Frances Bell awarded Honorary Life Membership of the Association for Learning Technology

Photo of Frances Bell

ALT awards Honorary Life Membership to individuals nominated by Members who have made an outstanding and sustained contribution to the advancement of ALT’s aims for the development of learning technology in a regional, national or international context through research, practice, policy-development, leadership, or a combination of these.

During this year’s Annual General Meeting on 4 September 2019, Frances Bell was recognised for her outstanding contribution by being awarded an Honorary Life Membership of ALT. Frances has been active in promoting research and Open Education in ALT, acting as an Editor of Research in Learning Technology and a tireless peer reviewer for both research publications and conferences. Through these roles Frances contributed strongly to shaping ALT’s values including engagement with community and lifelong learning. 

Supporting the nomination, Dr Catherine Cronin, from Ireland’s National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education reflected: 

What a joy to see Frances Bell – who exemplifies active, engaged and generous scholarship combined with an ethic of care –being recognised with this Honorary Life Membership Award by ALT.

As evidenced in her lifetime of work, Frances has combined her disciplinary expertise in Information Systems with historical and social justice perspectives to unflinchingly consider issues of equity in both higher education and wider society.

Uniquely, Frances sustains connections with people across higher education, local communities and creative networks in ways which help to bridge differences without ignoring them, and thus to enable understanding.

Within and beyond ALT, we all have much to thank her for. 

Professor Martin Weller, President of ALT, was joined by Trustee, Lorna Campbell to present the award. Lorna commented:

It gives me enormous pleasure to see Frances' contribution to the ALT community being recognised with this Honorary Lifetime Membership Award.  Frances has been a continual source of inspiration through her commitment to equality, inclusion and social justice, her broad domain knowledge of learning and technology, and her patience, generosity and kindness. Qualities that we need now more than ever. Frances really embodies ALT’s core values of participation, openness, collaboration and independence so it is fitting that she is being honoured by the award.

Reflecting on the important contribution Frances Bell has made to the wider community, Dr Maren Deepwell, chief executive of ALT, added, 

Frances has been actively engaged with the Association ever since I joined ALT and in recent years Frances has helped found the #femedtech network, promoting equality in Learning Technology. It is through this work that I have learnt much from Frances about how much individual actions and taking responsibility for fighting inequality really matters. Frances has inspired me through her example to put care and community at the heart of leadership.

Speaking about the award, Frances Bell said, 

It is a great honour to receive this award from ALT, an organisation I greatly respect, and whose work makes such a difference to Learning Technology, in the UK and around the world. Working with the #FemEdTech network is a genuine pleasure, and I see this award as being also for all our FemEdTech curators and participants who do the hard work of addressing inequalities in Learning Technology. The process of nomination is generative for all concerned, and indicative of ALT’s values and aims that are clearly articulated in their strategy. 


Notes for Editors

  1. ALT (the Association for Learning Technology) is a professional and scholarly association which brings together those with an interest in the use of learning technology. As the UK’s leading membership organisation in the Learning Technology field, we work to improve practice, promote research, and influence policy.

  2. You can explore what we do via our strategy slides, download the full text in PDF or Google docs. Visual content is available on Flickr.

  3. We have over 3,500 Members across education sectors in the UK and internationally.

  4. If you are writing about, blogging or sharing images and videos about the Annual Conference using tools that support tagging, please use the tag #altc.

  5. Association for Learning Technology, Tel:  +44 (0)1865 819 009 URL:

  6. ALT is a Registered Charity in the UK, number: 1160039