Jennifer M Gidley PhD

Author, Futurist, Researcher, Postformal Psychologist

"Gidley is one of the very rare scholars who can write intelligently and accessibly about the past, present and future in education."

- Brian J. Caldwell, Educational Transformations, former Dean of Education, University of Melbourne & Deputy Chair, Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA)


In my forty years as a Professional (Psychologist & Educator) and then Academic Researcher, I have always been more of a scholar-activist than theoretician. Currently, I am an Adjunct Professor, Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS, Sydney; an Adjunct Professor, Southern Cross University, NSW; a Fellow of the Botin Centre, Santander, Spain; a former Visiting Fellow at SciencesPo, Paris, France.

As former President (2009-2017) of the World Futures Studies Federation (WFSF), a UNESCO and UN-ECOSOC partner founded in Paris in 1973, I led the global peak body representing 300 of the world’s leading futures scholars from over 60 countries. 

Most recently, arising from my concern about growing climate crisis, the plight of the oceans, and awareness of the serious threats to many small island nations from sea level rise, I have co-founded the Oceanic Research Institute (ORI) in Australia.

In my eclectic professional and academic life as author, educator, psychologist, futures researcher, I raise awareness about why we need humans, not robots, to navigate complex, volatile, global futures. The complexity of global-societal challenge is beyond binary machines. We need human-centred, creative, big picture, long-term thinking, and lots of wisdom. I write about how we can educate for wisdom.

My 2008 PhD dissertation on the evolution of consciousness was awarded the Chancellor's Gold Medal for Academic Excellence. It explored how human thinking has evolved from hunter-gatherer survival, to mythic then formal thinking, and how it is further evolving towards complex, integrative, postformal thinking, today. 

As an international speaker, researcher and consultant in education, innovation and sustainable futures, I have projects in Europe (Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Romania, Spain, Sweden), Middle East (Egypt, Iran and UAE) and Asia (Malaysia, Shanghai, Taiwan), UK and USA. I serve on editorial boards of several academic journals, and have published over 50 academic papers, and several books. See Publications for more details and links to many of my papers.

My new books include "The Future: A Very Short Introduction" (Oxford University Press, 2017) and "Postformal Education: A Philosophy for Complex Futures" (Springer, 2016). My next book is on evolution of human consciousness with SUNY Press. I am underway with a series of books drawing on my experience with Steiner education: Steiner Education for the 21st Century Vol. I, II & III (Bear Books).