John Gibbins was until 2007 managing generic professional and research skills development for two Faculties as Director of Postgraduate Skills Development at the University of Newcastle, UK
The development of researcher skills is shaped around the Roberts Agenda which is implemented by UKGrad now Vitae at www.vitae.co.uk an agency of the Research Councils UK. John provided service delivery, consultancy, and training sessions at Newcastle and other British Universities and through such regional bodies as the Yorkshire and North East Hub of UKGrad, the North East Consortium for Researcher Development, and such national bodies as the UK Council for Graduate Education
John was the External Advisor to the European Unions TEMPUS ADAM project that assists the University of Belgrade in Serbia to professionalize their doctoral and masters programmes in the fields of media and the arts.
Education and employments
John was educated at Aldworth’s Hospital Reading Blue Coat School www.blue-coat.reading.sch.uk/ and then moved to London University as an External Student working at the Regent Street Polytechnic. Graduating with a BSc Honours in Economics (Government) in 1967 he experienced a training in Politics, Philosophy and Economics with such teachers as Noel O’Sullivan
David George and David Manning. John gained an MA in Politics from the University of Durham in 1969 where he focused on political theory with David Manning, Henry Tudor and Charles Vereker and met Andrew Gamble as a student. But it was while browsing in the secondary sequence of old books removed from the normal stacks that John lighted upon Part 1 of John Grote’s Exploratio Philosophica of 1865. How could anyone have produced such a clear and articulate account of idealism in England at this time? How could there have been an idealist philosopher in Britain let alone in Cambridge? The rest of Grote’s corpus were located mostly bequeathed in the library of Joseph Barber Lightfoot, Grote’s old friend and once the Bishop of Durham
A hastily written MA dissertation of 1969 on ‘The Philosophy of John Grote’ examined by Michael Oakeshott, led John to apply for an SSRC Fellowship to study Grote at the University of Newcastle and hence became the first doctoral student to register in the Politics Department. Here he was supervised by David George and Professor Tim Gray and examined successfully in 1988 by Professors Peter Jones and Lord Plant. The two volume thesis was entitled, ‘ John Grote, Cambridge University and the Development of Victorian Ideas, 1830-1870’ and contained copies of letters from Michael Oakeshott to the author. This ninetenth century topic was part of a much wider career of teaching and researching in the history of ideas from the Greeks to the present.
John became a lecturer in humanities and politics at the newly founded Teesside Polytechnic in 1972 helping colleagues to establish honours degrees in Humanities (Politics, History and English) and Social Studies (Sociology, Social Administration and Criminology). Teaching and managing various subject groups led John into inter disciplinary research fields and to co-founding, with Professor Mike Featherstone, the journal of Theory, Culture and Society John remained on the Editorial Board of TCS for its first decade from 1980 to 1990 and remained the Books Reviews Editor, working with such scholars as Bryan Turner, Mike Hepworth and Roland Robertson. The Polytechnic became a University in the 1980's and re-organization found John variously in the subject groups of politics, sociology, social policy and criminology. He moved to becoming a Principal Lecturer in Research Management in 1999 when the School was managed by Professor Pamela Abbott, helping equip postgraduate students across the university with research and professional skills. John was returned in every Research Assessment Exercise from its inception. John worked as A101 Tutor Counsellor in Arts and Humanities for the Open University from 1972 to 1997 at the Northallerton Study Centre tutoring in history, art history, literature, religion and philosophy.
Cultural theory became a parallel interest in the decades from 1980-2000 with John publishing Contemporary Political Culture: Politics in a Postmodern Age, Sage 1989 and with Bo Reimer The Politics of Postmodernity, Sage, 1999, as well as numerous essays and articles on JS Mill, idealism, sexuality, postmodernism, and John Grote. John helped edit special editions of TCS on Consumer Culture; The Fate of Modernity and Postmodernity. John helped develop the Researcher Development programme at Teesside before retiring as Principal Lecturer in Research Management in 2004. John was elected to be one of Britain’s members of the Beliefs in Government (BIG) European Project that ran from 1988-1995 and led to a five volume publication in 1995 and contributed to discussions as well as a chapter. Click Here To View
John has provided consultancy services to several professions, professional bodies, organizations and universities in the areas of professional and research ethics, including social workers; nurses; the police, radiographers, academics, managers and research managers. He has provided workshops, training services and plenary lectures to numerous organisations including UKGrad, UKCGE, and the Political Studies Association. This has extended to the international scale with papers to the American Political Studies Association in Washington, College of Psychologists in Girona, the Swiss Government in Montreux and now the Serbian Government. John held visiting posts at History and Philosophy of Science at Cambridge and the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona.
John is currently both a Visiting Scholar and Senior Member of Wolfson College, Cambridge. He is working on a paper on the C18th Cambridge Platonist John Balguy, a book on The Philosophy of Research, and a conference in Cambridge in 2013 entitled Knowledge Formation and Networks in mid-Century Cambridge: John Grote and Cambridge University. He has recently published an article on the Principles for Cosmopolitan Societies, as part of his contribution to debates on Modernization and Globalization. John has been married since 1968 to Sheila who has worked variously in legal services, as Look North Secretary and then Production Secretary for BBC North Television, before retiring as Clerk to the Council for Northallerton Town Council after 26 years service. They have a daughter Kate who is a Project manager in the public services in York, and a son who is an International News Editor moving from London to Dohar in 2010. Kate has three children with her husband Mark Grandfield.