Skip to content

Toggle service links

You are here

  1. Home
  2. Dr Kevin Collins

Dr Kevin Collins

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Senior Lecturer
  • Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
  • School of Engineering & Innovation
  • kevin.collins

Professional biography

I am a senior lecturer in Environment & Systems and have a BSc in Geography & Environment and a PhD in Sustainable Development from the University of London (UCL).  Since joining the OU in 2001 as a research post-doc, I have focussed on systems concepts and practices and ideas of social learning for improving environmental situations.

As well as involvement in a range of international and national research projects, I also contribute to undergraduate and postgraduate teaching on environmental management; systems; and research modules.

Research interests

My research and scholarship explores the dyanmic relationships between a society and its environment.  I use theories of social learning and systems ideas to design social learning systems for transforming.  Much of my work is action research, involving policy-makers, stakeholders and practitioners in many different governance contexts and scales from catchments to national and international policy and practice.  A central theme is the managing and governance of water.  

Current projects include :

CADWAGO - Climate Change Adaptation and Water Governance
DRIVER - Drought impacts: vulnerability thresholds in monitoring and early-warning research  (funded by the Belmont Forum's Freshwater Security Theme)
I am also working with DEFRA/Environment Agency on social learning approaches for catchment based approaches and River Basin Planning under the Water Framework Directive.  

Recent initiatives and projects also include:

I am interested in supervising PhDs in the following areas:
  • social learning
  • systems thinking and practice
  • environmental and water resource managing
  • natural resource managing and governance.

Teaching interests

My teaching includes contributions and teaching on variety of modules centred on environmental managing and systems approaches.

Undergraduate: I am co-author of T219 Environmental Management 1 and Environmental Management II

Postgraduate:  T802 Research Project;  TU812 Managing Systemic Change; TD866 Environmental Responsibility, T863 Environmental Decision Making: A Systems Approach

I am also a co-author of a Guide to Systems Diagramming

I currently chair two modules: T219 Environmental Management 1 and T802 Research Project


Enhancing drought monitoring and early warning for the UK through stakeholder co-enquiries (2019-01)
Hannaford, Jamie; Collins, Kevin; Haines, Sophie and Barker, Lucy
Weather, Climate, and Society, 11(1) (pp. 49-63)
Revisiting deliberative policy analysis through systemic co-inquiry: some experiences from the implementation of the Water Framework Directive in England (2019)
Foster, Natalie; Ison, Raymond; Blackmore, Chris and Collins, Kevin
Policy Studies, 40 (pp. 510-533)
Global Water Governance and Climate Change: Identifying Innovative Arrangements for Adaptive Transformation (2018-01-31)
Melo Zurita, Maria de Lourdes; Thomsen, Dana C.; Holbrook, Neil J.; Smith, Timothy F.; Lyth, Anna; Munro, Paul G.; de Bruin, Annemarieke; Seddaiu, Giovanna; Roggero, Pier Paolo; Baird, Julia; Plummer, Ryan; Bullock, Ryan; Collins, Kevin and Powell, Neil
Water, 10, Article 29(1)
Stakeholder engagement in water governance as social learning: lessons from practice (2018)
Wehn, Uta; Collins, Kevin; Anema, Kim; Basco-Carrera, Laura and Lerebours, Alix
Water International, 43(1) (pp. 34-59)
Teaching Environmental Management Competencies Online: Towards “Authentic” Collaboration? (2017)
Bell, Simon; Lane, Andy; Collins, Kevin; Berardi, Andrea and Slater, Rachel
European Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, 20(1) (pp. 22-44)
Learning for Transformation of Water Governance: Reflections on Design from the Climate Change Adaptation and Water Governance (CADWAGO) Project (2016-11-04)
Blackmore, Chris; van Bommel, Severine; de Bruin, Annemarieke; de Vries, Jasper; Westberg, Lotten; Powell, Niel; Foster, Natalie; Collins, Kevin; Roggero, Pier Paolo and Seddaiu, Giovanna
Water, 8, Article 510(11)
Stakeholder Co-inquiries on Drought Impacts, Monitoring and Early Warning Systems (2016-11)
Collins, Kevin; Hannaford, Jamie; Svoboda, Mark; Knutson, Cody; Wall, Nicole; Bernadt, Tonya; Crossman, Neville; Overton, Ian; Acreman, Mike; Bachmair, Sophie and Stahl, Kerstin
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 97(11) (ES217-ES220)
Drought indicators revisited: the need for a wider consideration of environment and society (2016-06-16)
Bachmair, Sophie; Stahl, Kerstin; Collins, Kevin; Hannaford, Jamie; Acreman, Mike; Svoboda, Mark; Knutson, Cody; Helm Smith, Kelly; Wall, Nicole; Fuchs, Brian; Crossman, Neville and Overton, Ian C.
WIREs Water, 3(4) (pp. 516-536)
Water Governance in England: Improving Understandings and Practices through Systemic Co-Inquiry (2016)
Foster, Natalie; Collins, Kevin; Ison, Ray and Blackmore, Chris
Water, 5, Article 540
Institutionalising social learning: towards systemic and adaptive governance (2015-11-30)
Ison, Raymond L.; Collins, Kevin B. and Wallis, Philip J
Environmental Science & Policy, 53(Part B) (pp. 105-117)
Reframing water governance praxis: does reflection on metaphors have a role? (2015)
Ison, Raymond; Allan, Catherine and Collins, Kevin
Environment & Planning C: Government & Policy, 33 (pp. 1697-1713)
Insights into operationalizing communities of practice from SSM-based inquiry processes (2014-12)
Ison, Ray; Blackmore, Chris; Collins, Kevin; Holwell, Sue and Iaquinto, Ben
Systemic Practice and Action Research, 27 (pp. 91-113)
In search of systemic innovation for sustainable development: a design praxis emerging from a decade of social learning inquiry (2014-05-31)
Colvin, John; Blackmore, Chris; Chimbuya, Sam; Collins, Kevin; Dent, Mark; Goss, John; Ison, Ray; Roggero, Pier Paolo and Seddaiu, Giovanna
Research Policy, 43 (pp. 760-771)
Managing complexity in Australian urban water governance: transitioning Sydney to a water sensitive city. (2014)
Floyd, Joshua; Iaquinto, Benjamin L.; Ison, Ray and Collins, Kevin
Futures, 61 (pp. 1-12)
Reframing water governance: a multi-perspective study of an over-engineered catchment in China (2012-04)
Wei, Yongping; Ison, Ray; Colvin, John and Collins, Kevin
Journal of Environmental Planning & Management, 55(3) (pp. 297-318)
Sustainable catchment managing in a climate changing world: new integrative modalities for connecting policy makers, scientists and other stakeholders (2011-12)
Ison, Ray; Collins, Kevin; Colvin, John; Jiggins, Janice; Roggero, Pier Paolo; Seddaiu, Giovanna; Steyaert, Patrick; Toderi, Marco and Zanolla, Chiara
Water Resources Management, 25(15) (pp. 3977-3992)
Trusting emergence: some experiences of learning about integrated catchment science with the Environment Agency of England and Wales (2010)
Collins, Kevin B. and Ison, Ray L.
Water Resources Management, 24(4) (pp. 669-688)
Jumping off Arnstein's Ladder: Social learning as a new policy paradigm for climate change adaptation (2009-11-26)
Collins, Kevin and Ison, Ray
Environmental Policy and Governance, 19(6) (pp. 358-373)
Editorial: Living with environmental change: adaptation as social learning (2009-11)
Collins, Kevin and Ison, Ray
Environmental Policy and Governance, 19(6) (pp. 351-357)
Building learning catchments for integrated catchment managing: Designing learning systems based on experiences in the UK and South Africa (2009)
Collins, Kevin; Colvin, John and Ison, Ray
Water Science & Technology, 59(4) (pp. 687-693)
A systemic approach to managing multiple perspectives and stakeholding in water catchments: some findings from three UK case studies (2007-10)
Collins, Kevin; Blackmore, Chris; Morris, Richard and Watson, Drennan
Environmental Science and Policy, 10(6) (pp. 564-574)
Systemic environmental decision making: designing learning systems (2007)
Ison, Ray; Blackmore, Chris; Collins, Kevin and Furniss, Pam
Kybernetes, 36(9-10) (pp. 1340-1361)
Experimental discursive spaces: policy processes, public participation and the greater London authority (2004-04-01)
Harrison, C. M.; Munton, R. J. C and Collins, K.
Urban Studies, 41(4) (pp. 903-917)
Deliberation and inclusion: vehicles for increasing trust in UK public governance? (2001-07-01)
Bloomfield, D.; Collins, K.; Fry, C. and Munton, R.
Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 19(4) (pp. 501-513)
M-World, S-World: Achieving wisdom in online groups (2019-02)
Bell, Simon; Collins, Kevin and Cutting, Charles
ISBN : 978-1-4730-2891-3 | Publisher : Open University | Published : Milton Keynes
Understanding and developing communities of practice through diagramming (2017)
Blackmore, Chris; Foster, Natalie; Collins, Kevin and Ison, Ray
In: Oreszczyn, Sue and Lane, Andy eds. Mapping environmental sustainability: reflecting on systemic practices for participatory research (pp. 155-182)
Publisher : Policy Press | Published : London
Designing social learning systems for integrating social sciences into policy processes: Some experiences of water managing. (2014)
Collins, Kevin
In: Manfredo, M. J.; Vaske, J. J.; Rechkemmer, A. and Duke, E. A. eds. Understanding Society and Natural Resources: Forging New Strands of Integration across the Social Sciences (pp. 229-251)
ISBN : 978-94-017-8958-5 | Publisher : Springer | Published : Amsterdam
Towards systemic governance of social-biophysical systems: social learning as collaborative performance (2014)
Ison, Ray; Collins, Kevin; Blackmore, Chris and Lonsdale, Kate
In : Resilience & Development: Mobilising for Transformation (4-8 May 2014, Montpelier, France)
Supporting Water Governance and Climate Change Adaptation Through Systemic Praxis (2013)
Blackmore, Chris; Ison, Ray and Collins, Kevin
In : 12th Biennial Conference on Communication and Environment, Participation Revisited: Openings and Closures for Deliberations on the Commons, (6-11 Jun 2013, Uppsala, Sweden) (pp. 107-117)
Institutionalising social learning: towards systemic and adaptive governance (2012)
Ison, Raymond; Wallis, Phil and Collins, Kevin
In : Sustainable Hyderabad – Albrecht-Daniel-Thaer Kolloquium 2012 on “Crafting or Designing? Intended Institutional Change for Social-Ecological Systems”, (8-9 Jun 2012, Berlin)
Social learning systems for collective action: a critical review of cases from UK, South Africa, China and Australia using social learning systems (2012)
Blackmore, C.; Collins, K.; Ison, R.; Colvin, J. and Wallis, P.
In : Planet Under Pressure 2012 (25-29 Mar 2012, London, UK)
Public policy that does the right thing rather than the wrong thing righter (2008)
Ison, Ray and Collins, Kevin
In : Analysing Collaborative and Deliberative Forms of Governance (14 Nov 2008, The Australia National University, Canberra, Australia)
Dare we jump off Arnstein's ladder? Social learning as a new policy paradigm (2006-06)
Collins, Kevin and Ison, Raymond
In : Proceedings of PATH (Participatory Approaches in Science & Technology) Conference (4-7 Jun 2006, Edinburgh)
Learning to start systemically in environmental decision making (2006)
Ison, Ray; Blackmore, Chris and Collins, Kevin
In : 7th European IFSA Symposium (7-11 May 2006, Wageningen, The Netherlands)
Partnerships for action in river catchment governance. A case study in the Irwell, UK. (2018)
Foster, Natalie; Ison, Ray; Blackmore, Chris and Collins, Kevin
The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK.
Drought: Understanding and reducing vulnerability through monitoring and early warning systems. Report of the DrIVER workshop, 17 March 2015. (2016-03)
Collins, K.; Hannaford, J.; Haines, S.; Bachmair, S.; Crossman, N.; Stephens, L. and Svoboda, M.
DrIVER project report, Wallingford, UK.
River basin planning project: social learning (Science Report SC050037/SR1) (2005-09-01)
Collins, Kevin; Ison, Ray and Blackmore, Chris
Environment Agency, Bristol, UK.

Meet our Academics

Head and shoulders of male OU academic

In addition to teaching on Open University modules our academics are engaged in ground breaking research that benefits individuals and society.

Request your prospectus

Request a prospectus icon

Explore our qualifications and courses by requesting one of our prospectuses today.

Request prospectus

Are you already an OU student?

Go to StudentHome