Dr Stuart Connor

Reader in Learning Futures

Email address: stuart.connor@wlv.ac.ukPhone number: 01902 323004Location: Gorway Road, Walsall, West Midlands, WS1 3EZ Faculty: Faculty of Education Health & WellbeingSchool/Institute: Institute of EducationAreas of expertise:

Futures Studies, Futures Literacy and Policy Analysis


Stuart Connor is a Reader in Learning Futures, in the Education Observatory at the University of Wolverhampton. With a background in policy analysis, in books published to date, a recurrent theme is to not only understand the impact that policies have on people's lives, but to also explore how people can and should have an impact on policies and future practices.

This is reflected in Stuart’s current research that anticipates learning futures, that is the form and functions of futures literacy and the role of Futures Studies in anticipating the futures of learning. Faced with an uncertain, contested but ultimately shared future, the research draws on a range of foresight methods to examine the horizon of what are deemed probable, possible and preferable futures, whilst also surfacing and questioning assumptions regarding what constitutes desirable futures and the means by which such futures can and should be realised. The research works with individuals, groups and institutions to consider and rehearse a wide range of future operating conditions and relations in order to inform decision making and develop, test and assess prototype products, policies and practices.  

Research interests

  • Futures Studies
  • Foresight
  • Futures Literacy
  • Social Credit Systems and Citizen Scores


Membership of professional bodies

Member of the Social Policy Association


PhD – Manchester Metropolitan University (1997)

PGCE - Further and Higher Education Teaching and Learning Certificate, Manchester Metropolitan University. (1998)


Recent Publications


Connor, S. (2017) An examination of independent fiscal councils and their orientation to the future and policy making, European Journal of Futures Research. DOI: 10.1007/s40309-017-0124-6

Connor, S. (2017) (A)Political Futures: The rationale, form and function of independent fiscal councils in policy making, Futures of a Complex World, 12–13 June 2017, Conference Proceedings, Turku, Finland. http://www.utu.fi/fi/yksikot/ffrc/julkaisut/e-tutu/Documents/FFRC_eBook_2-2018.pdf 

Connor, S (2012) Using frames and making claims: the use of multimodal assessments and the student as producer agenda. Enhancing Learning in the Social Sciences (ELiSS). 4(3).


Connor, S, Mahoney, M. and Lewis, N. (2019) Anticipating a 4th Industrial Revolution and the Futures of Learning: A discussion paper for Wolverhampton Learning City Region. Education Observatory: University of Wolverhampton.

Connor, S. (2018) From Ay I to AI: The Black Country, Work and the 4th Industrial Revolution. University of Wolverhampton. http://hdl.handle.net/2436/621344

Connor, S. (2017) Global Megatrends and the Black Country. University of Wolverhampton http://hdl.handle.net/2436/620687 

Connor, S. (2012) Who are the poor? The role of imagery in the framing of debates on poverty. A report presented to the TUC Poverty Conference - work or full maintenance. Congress House, London, 17th October, 2012.

Books and book chapters

Connor, S (2013) What's Your Problem? Making sense of social problems and the policy process. St Albans: Critical Publishing.

Simpson, G. & Connor, S. (2011) Social Policy for Social Welfare Professionals. Bristol: Policy Press.

Connor, S. and Huggins, R. (2010) The Technology and the Artefacts of Social Control – Monitoring Criminal and Anti-Social Behaviour Through and In Media Cultures. In, Sociology of Crime, Law and Deviance, Volume 15, Social Control: Informal, Legal and Medical, Edited by James Chriss. Cambridge, MA, Emerald.

Conference Papers

Connor, S. (2019) Anticipating Scored Societies: Using future studies to explore and prototype the use of citizen scores and social credit systems. Constructing Social Futures Conference, Turku, Finland, 12-13 June, 2019

Connor, S. (2019) The Futures of Lifelong Learning? Using foresight to anticipate the changing rationales, roles and relations of lifelong learning. Universities Association for Lifelong Learning Conference: Lifelong Learning and Innovation. Telford Innovation Campus, 10-12 April 2019

Connor, S. (2018) Symposium - Anticipating the next crises. Developing future minded policy and practice. Conference of the Social Policy Association: In the Shadow of the 2008 Crisis: Social Policy Ten Years On, 11-13th July, University of York.

Connor, S. (2018) There Are Alternatives: The role of future archetypes for realising possible and preferable policy futures. Conference of the Social Policy Association: In the Shadow of the 2008 Crisis: Social Policy Ten Years On, 11-13th July, University of York.

Connor, S. (2018) Using foresight to anticipate open, contested and shared policy processes and futures. Future-Oriented Technology Analysis: Future in the Making Conference, 4-5th June, Brussels.

Connor, S. (2017) The Future of Public Debt: Assessing the implications for public services, 50th Anniversary Conference of the Social Policy Association, July 11th, Durham University. Connor, S. (2017) (A)Political Futures: Examining the rise and role of fiscal councils in global governance and policy making. Futures of a Complex World, 12–13 June 2017, Turku, Finland.

Connor, S. (2016) Determined Futures: Examining the Role of Fiscal Watchdogs in Policy Making. Social Policy Association Conference, 6th July, Belfast Metropolitan College.

Connor, S. (2016) Ernst Bloch’s Subject of Utopia: Dreaming of a better life. Utopian Studies Society (Europe), 17th International Conference, 500 years of Utopia, 5-10 July 2016, University of Lisbon, Portugal.

Experience in industry

Policy analysis and strategic foresight.

Further information

External Examiner

Current:  University of Edinburgh, MSc Community Action and Social Justice (2014-2019)

Previous: Manchester Metropolitan University – BA Social Care (2013-2107)

Postgraduate Research Supervision 

Extensive experience of supervising students on undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes and Professional Doctorate and PhD programmes. 

Recent completions include PhDs on ‘Setting the Agenda for Youth Participation (Completed 2013); Older People and Work in South Korea (Completed 2014) and The political economy of Hydrogen Energy (Completed 2015).

Currently supervising students undertaking PhDs and Professional Doctorates on the topics, the Futures of Higher Education,  the Politics of Representation in Public Health; Inclusive Growth and Regional Policy making; The Futures of Social Care Funding and Governance.