Hazel Johnson has a background in Sociology, Social Administration and Development Studies. Prior to coming to the OU, she worked for a non-governmental organisation and for social services in London. She is one of the original members of the team producing undergraduate curriculum in international development at the OU, and is one of the founders of the MSc in Development Management. For many years, she was joint managing editor of the Journal of International Development and a Council Member of the Development Studies Association (DSA). She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and a Trustee of the UK Co-operative College. She is pathway and cluster lead in the Grand Union ESRC doctoral training partnership with Oxford and Brunel Universities.
Hazel Johnson’s current research interests focus on aspects of the social and solidarity economy, particularly the role of co-operatives in promoting learning, livelihoods and resilience. In the past she has researched knowledge and social learning for institutional change, including projects on: the impacts of educational programmes in development policy and management on course participants and their organizations in Southern Africa and the UK (with Alan Thomas); active learning and social inclusion in environment and development in Zimbabwe (with Gordon Wilson); and learning and knowledge transfer in North-South municipal partnerships (also with Gordon Wilson). She has supervised doctoral students in the institutionalization of educational change; ethnicity and development; NGO gender policies; knowledge processes engaged in by development consultants and advisers; collective action and innovation; gender and use of mobile phones; women teachers’ lives in rural sub-Saharan Africa; young people's engagement with co-operatives; climate change and forest-based communities; peace education in Uganda; United Nations Integrated Missions; and currently, the role of host country offices of volunteer-sending organisations.
In the OU, Hazel Johnson is a member of the Innovation, Knowledge and Development Centre, the OpenSpace Research Centre, and the International Development and Inclusive Innovation Strategic Research Area.
Hazel Johnson has been a leader and member of teams creating undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum in Development Studies and Development Management and also contributes to doctoral training. Her contributions to undergraduate curriculum focus primarily on poverty, inequality and livelihoods, including forms of individual and collective action. Her writing for postgraduate curriculum includes contributions to capacities for managing development, institutional development and education for development. She was one of the first directors of the OU’s MSc in Development Management and established its global programme. She has formerly held a British Council Education Partnerships in Africa grant to support innovation education and training in collaboration with the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS) in Kenya. She maintains her interest in the scholarship of active and professional learning.