• United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Critical pedagogies of affect in physical education, health and wellbeing
Precarity and education
Curriculum innovation and change
Curriculum history
Learning theories and practice in physical education

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Personal profile

Research Interests

Professor Kirk has research interests in curriculum innovation and change, curriculum history, and physical education and sport pedagogy.

Current and Recent Projects

Research project: AHRC funded Early Career project Understanding the Gendered Roots of Sport:A study of female fandom and physical activity, 1945-2000, mentor and Co-I to Dr Stacey Pope, University of Durham, 2016-2019.

Book published August 2015 (co-author Professor Kimberly Oliver, New Mexico State University), Girls, Gender and Physical Education: An Activist Perspective, Routledge, publication June 2015. Associated research pilot project now completed, Adolescent girls valuing the physically active life: An Activist Approach, August 2015-June 2016. Papers presented from this project to the BERA Conference (September 2016), the SERA conference (November 2016), the AERA Annual Meeting (April 2017), and the European Conference of Curriculum Studies (June 2017) and are available by emailing david.kirk@strath.ac.uk .

Research Project (collaborator with Professor Patricia Vertinsky, University of British Columbia) Reconsidering the demise of the female tradition in physical education: its legacies and impact upon current practices in physical education for girls, Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada funded, 2014-2018. Associated edited book published by Routledge in 2016, The Female Tradition in Physical Education: Women First Reconsidered, co-edited by Kirk and Vertinsky.

Research Project (co-Investigator with Professor Doune Macdonald et al., University of Queensland), External provision of the school curriculum: Local needs to global networks in Health and Physical Education, Australian Research Council funded, 2014-2017. Kirk will chair and contribute a paper to a research Symposium 'Outsourcing and the commodification of HPE: Turning the process inside-out' at the AIESEP Congress Guadeloupe November 2017. A special issue of the journal Discourse will report findings from this project in 2020.


Personal Statement

I am currently Professor of Education and former Head of the School of Education (2014-17) at the University of Strathclyde. I am an educational researcher with teaching and research interests in educational innovation, curriculum history, and physical education and sport pedagogy. I am founding editor of the peer reviewed journal Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy (Routledge) and editor of Routledge Studies in Physical Education and Youth Sport. I have held academic appointments previously in universities in England, Australia, Ireland and Belgium and am currently Honorary Professor of Human Movement Studies at the University of Queensland. My most recent book Precarity, Critical Pedagogy and Physical Education was published by Routledge in 2020. My most recent co-authored book with Dr Kimberly Oliver, Girls, Gender and Physical Education: An Activist Perspective, was published by Routledge in August 2015. A book co-edited with Professor Patricia Vertinsky (University of British Columbia) Female Traditions in Physical Education: 'Women First' Revisted was published by Routledge in 2016.

Expertise & Capabilities

  • Curriculum historian
  • Qualitative researcher
  • Curriculum designer
  • School-based intervention designer
  • Physical education teacher educator

Industrial Relevance

Professor Kirk has been involved in a wide range of knowledge exchange activities throughout his career. He was a Founding Member of the Queensland Junior Sport Council in 1996, member of the Queensland Board of Senior Secondary School Studies Health & Physical Education Advisory Committee in two spells (1985-1988 and 1995-1998), a member of the Qualifications Curriculum Authority Expert Panel for A Level Physical Education (1999-2000), and Founding Member of both the Australian Association for Research in Education and the British Association for Educational Research Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy Special Interest Groups. More recently, in 2011 he completed a consultancy for UNESCO Bangkok on girls and women in physical education and sport, and in 2012 was a consultant for the Australian Sports Commissions Junior Sport Policy. In 2013 he was appointed as Special Advisor to the House of Commons Education Committee in relation to its report School Sport Following London 2012.

Teaching Interests

  • Physical education and sport pedagogy
  • Curriculum change, including curriculum history
  • Curriculum design

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 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Researching the Teacher's World: A case study of teacher-initiated innovation, Loughborough University

Award Date: 1 Jan 1986

Master of Education, Educational Theory, University of Glasgow

Award Date: 1 Jan 1982

Bachelor of Education, Physical Education and Human Movement, Jordanhill College

Award Date: 1 Jan 1979

External positions

Honorary Professor of Human Movement, The University of Queensland

1 Jan 201831 Dec 2020


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