Purcell, Martin


Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus
1997 …2023

Research activity per year

If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile


Martin has over thirty years' experience as a Community Education practitioner, having worked in various community development and youth work roles throughout the UK (including ten years in Wales, four in Scotland and over twenty in England).  Throughout his professional career, Martin has been employed mainly in the voluntary and statutory sectors, working with community groups to design and deliver community-based services, for which he secured several million pounds in funding from public and charitable sources.  Martin's practice has been underpinned by a commitment to social justice and to facilitating transformation in the lives of marginalised and excluded groups through informal educative processes.

Over the past fifteen years, Martin’s career has been in transition from being purely practice-based to academia.  Martin worked as a contract researcher for the prestigious Leeds-based Policy Research Institute for several years, conducting work on community initiatives for central government departments and agencies, local authorities, national voluntary organisations and local charities.  These included evaluations of the New Deal for Communities, the Youth Contract and the Children’s Fund; contributions to national and local policy on public participation and multi-disciplinary working; and research into the children’s workforce, including the role of Directors of Children’s Services and Children’s Trusts.

Martin has become involved increasingly in a voluntary capacity in various roles for community organisations and charities.  Currently a Trustee for two charities concerned with ensuring quality youth work provision, Martin was until recently a Trustee for a mental health charity providing services for young people in his home county of West Yorkshire.  Since his return to Dundee – where he was engaged in community regeneration and anti-poverty work for four years in the mid-1990s – Martin has continued to develop links with local community organisations, where he continues to work in voluntary roles.

Martin has taught for the past ten years on professionally qualifying community education and other programmes, including Youth & Community Work, Regeneration and Urban Design courses at four English Universities: Leeds Beckett, Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan and Huddersfield.   Throughout his time teaching on these programmes, Martin has developed considerable expertise in both his subject area and pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning, all of which inform his teaching practice at the University of Dundee.


As a member of the Community Education team, Martin teaches mainly on the professionally qualifying undergraduate and postgraduate Community Education programmes, including the following modules:

  • CO10009 Working with People (Lead Tutor)
  • CO12002 Youth Work Practice
  • CO20016 Community Education & Sustainability
  • CO32001 Community Education Practice Learning 3
  • CO41002 Community Education Practice Learning 4
  • CO40006 Practice Inquiry Project
  • CO42001 Critical Reflection

Martin also contributes to the following modules on the BA Professional Development programme:

  • PD30077 Leadership & Management Strategies
  • PD30087 Professional Inquiry Project
  • PP30091 Organisational Learning & Development

Other undergraduate and postgraduate modules in the School on which Martin is a Tutor include:

  • ID11001 Values: Self, Society & the Professions
  • RD51001 Research Methodologies for Interdisciplinarity


As indicated by details of his publications and contract research outputs (from over 30 contracts), Martin has conducted research in a wide range of areas.  Over the past ten years, building his PhD research (which explored the role of professional values in enacting public participation policy), Martin's research has focussed on the role of love as an element of professional practice in community development and work with young people.  Martin is developing a network of practitioners and researchers with an interest in this area, and guest edited a special issue of the Radical Community Work Journal in 2020, focussing on professionally loving practice. 

In 2020, Martin completed his most recent contract research project, a three-year evaluation of Kirklees Community Learning Works, a voluntary sector-led programme delivering targeted support to some of the most vulnerable and marginalised individuals in the Kirklees district, West Yorkshire. Martin remains interested in conducting contract research for voluntary and community sector organisations, to support the sharing of excellence throughout the sector, in areas related to his own practice and research expertise. 

Research interests

Martin would be interested in conducting research into work in the fields of community education in its broadest interpretation, including community development, youth work, anti poverty work and the promotion of social and environmental justice. 

Reflecting his ongoing interest in values-based practice, Martin is keen to collaborate with practitioners and academics in fields related to Community Education, exploring the translation of professional values into practice.

In particular, Martin welcomes approaches from potential collaborators in research into professionally loving forms of practice, including attention to 'healing' work for practitioners as well as the groups and individuals with whom they work.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

PGCert THE, Teaching in Higher Education, University of Huddersfield

Award Date: 12 Jul 2016

Doctor of Philosophy, Community Development Values in Practice, Leeds Beckett University

Award Date: 12 Jul 2012

Master of Education, Community Education

Award Date: 17 Jul 2000

Bachelor of Science, Agriculture with Agricultural Economics, Bangor University

Award Date: 7 Jul 1987

External positions

External Examiner, Liverpool John Moores University

30 Jun 2021 → …

Secretariat Member

14 Oct 201914 Dec 2020

Advisory Board Member

1 Aug 2018 → …


31 Mar 2017 → …

External Examiner, University of Brighton

30 Sept 201531 Jul 2020

External Examiner, Wrexham Glyndwr University

21 Sept 201431 Jul 2018


31 Mar 201431 Oct 2019


Dive into the research topics where Martin Purcell is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or