Wisdom of the Past – Exploring the Future: Opportunities, Dilemmas and Tensions for Outdoor Educators

Dr Allen Hill

Allen Hill will launch the conference with an inspiring keynote address at the opening function at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.  Allen will set the stage for the conference as he frames his talk around the theme of the conference:  Wisdom of the Past – Exploring the Future.  Allen will examine and reflect on the historical foundations of long-held traditions of outdoor education, such as nature, risk, adventure, skill development and social and interpersonal development.  He will also discuss more contemporary constructs and visions of outdoor education including local place-based education, environmental education, sustainability education and social justice.  He will muse on the opportunities, dilemmas and tensions that emerge as a result of these diverse, and, at times, conflictual constructs of our discipline.  Throughout his keynote, Allen will also introduce and reflect on the four sub-themes that frame up the conference:  teaching and learning; safety and risk management; human-nature interactions and contemporary issues.   Allen will ground his talk with real life examples from his varied career as a high school teacher, OE practitioner and academic researcher.


Dr Allen Hill is a Principal Lecturer in Sustainability and Outdoor Education at ARA Institute of Canterbury, Aotearoa New Zealand. Allen joined the team at ARA in July, 2016 from the University of Tasmania, Australia, where he still holds an adjunct Senior Lecturer position in the Faculty of Education.

Before his transition into tertiary education, Allen was a secondary school teacher in Aotearoa New Zealand for 11 years. During this time he held a number of leadership roles including Head of Health and Physical Education and Outdoor Education, and Head of Assessment in a large co-educational state secondary school.

Allen’s professional career can be characterized by an enduring commitment to the development of people through education coupled with a strong concern for issues of justice, sustainability, transformation, and citizenship. How education can engage people with meaningful outdoor learning experiences and contribute to a sustainable future through connecting people with each other and with the places they inhabit is at the heart of his research and teaching interests.

When Allen is not at work or hanging out with his wife and 3 kids he can often be found dressed in lycra on 2 wheels.

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