Skip navigation

Complexity and Learning

Northumbria have been at the forefront of the development of a new complexity-informed paradigm for the funding, commissioning, management, and evolution of public service.The Complexity and Learning team (led by Hesselgreaves, Lowe, French, Hawkins, Martin, Wheatman, Snape, Wilson) is undertaking action research with public and voluntary sector funders and delivery organisations to develop how this paradigm is implemented in practice, how to support the development of a Community of Practice through learning partner roles, and how complexity-informed practice could be evaluated. The team hosted a series of seminars in April 2020 on taking a Human Learning Systems approach to public services, attracting over 300 public and non-profit managers and practitioners, academics, and consultants. 

Northumbria are now a partner with Centre for Public Impact (CPI) working together on exploring complexity-informed public management and how new ideas can inform the re-imagining of government. This team of researchers are founding members of a new vehicle to enable convening, collaboration and learning across and between organisations interested in Human Learning Systems including the understanding of the role of ‘Learning Partners’ in reflexive practice. Collaborative partners include: Northumbria University, CPI, Children England, Collaborate CIC, Collective Impact Agency, Concern Group, Easier Inc, Edberts House, Gateshead Council, GLT Partners Ltd, Impower, Mesopartner, POP+, and Wellbeing Teams. 

Current examples of this work include action research a Human Learning Systems approach to public management for the Tudor Trust (Hesselgreaves, Lowe, Hawkins, Wilson), and place-based systems change action research for Lankelly Chase Foundation (Hesselgreaves, Lowe, French, Wilson). 


Our Courses

Interested in studying at Northumbria? With 31,500 students, Northumbria is one of the largest universities in the country, offering almost 500 courses on either a full-time, part-time or distance learning basis.


Register for an Open Day

We host a number of Open Days throughout the year. Click to find out more about our Open Days and book your place.


Our Staff

Our students learn from the best – inspirational academic staff with a genuine passion for their subject. Our courses are at the forefront of current knowledge and practice and are shaped by world-leading and internationally excellent research.

Latest News and Features

Northumbria University launches series of events to help businesses retain top talent
Port of Blyth
EXPERT COMMENT: How running can help you cope with stress at work

Beyond Sustainability

Northumbria University Amsterdam is hosting high-profile debate workshops on sustainable urban…

Counterfeiting symposium
Care leavers covenant
Imogen and Eliza Hick
More events

Upcoming events

Assessing Viability in Planning under the National Planning Policy Framework
Richard Williams, Avison Young
The Building Safety Act and its Implications

Back to top