practice, and has been adopted by all Australian states as the preferred model for providing universal child health services. Unlike previous studies of the FPM that assess its impact on individuals and families, this case study used in-depth qualitative methods to investigate the complex process in which nurses learn about a new way of working with families and how they incorporate new insights into their practice. They study also considers how innovative models of service delivery are implemented within health systems and how they are sustained over time.

My current research involves collaboration with:


Tresillian Family Care Centres

Northern Sydney Local Health District

Tasmanian Child and Family Centres

South Australia Women and Children's Hospital

Centre for Parent & Child Support (Kings College London, UK)

Royal University of Bhutan

I have close, ongoing research relationships with:

University of Oxford

University of Linkoping (Sweden)

University of Stirling and ProPEL Network

Curtin University