Staff profile

Staff image

Dr Jo Raphael

Position: Lecturer
Faculty or Division: Faculty of Arts and Education
Department: SoE Arts & Ed
Campus: Melbourne Burwood Campus
Phone: +61 3 92446829 +61 3 92446829


Biography summary

‘Drama is both art and pedagogy. It is also a fundamental and highly accessible way in which human beings make meaning and as such, has much to contribute to arts-based inquiry. I am driven by a desire to enable others to understand the transformative possibilities of drama and theatre, and the potential all the arts offer, to explore and explain the world we live in.’

Dr Jo Raphael is a lecturer in drama education who teaches drama education in Deakin’s graduate and undergraduate education courses. She remains active as a teacher in school and community settings. She has wide experience in applied drama and theatre with a commitment to working in communities of disadvantage and disability. Jo is Artistic Director of an inclusive community-based theatre company. She has won multiple awards for her teaching and has been awarded for her extensive contributions to her professional community. Her publications span the areas of arts curriculum and pedagogy, drama and digital technologies, teacher education, inclusive education and teaching for diversity.


  • Bachelor of Education, Victoria College, 1984
  • Master of Education, University of Melbourne, 2004
  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Melbourne, 2013


Drama Victoria
Drama Australia
Arts Access

National Drama (UK)


Professional activities

Drama Australia (Director of Projects 2007-2013, Director of International Liaison 2013-)

Drama Victoria (Conference Director/DALO/Vice President/President 2000-2011)

Artistic Director, Fusion Theatre

Community Engagement
Jo Raphael is Artistic Director of Fusion Theatre, an inclusive community-based theatre company that welcomes people of all abilities. Fusion’s history is linked to Deakin University and began with a phone call to the university from a man with an intellectual disability who was seeking assistance to set up a drama group for people with disabilities in the Dandenong area. Jo responded to the call and the group was established in 1997. Since then students of Drama Education at Deakin have gained experience working with the company as assistants, performers, theatre technicians and directors. Some have continued their involvement with the company over many years and currently two members of the Fusion Board are Deakin alumni. Several Deakin drama education graduates have moved into areas of applied drama and theatre and special education following experience with Fusion. The partnership has mutual benefit for both university students and members of the company through the energy, challenges and ideas they offer each other.

Jo has been instrumental in setting up Drama Victoria’s Footprints project that brings together drama teachers and their students to visit and take inspiration from cultural institutions including museums and galleries and develop drama and theatre. She has written about this and has developed curriculum materials and projects with the Immigration Museum and the Old Melbourne Gaol Crime and Justice Experience. In conjunction with these institutions she has developed and written drama-based programs including the Settlers Under Sail Regional Arts Victoria tour and peer-mentoring program for at risk youth with Whitelion.

Jo has been a long term member of the Drama Victoria committee of management. In over 10 years of serving on the committee she has held positions of Conference Director, Drama Australia Liaison Officer, Vice President and President. In 2013 she was awarded The CPTAV Outstanding Professional Service Award for her service to Drama Victoria.

Jo has been on the Board of Drama Australia in the position of Director of Projects for over seven years and is currently holding the portfolio of Director of International Liaison. She has been a key contributor and writer of many of Drama Australia’s guidelines documents including Equity and Diversity and Acting Green.

Arts Practice
Jo Raphael’s performing arts background began in dance and soon became more focused on drama and theatre. In her undergraduate degree she was a student in the double drama strand at Rusden. She continued training in voice production and theatre design especially puppetry. She lived in Japan for two years in the 1990s where she studied Noh Theatre (Kanze style), Butoh (with Kazuo Ohno) and puppetry with the contemporary puppet company Puk Pupa Teatro. Her work with Fusion Theatre has mainly involved her in theatre direction and production. Recently she has returned to stage acting.


Teaching Interests

Teaching Motivation

It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge. –Albert Einstein

Dr Jo Raphael’s teaching is student-centred and energised by a passion for arts education and drama as pedagogy. She designs practical and relevant learning experiences that take place within schools, community settings, cultural institutions and virtual communities. In her classes education theory is integrated with practice as students work alongside her to complete rich and authentic tasks and collectively reflect on their practice. Her students frequently comment on the way her inclusive approach motivates and inspires them to learn.
Jo teaches in the area of Arts Education with a particular focus on Drama, which she considers to be an aesthetic, embodied and social art form as well as a method of teaching and learning. Her teaching at Deakin encompasses undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the School of Education and providing flexible delivery modes through the Institute of Koorie Education. Outside of these University programs her teaching also occurs in schools with classes of primary and secondary students and practising teachers, through professional development sessions and conferences, and in broader community settings. Jo believes her ongoing participation in these spheres keeps her practice relevant, contemporary and informed, and enhances her teaching at the university level.
A student-centred approach allow Jo to focus on the diverse needs of students, inspiring her to initiate a range of authentic learning experiences that provide access opportunities, bridging the world of the university and some of the professional communities the students will work within in their future careers.
Jo’s teaching is energised through creating the conditions where she and her students are required to work together on authentic tasks. She believes that her students are motivated to learn when they are working with teachers who demonstrate a desire to learn. The following are examples from Jo’s teaching practice:

• The ‘Drama Lab’ and 'Drama for Learning' school-based teaching projects in which pre-service teachers work as a team alongside Jo and teachers in a primary school to design workshops for primary students’ learning both in and through drama.
• ‘Drama beyond the classroom’ projects in which Drama education students develop ideas for arts-based teaching and learning in collaboration with Melbourne cultural institutions such as museums and galleries.
• The ‘Teaching for Diversity’ project, in which Jo co-ordinates six members of a theatre group who have mild intellectual disabilities in coming to Deakin to present drama-based workshops on inclusive education for all final-year students in the Bachelor of Teaching (secondary) course. This project, involving arts-based inquiry, participatory action research and reflection on her teaching practice in higher education was at the centre of Jo’s PhD research.

Subjects and units currently teaching

Drama Module chair and lecturer in:
ECA431/5 Drama Education A
ECA432/6 Drama Education B
ECA731/5 Drama Education A
ECA732/6 Drama Education B
ECA433/733 Drama for Learning Across the Curriculum
ECA434/734 Research in Drama Education

Lecturer in:
ECA209 Teaching the Arts in Primary School
EEA410 Primary Arts Education - Focused Study (Drama)
ECP711 Creativity and The Arts in Childhood


Awards and prizes

  • The Council of Professional Teaching Associations of Victoria Outstanding Professional Service Award for service to Drama Victoria, 2013.
  • Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning, 2010

    Citation: For creative approaches in providing relevant, authentic and student-centred learning experiences to inspire education students to become effective and reflective future educators.

  • Deakin University Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence, 2008
  • Drama Victoria Award for Best Innovative Curriculum for Drama, 2004.
  • Deakin University Commendations for Excellence in Teaching: 2008,2009, 2010



Research projects

Widening participation through university-school partnerships and arts-based pedagogies in public spaces in Dandenong. Sub-project: Diverse Encounters: Fusion Theatre and Dandenong High School, DUPPP, 2013
Diverse Encounters Film:

The Teaching for Diversity workshop: Drama as pedagogy for challenging pre-service teachers into new ways of thinking about students with disabilities. 2008-14

Arts Education in Second Life: Deakin University Strategic Teaching and Learning Grant Scheme (STALGS) project  2008- Developing a Virtual Arts Education Village Deakin. A Virtual Village: Building an e-Learning community to support collaborative, applied and life-long learning in a multidisciplinary university context.

Research interests

Research Interests:

  • Drama Education
  • Drama/Arts pedagogy and practice
  • Applied drama and applied theatre
  • Drama for leanring across the curriculum
  • Drama, theatre and disability
  • Inclusive education and teaching for diversity
  • Teacher education – pre and in-service

I welcome research interest from prospective research students in the following areas:

  • Arts Education
  • Drama Education
  • Drama/Arts pedagogy and practice
  • Applied drama and applied theatre
  • Drama, theatre and disability
  • Inclusive education and teaching for diversity
  • Teacher education

Research methodologies:

  • Self-study of teaching
  • Reflection on Practice
  • Participatory Research Methodologies
  • Participatory Action Research
  • Arts-based Research (drama, performance, visual, narrative)

Research Motivation
Jo Raphael’s research is strongly influenced by principles of social justice. She believes in the potential of research to be transformative. Not only through the outcomes of research but in the process of doing research. Jo has developed inclusive participatory research approaches including participatory action research. She is committed to reciprocity in the researcher participant relationship with the communities she has worked within. Participants become co-researchers and this has been particularly important in her research with people with disabilities whose voices are seldom heard. Her research has provided access for people with intellectual disabilities to have a say within universities and professional sites to which they do not normally have access.

Jo draws on multiple and mixed methods—whatever is likely to be most effective and appropriate for participants. Amongst these are arts-based methodologies. As a drama educator Jo naturally draws upon the potential of drama as simultaneously pedagogy and a process of inquiry. She has also made systematic use of artistic processes including poetry, story, movement and images as a way of understanding experience both for herself as researcher and for the participants in her studies.

Over arching these methodologies is a commitment to reflective practitioner research. As a drama educator and a teacher educator, Jo is naturally disposed to reflection on practice. Every project is also seen as an opportunity to further reflect on her own practice and share these understandings with the professional communities she works within. In her desire to reflect differently and more deeply on her practice, Jo draws upon post-structuralist conceptual frameworks as tools to help disrupt habits of thinking. In particular she has drawn upon concepts developed by Deleuze and Guattari, in order to shift and promote new understandings of her practice.

Research page



Raphael, J. (2014), Teaching and Learning in the Crucible: Actors with disabilities as experts preparing pre-service teachers to be inclusive educators, Drama Research: International journal of drama research, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 1-19.

Raphael, J., & Allard, A. C. (2012). Positioning people with intellectual disabilities as the experts: enhancing pre-service teachers’ competencies in teaching for diversity. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 1-17.

Raphael, J. & Dalton, S. (2012). Sharpening Awareness: Exploring crime, justice and the consequences of knife carrying through drama, MASK, Drama Victoria, Vol. 35:1

Dezuanni, M., & Raphael, J. (2011). Media Arts and Learning in the Digital World. In C. Sinclair, N. Jeanneret & J. O'Toole (Eds.), Education in the Arts (3rd ed.). Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Raphael, J, (2010) Aesthetic Adventures: Presenting Models of Drama and Theatre Education within Cultural Institutions, MASK, Drama Victoria, Vol. 33:1

Raphael, J. (2010) Earthkeepers and Wild Ones: Learning about the Environment and Sustainable Living in Drama, MASK, Drama Victoria, Vol. 33:2.

Raphael, J. (2010) Introduction to From the Vault: Australian Drama in 2010: Predictions and Preferences by Tony Millett, N.J., Drama Australia, 34:1

Deans, J., O’Toole, J., Raphael, J. & and S. Young, (2009)  Art embodied and disembodied – expression, representation and reflection.  Ch. 11 in Sinclair, C., Jeanneret, N. & O’Toole, J. Eds. (2009) Education in the Arts: teaching and learning in the contemporary curriculum, Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

Raphael, J. (2009) Blogs are Better: Encouraging reflection on performance making and drama practice through blogs. Ch. 13 In Anderson, Carroll & Haseman (2009) Drama and Digital Technologies, Continuum Books, UK

Raphael, J. (2008) Fruits of the VINE: Reflection on Performance Making through Blogs, N.J., Drama Australia, 32:2

Raphael, J (2005) Postcards from Other Worlds, MASK, Drama Victoria, 28:1

Raphael, J (2004) Equal to Life: Empowerment through drama and research in a drama group for people with disabilities, N.J., Drama Australia, 28:1

Raphael, J. (2004) Settlers Under Sail: exploring immigration through drama at the Immigration Museum, Museum Victoria web site:

Raphael, J. (2003). Theatre of Daylight: Drama, Disability and Empowerment, University of Melbourne, Unpublished M.Ed. Thesis.

Raphael, J. (2003) Disability Policy and Guidelines in Drama Australia Equity and Diversity Policies, Drama Australia web site:

Raphael, J (2003), Shadow Play: Exploring Wayang Kulit - the shadow puppet theatre of Indonesia. MASK, 25:2.

Raphael, J. & O'Mara, J. (2002) A challenge, a threat and a promise: Drama as professional development for teacher educators, Melbourne Studies in Education, vol. 43, no. 2, pp. 77-87, Monash University, Melbourne.

Raphael, J. (2001) Zen and the Art of Performance Making, MASK, Drama Victoria, vol. 24, no. 1

Raphael, J. (2001) A voice (in Voices of Australian women working in drama, theatre and education compiled by Penny Bundy and Christine Comans), NJ, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 7-9, National Association for Drama Education, Brisbane.

Raphael, J. (2001) Mind games in the Playground: Natural settings, not equipment, encourage creative play, Education Age, Melbourne. (14th Nov.)

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