KBKevin Bowring is retiring this week.

He has been the Rugby Football Union’s Head of Professional Coach Development since 2002.

This is a brief post to celebrate a remarkable career of a friend for almost forty years.

I first met Kevin in the 1970s whilst he was a student at Borough Road College when he and I started our playing careers at London Welsh. I had been fortunate to meet many remarkable rugby players at Loughborough College but Kevin’s understanding of the game took my own thinking about rugby to a different level. I was fortunate to play seven-a-side rugby with him and appreciate at first hand his playing and leadership abilities.

A decade after leaving London, I met up with Kevin again in his role as Wales Under 21 and then Wales A coach. In the early 1990s he was widely regarded as the senior coach in waiting. In 1995, he realised that expectation as a very modest and humble coach of Wales in the professional era.

I had the good fortune to work with him throughout the 1990s and see his game understanding translate into outstanding coaching. He had a compelling vision for how the game could be played and by 1998 had a sense of the game that was a decade ahead of his time.

Kevin resigned from his position as national coach in 1998. I thought his departure was an immense loss to the game. He had brought a profound educational approach to coaching that connected the game with its coaching roots nurtured by Ray Williams and Carwyn James. I thought he made the third member of this trinity of understanding how to coach and value players as individuals.

I was delighted that the RFU recognised Kevin’s ability as the founding head of coach development. Since 2002 he has worked with a generation of coaches whom I have always regarded as the Bowring Babes. These coaches have transformed rugby coaching in the last decade. Everywhere you look in England you see coaching flourishing as a result of the programs Kevin has put in place. His passion for coach learning has had a profound impact on European coaching as well. He was the recipient of the Dyson Award in 2007 for his services to coach education.

In 2013, I was fortunate that Kevin and I were able to work closely together again. He kindly agreed to support a coach learning project that I suggested. It involves following coaches’ learning journeys as a critical friend. I hope that the project has embodied all the educational qualities that he values.

Kevin will continue to work with the RFU in a part-time capacity. I am hopeful that I can continue my learning journey with him too.

I trust he has the most delightful of farewells from his peers at Twickenham today.


Photo Credits

Kevin Bowring (WRU)

Kevin Bowring (RFU)

Vale Bill Cunningham


I wrote about Bill Cunningham in 2014. I had seen a documentary about his life and work that sent me off thinking about phenomenography.

The New York Times has announced that Bill died on Saturday aged 87.

Cynthia Collins, an editor at the New York Times has been sharing her memories of Bill. The two photographs shared here are from her Twitter account.

Jacob Bernstein noted “Mr. Cunningham was such a singular presence in the city that, in 2009, he was designated a living landmark”. He added that his photographs were “an exuberant, sometimes retroactively embarrassing chronicle of the way we looked.”

As part of the tribute to Bill, the New York Times has reprinted a 2002 article that Bill wrote about his life. The article starts with this paragraph:

I started photographing people on the street during World War II. I used a little box Brownie. Nothing too expensive. The problem is I’m not a good photographer. To be perfectly honest, I’m too shy. Not aggressive enough. Well, I’m not aggressive at all. I just loved to see wonderfully dressed women, and I still do. That’s all there is to it.

Cynthia shared a quote from this article:


Bill’s work fascinated me. Judging by the outpouring of grief on the news of his death, many others shared this fascination.

His 2002 article finished with this paragraph:

I go out every day. When I get depressed at the office, I go out, and as soon as I’m on the street and see people, I feel better. But I never go out with a preconceived idea. I let the street speak to me.


Photo Credits

An April Eve 2014 (Cynthia Collins)

In his own words (Cynthia Collins)

That Kind of Day


I woke up early today.

I am still thinking about Eddie McGuire’s behaviour and the response of his club, Collingwood, and the Triple M Radio station in Melbourne. The radio station is reported to have said:

Triple M has carefully considered whether further disciplinary action is required and believes that the public censure of the comments and the actions taken by the AFL community should be a sufficient incentive for a change in behaviour.

A statement from Colingwood Football Club said it “accepted Eddie McGuire’s unreserved apology”, and “expressed its complete and ongoing support for his position as president”.

Both positions appear to be classic examples of moral hazard. Principal agents are treated as if they are immune from events. I find it staggering that Collingwood can have ‘complete’ support for Eddie McGuire.

This has happened whilst I am pursuing some research on learning lives. By good fortune, I found Ann Murray’s thesis online. Ann discusses the learning experiences of fourteen mature women “who successfully completed a Higher National Diploma or degree in a Further Education College in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland”. She notes:

The women were all from non-traditional backgrounds in that they had left school with few or no qualifications and had returned to education later in life. They all had other competing demands on their time such as families, partners and employment and they were the first generation of their family to gain a Higher Education qualification.

Her thesis is introduced with a quote from Joyce McCarl Nielsen:

To adopt a woman’s perspective means to see things one did not see before and also to see the familiar rather differently.


As I was searching for Ann in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, I found one tweet about Ann.

Caroline is a headteacher on Shetland. I found her school’s blog site and learned more about her work.

As I was reading the blog, I had a call from my local high school to follow up on conversations about gender with teachers and students. The school would like to continue with conversations about men’s health and explore ways that male teachers in particular might address the socialisation of young men at the school.

It has been that kind of day.

Thinking about metropolitan Melbourne whilst visiting the Highlands and Islands of Scotland on the way back to a rural town in New South Wales … and wanting to see the familiar rather differently.

Photo Credit

Burravoe Primary School

About this picture.

I thought carefully about using the picture. The blog rules for Burravoe have this rule:

4. Always ask the people in a photo before you put it into a blog post

I believe that the appearance of the picture has everyone’s consent for a public domain image.

It is a great picture to share as it embodies for me the hope young people in picture have for their place in the world. I want this hope to be a cultural universal that celebrates gender equity and respect.