People in Arts Education

Academic Staff

Prof. Susan Wright

Professor Susan Wright

8344 8339

Chair of Arts Education

Susan Wright is Chair of Arts Education at the University of Melbourne. Her teaching and research focuses on young children's meaning-making and communication using artistic symbol systems and multi-modal forms of expression (i.e., visual, spatial, musical and bodily-kinaesthetic ways of knowing) and emphasizes the significance of creative and somatic forms of learning and development.

She has been an active researcher, attracting over 30 competitive research grants totalling over $3M. Her most recent books are Understanding Creativity in Early Childhood: Meaning-Making and Children's Drawings (2010, SAGE, UK), Special Education: Perspectives and Practices (2008, Pearson, Singapore), The Arts, Young Children and Learning (2003, Allyn and Bacon, NY) and Children, Meaning-Making and the Arts (1st edition 2003; 2nd edition 2012, Pearson Australia).

Dr Jane Bird

Dr Jane Bird

8344 8799

Lecturer, Drama Education

Jane Bird is currently a lecturer in drama education in Artistic and Creative Education at The University of Melbourne. She lectures in both undergraduate and postgraduate studies of Drama Education. Jane is the co-author of the VCE student textbook series Acting Smart for both Drama and Theatre Studies that are in their fifth edition.

She has had ongoing relationships with the VCAA in various roles, from writer of curriculum documents and exam papers to performance examiner for Drama and Theatre Studies. Jane taught in a range of secondary schools, both government and independent, for over fifteen years. She is currently completing her PhD at the University of Melbourne, focusing on the processes and possible applications of ethnographic performance.

Dr Robert Brown

Dr Robert Brown

03 8344 8781

Lecturer, Visual Arts Education

Robert Brown is an experienced arts and education lecturer in the Melbourne School of Graduate Education, The University of Melbourne. Currently Robert is the Senior Research Associate for an Australian Research Centre funded project investigating the practices of ArtPlay a community arts facility established by The City of Melbourne.

Robert is also currently managing a three-year Australia Council funded Community and Cultural Partnerships Initiative entitled the ACCESS program. Robert's ongoing research interests are interconnected and include; child and youth engagement, artist pedagogies, teacher reflective practice, Indigenous storytelling and artful play.

Ms Gina Grant

Lecturer, Visual Art Education

Gina Grant is a Lecturer in Visual Art Education within the Melbourne Graduate School of Education. She lectures in both primary and early childhood pre-service visual art education as well asin several Breadth subjects focusing on the interrelationships between young people and the Arts. To this end, she has presented workshops at several conferences.

Gina is a past-president of Art Educators of Victoria. She has a BEd (Primary) and is working on her Masters, looking at how children develop visual literacy. She is currently part of a research project looking at how graduate teachers are encouraged to use the arts and literature within their classrooms.

Associate Professor Wesley Imms

Associate Professor Wesley Imms

8344 8783

Senior Lecturer, Curriculum and Pedagogies

Wesley Imms is Senior Lecturer and Head of Visual Art Education, with extensive K-12 and tertiary experience teaching in Australia and Canada. Primarily a curriculum theorist, his multi-disciplinary research conflates issues concerning gender, teacher education, cross-disciplinary pedagogy, architecture, applied design and teacher/artistry. Significant research includes the national Boys Education Lighthouse Schools and The Compendium projects and Arts Victoria's artist-in-schools program evaluation.

Current projects include the impact of classroom design on student outcomes and teacher performance and a longitudinal study of the impact of teachers' artistic practice on performance and retention rates. He provides service to peak state and national art education organizations, is an editorial board member of Australian Art Education and Editor of Journal of Artistic and Creative Education.

Associate Professor Neryl Jeanneret

Associate Professor Neryl Jeanneret

+61 3 8344 8882

Senior Lecturer and Coordinator of Music Education

Neryl Jeanneret is the Head of Music Education and has held leadership positions in professional organisations, including President of the Australian Society for Music Education and Chair of the International Society for Music Education¹s Policy Commission. She has also served as an advisor in and to the New South Wales Department of Education and Board of Studies, NSW.

Her teaching and supervision experience includes music and the arts in preservice early childhood, primary and secondary and general educational areas in undergraduate and postgraduate programs in Australia and abroad. Her publications include national and international books, chapters and journal articles, as well as materials for the Australian Music Centre, Musica Viva, Opera Australia, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Arts Victoria and the curriculum and education authorities in NSW and Victoria.

Dr Richard Sallis

Dr Richard Sallis

+6 13 8344 8799

Lecturer, Drama Education

Richard Sallis is a lecturer in arts education in the Artistic and Creative Education group, a Clinical Specialist in the MGSE and a member of the Theatre Board of the university. He is also a lead researcher on the TheatreSpace ARC project. He is the Director of International Liaison for Drama Australia, the national drama educators' association, a Trustee of the Australian Children's Theatre Foundation and a Board member of the Arena Theatre Company.

He is also a Life Member of Drama Victoria. Richard is a co-author of the Acting Smart textbooks for Year 12 drama studies and has for many years been involved in curriculum writing for drama education in Australia. His research interests include equity and diversity, boys' education and ethnographic performance (ethnodrama).

Dr Christine Sinclair

Dr Christine Sinclair

03 8344 0337

Senior Lecturer and Coordinator of Drama Education

Christine Sinclair is Head of drama education in the MGSE. She teaches and researches across a range of arts education programs, from teacher education to community, youth arts and teaching Shakespeare. She has been a lecturer in drama, arts education at a number of universities and has also co-ordinated postgraduate programs in professional and creative writing.

In addition to pre-service teacher training at primary and secondary school level, Christine has convened courses in acting, directing and theatre in the community. She is also a freelance community artist and is editor of NJ, the journal of Drama Australia. Her PhD research was based at a primary school and centred on the creation of a whole school and community performance festival.

Ms Jennifer Stevens-Ballenger

Ms Jennifer Stevens-Ballenger

9035 3268

Lecturer, Music Education

Jennifer Stevens-Ballenger is a Lecturer in Music Education within the Melbourne Graduate School of Education. She currently lectures in both primary and early childhood preservice music education and has a particular penchant for working musically with generalist teachers, parents and carers.

Jennifer has worked extensively as a specialist music teacher within a variety of early learning environments, including schools, preschools, childcare centres, community centres and parent groups. Her research interests include infant, early childhood and primary music education, musical parenting, child-centred pedagogies, learning in and through the arts and preservice teacher education.

Mr Andrew Swainston

8344 8368

Lecturer, Music Education

Andrew Swainston is a music education lecturer at the University of Melbourne and teacher at Albert Park College. He is currently undertaking a PhD studying the experiences of music teachers in their first two years of teaching. In 2000 he completed a Masters degree (Music Education) at the Institute of Education, University of London.

Andrew worked as a music teacher for twenty years in Australia and the United Kingdom. He was Head of Music for five years at Lilian Baylis School in North Lambeth, London. In recent years Andrew was Music Director and Arts Coordinator at Williamstown High School Middle Years campus. He is a regular columnist for the national music education publication Music in Action.

Dr Marnee Watkins

Dr Marnee Watkins

8344 8386

Lecturer, Visual Arts Education

Marnee Watkins is a lecturer in visual arts education in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne, teaching in undergraduate and postgraduate programs. She recently completed her Doctorate of Education investigating 'art rich' picture books and their affordances for thinking and inquiry in the primary classroom.

Her current research and practice reflects her ongoing professional interest in graduate primary teachers' needs for post-tertiary support, specifically related to implementing the visual arts in their interdisciplinary generalist teaching. Marnee's professional experience extends over thirty years working in Victoria and the Northern Territory as a teacher, lecturer and project officer on curriculum development.

Honorary Staff

Associate Professor Kate Donelan

Principal Fellow, Drama Education

Kate Donelan is one of Australia's leading drama educators. She was the former Head of Drama and is now Principal Fellow in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne. She has played an active role in arts curriculum and policy development in Australia and has held leadership positions in peak drama organisations. She was President of the National Association of Drama in Education and the Vice-President of IDEA (the International Drama/Theatre and Education Association).

She was the recipient of the inaugural Drama Australia President's award for outstanding contribution to Australian drama education. Her research and practice reflect a longstanding commitment to social justice and the development of intercultural understanding in Australian schools and classrooms.

Dr John O'Toole

Dr John O'Toole

Honorary Professorial Fellow, Drama Education

John O'Toole was Foundation Chair of Arts Education from 2005-2010 and earlier, Professor of Drama at Griffith University. He has taught drama and applied theatre to all ages from early childhood to adult seniors and on all continents. He was co-founder of the Queensland, National and International Drama Education Associations.

He has written and co-written numerous books, including research:Theatre in Education – the first book on the subject - (Hodder 1977), The Process of Drama (Routledge 1992), Drama and Curriculum (Springer 2007) and Educational Research (OUP 2010); and standard textbooks like Dramawise (Heinemann 1987) and Pretending to Learn (Pearson 2002). He is currently the Arts Lead Writer in the Australian (National) Curriculum and is a practising playwright and director.

Professional Staff

Andria Karageorgopoulos

Administration Officer, Curriculum and Teaching