Arts Education Teaching and Research Group

The Arts Education Teaching and Research Group works to engage and educate through arts-led participatory action and research in order to promote arts literacy, aesthetic and creative practice.

This involves engaging with critical scholarship and arts-led research within and across the disciplines of dance, drama, media, music, and visual art.

Our focus

Our group is committed to research-led pedagogy, and research-led curriculum design and implementation in order to provide critically well-informed practices related to discipline-based and interdisciplinary arts education learning.

We're committed to a critically open, democratic, inclusive and socially just global community, and invest our efforts in providing educational experiences that contribute to this vision.

In particular, we believe educators are professionals who should be familiar with the contested natures of both curriculum and pedagogy in order to exercise their professional autonomy through their valuing, judgements and activities.

We consider it is our role to support all educators in their professional learning in order to contribute to the public good.

Study opportunities

We offer core arts education units in both undergraduate and postgraduate courses in early childhood, primary and secondary teacher education.

Specialist methodologies are offered in dance, drama, media, music and visual art in early childhood, in a P–Year 10 context and in the VCE years of learning.

Group members

Our group members have expertise in a variety of research areas.

Please see their individual profiles for research interests and supervision experience.


Higher degree by research (HDR) students work on a range of research projects across arts education research areas.

Student projects

Project titleStudent Supervisory team
A somatic exploration of relational movement in Argentine tango Raffaele Rufo Dr Jo Raphael, Dr Rea Dennis, Dr Sally Gardner
Coming to know the accompanied solo: an inquiry into the use of shared improvised movement for personal and social knowing Susan Mullane Dr Jo Raphael, A/Prof Joanne O’Mara
Drama education in early childhood – an inquiry into how teachers perceive drama education in the EC curriculum Katherine Zachest Dr Jo Raphael
White haze, black gaze: lifting the veil on women’s business Deanne Gilson Dr Shelley Hannigan, Professor Estelle Barrett
Arts-based strategies, teacher aides and inclusive education Jo-Anne Britt Dr Shelley Hannigan, Dr Tim Corcoran
A theoretical and reflective inquiry into creativity and visual art education Min Chen Dr Shelley Hannigan

Dance research projects

Dance education in secondary schools: dance teachers' views and needs

A project to investigate the state of dance in the curriculum and the needs of dance teachers in Victorian schools.

Principal investigators: Dr Sally Gardner, Dr Shaun McLeod, Dr Sheridan Lang and Dr Jo Raphael

Drama research projects

Encountering diversity: preparing inclusive-minded teachers with applied theatre

‘Encountering diversity’ places people with disability at the centre of professional practice knowledge and the teaching and learning process. In this project actors with disability lead interactive applied drama workshops about educational inclusion for pre-service teachers. The project investigates possibilities for extending the applied theatre model in other contexts including health and social work.

Principal investigators: Dr Jo Raphael, Associate Professor Joanne O’Mara, Professor Julianne Moss, Professor Susan Balandin, Dr Ben Whitburn and Dr Kate Anderson

Funding: REDI research development grant $20,000

Luminosity, connecting community through inclusive theatre arts

An investigation of the work of Fusion Theatre, an inclusive community-based theatre company based in Dandenong and the impacts and implications for all participants. In this project Deakin University students of drama and education work alongside actors with disability to devise original works for public performance.

Principal investigator: Dr Jo Raphael

Funding: City of Greater Dandenong Community Support Grant, $10,000

Researching drama’s impact in national curricula

This project is focused on understanding the challenges and opportunities for policy-makers in establishing drama as a 21st century creative change agent and pedagogy. This international project seeks to understand what cultural, social, historical, systemic, organisational, attitudinal, pedagogical, economic and external factors can be identified that assist or inhibit educational policymakers in establishing drama as an effective, productive pedagogy in schools within ratified national and state curricula.

Principal investigators: Professor John O’Toole, Professor Julianne Moss, Associate Professor Joanne O’Mara and Dr Jo Raphael

Funding: REDI

Music research projects

Music in schools – Warrnambool

A three-year project designed to increase the capacity and confidence of generalist and specialist teachers in regional Victoria teach music in their schools, designed to increase participation in and through the music activities in the region and beyond. The project involves developing a community of practice around music education and fostering partnerships with Opera Victoria, The Lighthouse Theatre and other cultural organisations.

Principal investigators: Janette Grenfell and Fiona Phillips

Funding: Warrnambool Charitable Trust, $250,000

Promoting relationships through sound in formal and informal settings


This project investigates the experiences, engagement and connections music makes in both formal and informal learning environments.

Principal investigator: Associate Professor Dawn Joseph

See, listen and share: cultural practices in music teaching and learning


The research project explores the perceptions of multicultural music teaching and learning in different geographical and cultural contexts.

Principal investigators: Associate Professor Dawn Joseph, Professor Alberto Cabedo Mas, Dr Rohan Nethsinge and Professor David Forrest

Music, the arts and positive ageing


The aims of this study are to understand the meaning of music and the arts in the lives of older Australians and to demonstrate the richness and diversity of community and individual engagement with music and the arts by older Australians in a variety of modes.

Principal investigators: Associate Professor Dawn Joseph and Associate Professor Jane Southcott

Spirituality and wellbeing: music in the community


The purpose of the research project is to investigate music, wellbeing and spirituality through community music making in Australia and South Africa.

Principal investigators: Associate Professor Dawn Joseph, Professor C van Niekerk and Roy Page Shipp

Pre-service teacher attitudes and understandings of music education


This project investigates how pre-service teachers construct their teacher identity, investigates music pedagogies in the curriculum, schools, university and in the community, and identifies how engagement with music promotes multicultural understandings.

Principal investigator: Associate Professor Dawn Joseph

Becoming musical

A narrative Inquiry research of regional Victorian generalist teachers’ journeys; to understand how they are becoming more musical and including more music in their classrooms, schools and lives. Implications for professional learning and ongoing mentoring models are possible.

Principal investigators: Fiona Phillips (PhD candidate) , Associate Professor Joanne O’Mara and Professor Julianne Moss

Visual art research projects

Citizen archaeologies: a socially engaged intervention in public space, Lorne Sculpture Biennale 2018

Curated by Australian National Gallery Curator, Lara Nicolls, this ongoing, experimental project aims to provoke unexpected forms of social engagement and conversation around affective histories and material geologies of the earth. Situated on the beach, the work explored opportunities for citizens to gather around issues of consumerism and sustainability.

Principal Investigators: Professor David Cross, Dr Cameron Bishop, Merinda Kelly

Funding: Sidney Myer Foundation $2,500

Iconic industry exhibition #Vacant, National Wool Museum

This creative exploration of Geelong’s industrial identity has a focus on the industrial landscape of vacated sites and facilities. The brick form is explored as an evocative and contingent object in the de-industrialising city. It holds both memory and possibility, as publics reclaim it to reimagine public space in the transitioning urban landscape.

Principal investigators: Associate Professor Mirjana Lozanovosk, Dr David Beynon, Dr Cameron Bishop, Dr Diego Fulluando, Dr Anne Scott Wilson.

Principal investigators: Professor David Cross, Dr Cameron Bishop, Merinda Kelly, James Lynch

Funding: Creative Victoria, $10,000. Grant total $95,000, City of Greater Geelong National Wool Museum.

Art and performance by research, Tread Project, Deakin Gallery

Objects become conduits, eliciting public participation and co-production. Forming archaeologies of the present that are at once full and empty, mobile and sustainable, these works explore intersections between art and life. The works operate as minimalist projections, signposts for a consumerist culture full of objects and the guilt of conspicuous consumption.

Principal investigators: Professor David Cross, Dr Cameron Bishop, Merinda Kelly, James Lynch (Curator).

Funding: Deakin University Gallery

Other research projects

Parrwan youth arts

The development of an arts mentoring and capacity building program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in the Geelong Region. This research builds on the work of Short Black Opera and The Dhungala Choral Connect program.  Those involved in the program work with professional artists to explore traditional and contemporary storytelling using dance, drama, singing and visual arts. Research is focussed on the impact of the program on participants health and wellbeing and the delivery mode.

Principal investigators: Fiona Phillips and Kelly Clifford

Funding: R E Ross Trust and Newsboys Foundation, $50,000

Engaging with the arts for older Australians


This research explores the general contribution of the arts to wellbeing in the lives of older Australians.

Principal investigators: Associate Professor Dawn Joseph and Associate Professor Jane Southcott

Funding: Deakin University Research Capacity Grant, $5000

Improving work placement for international students, their mentors and other stakeholders


This project identified aspects of the work placement that could be improved for international students, including processes associated with the work placement at both the university and workplace level. It also developed a working model of effective practice, including resources and materials.

Principal investigators: Prof Marilyn Campbell, Dr Georgina Barton, Dr Kay Hartwig, Associate Professor Dawn Joseph, Associate Professor Liz Jones, Associate Professor Johns Sands and Dr Susanne Garvis

Funding: OLT Commissioned Projects – Office for Learning and Teaching,  $220,000

The roles of art when teaching and learning science

As an inquiry into science learning in schools, this research project includes gathering artefacts, researching classes in school and in the SLRC classroom space at Melbourne University, and follow up interviews with teachers and students.

Principal investigators: Dr Shelley Hannigan, Professor Russell Tytler, Professor Vaughan Prain, Dr Joseph Ferguson

Funding: SLRC

Arts approaches in inclusive education

Researching the usefulness of art for inclusive education and particular art approaches for students with additional needs- a review of literature.

Principal investigators: Dr Shelley Hannigan, Dr Jo Raphael and Fiona Phillips

Funding: REDI small research development grant, $2900

Drawing out: arts based inquiry into education research and practice

A focus on the processes of developing arts-based inquiry for education research in teaching practices. This project builds on four years of presenting arts-based inquiries for developing a community of practice for pre-service teacher educators in a faculty research group.

Principal investigators: Dr Jo Raphael and Dr Shelley Hannigan

Overwintering project

This is an arts-practice research project into migratory birds.

Principal investigator: Dr Shelley Hannigan

‘Tread’: your city – socially engaged art in the de-industrialising locale, Sally Walker Project Space, Geelong 2018

Tread is a durational practice-led research project situated in Geelong. Unfolding experimental pedagogies and creative interventions catalyse public engagement, social connection and responses to site and circumstance. Over time social relations form providing a platform for the sharing storied experiences around space, time and place in the urban locale.

Principal investigators: Professor David Cross, Dr Cameron Bishop and Merinda Kelly

Funding: City of Greater Geelong Arts and Culture: Funds accepted for NTRO, $5000

Re-thinking inequalities between de-industrialisation, schools and educational research in Geelong

Re-conceptualising educational inequalities beyond human relations within a specific geographical territory, in this project we argue that inequalities between humans, and between humans and the more-than-human, are materially generated and perpetuated. Affective, spatial and material dimensions of inequality are investigated, re-thinking relations between inequality, de-industrialisation and schooling.

Principal researchers: Dr Eve Mayes, Professor Amanda Keddie, Professor Julianne Moss, Dr Shaun Rawolle, Associate Professor Louise Paatsch, Merinda Kelly

Funding: REDI

Contact us

For more information about arts education research, please contact Jo Raphael.

Jo Raphael
Senior Lecturer, Arts Education 
Email Jo Raphael
+61 3 924 46829