Professor Robyn Ewing AM

BEd(Hons)(Sydney), PhD(Sydney)

Professor, Teacher Education and the Arts


Phone: +61 2 90366524/9351 3846

Fax: +61 2 9351 2606

Building.Room: A35.335

Research interests

Research on teaching and learning

  • Creative and performing arts
  • English and literacy
  • Teacher education and professional learning


arts-informed inquiry, drama and critical literacy, primary curriculum, the arts and learning, early-career teachers

Professional biography

Robyn is Professor of Teacher Education and the Arts.

She teaches in the areas of curriculum, English and drama, working with both undergraduate and postgraduate students. Robyn is passionate about the Arts and education and the role quality arts experiences and processes can and should play in pedagogy across the curriculum.

In the areas of English, literacy and the arts, Robyn's research has particularly focused on the use of educational or process drama with authentic literary texts to develop students' critical literacies. She has been published widely in this area.

Her current research interests also include teacher education, especially the experiences of early-career teachers and the role of mentoring; sustaining curriculum innovation; and evaluation, inquiry and case-based learning.  She is particularly interested in innovative qualititative research methodologies including the role of the Arts in educational research.

Robyn was president of the Primary English Teachers Association from 2001-2006 and is currently national president of the Australian Literacy Educators Association (ALEA) and vice president of Sydney Story Factory. She has recently joined the Board of the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS).

Within the faculty, Robyn was inaugural co-director of the innovative Master of Teaching degree and has also been Acting Dean; Associate Dean, Academic Programs; Associate Dean, Teaching and Learning; Director, BEd(Primary); and Director, Division of Professional Learning.

An experienced primary teacher and teacher educator, Robyn has a commitment to quality teaching and learning at all levels of education. She enjoys working collaboratively with classroom teachers interested in innovative curriculum practices. She has worked as an academic mentor with teachers at a range of Sydney primary and secondary schools with the major focus on improving literacy outcomes using drama and literature. 


  • Director General's Award for Excellent Service to NSW Public Schools, 1995

  • Vice Chancellor's Excellence in Teaching Award 1999, University of Sydney

  • Quality Teaching Award 2002, NSW Minister of Education and Australian College of Educators

  • Excellence in Teaching Award 2004, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney

  • Vice Chancellor's Excellence in Research Higher Degree Supervision Award 2007, University of Sydney

  • Life membership Primary English Teaching Association, 2006

  • Lady Cutler Award, 2012


  • Fellow of the Australian College of Educators, 2013

Professional and community roles

  • Member New South Wales Institute of Teaching Initial Education Committee

  • Vice President, Sydney Story Factory

  • Member Bell Shakespeare National Education Advisory Board

  • National president, Australian Literacy Educators Association (ALEA)

  • Member of the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS) Board

Current projects

  • Creative teaching and learning: what does it look like?
  • ARC Linkage project, Images, perceptions and resources: enhancing Australia's role in China's English language education, 2011-2013
  • 'School drama' in partnership with Sydney Theatre Company, a professional learning project aimed at developing primary teachers' confidence and expertise to use drama strategies with quality literary texts to enhance students' literacy development
  • ARC longitudinal Linkage project, 'Theatrespace: Accessing the cultural conversation' with Universities of Melbourne and Griffith re young people's accessing theatre, 2008-11
  • Using process drama strategies to develop students' imaginations and critical literacies.

Current research students

Project title Degree Research student
Professional youth work: an investigation of how youth workers learn and develop their practice and the meaning that they make of their professional experiences. EdD Lisa Windon
Creativity and Sydney Story Factory (Supervisor) PhD Amy Mortimer
Understanding leadership complexity in the 21st century - exploring educational leadership in New South Wales public schools. PhD (Ed) Shanti Clements
The influence of tertiary Indigenous Australian Studies on teacher identity formation. PhD Katrina Thorpe
Attrition of beginning teachers: challenges and nature of support available in Catholic, government and independent secondary schools PhD Stephanie French
Potentials and Constraints: Engaging Gifted and Talented Students Creatively and Imaginatively MEd(Res) Katrina Kemp
The Role of the Arts in Preschool Education: Australian vs China PhD Xiangyi Tao
TBC MEd(Res) Carla Spano

Selected publications


  • Ewing, R. (ed). (2013). Creative Arts in the lives of young children: Play, imagination, learning. Melbourne: ACER.
  • Gibson, R. & Ewing, R. (2011). Transforming the Curriculum through the Arts. Melbourne: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Groundwater-Smith, S., Ewing, R. & Le Cornu, R. (2011). Teaching. Challenges and Dilemmas. (4th ed.), Melbourne: Cengage.
  • Ewing, R. (2010). The Arts and Australian Education: Realising Potential. Melbourne: Australian Council of Educational Research.
  • Ewing, R., Lowrie, T. and Higgs, J.(eds). (2010). Teaching and Communicating: Rethinking Professional Experiences. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
  • Ewing, R. (2010). Curriculum and Assessment: A Narrative Approach. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
  • Aubusson, P, Ewing, R. & Hoban, G. (2009). Action Learning in Schools: Reframing teachers' professional learning and development.. London: Routledge.
  • Groundwater-Smith, S, Ewing, R, Le Cornu, R. (2006). Teaching: Challenges and Dilemmas. Melbourne: University Press.
  • Ewing, R. (2006). Beyond the Reading Wars. Towards a balanced approach to helping children learn to read. Sydney: Primary English Teachers Association (PETA).
  • Ewing, R, Simons, J. (2004). Beyond the Script Take 2: Drama in the Classroom. (Vol. 1), Newtown NSW: Primary English Teaching Association.

Book chapters

  • Ewing, R., Blinkhorne, H., Warhurst, J, & Watson, G. (2013). Playing with literature: A place of wonder. In Ewing, R. (Ed.), Creative Arts in the lives of young children: play, imagination and learning (pp. 65–80), Melbourne: ACER.
  • Bundy, P., Ewing, R. & Fleming, J. (2013). Drama and the Audience: Transformative factors in TheatreSpace. In Anderson, M. & Dunn, J. (Ed.), How drama activates learning: Contemporary research and practice New York: Continuum Publishing.
  • Ewing, R. (2013). Investing in quality early childhood education and the Arts. In Robyn Ewing (Ed.), Creative Arts in the Lives of Young Children: Play, imagination and learning (pp. 1–6), Melbounre: ACER.
  • Ewing, R. (2013). Imaginative play in the lives of young children. In Ewing, R (Ed.), Creative Arts in the lives of young children: play imagination and learning (pp. 7–18), Melbourne: ACER.
  • Ewing, R. (2013). The role of dramatic play in developing confident, creative learners. In Ewing, R. (Ed.), Creative Arts in the lives of young children: play, imagination and learning (pp. 19–34), Melbourne: ACER.
  • Ewing, R. (2011). Investigating the Liminal in Professional Education through Arts-Informed Research. . In L. Markauskaite, P. Freebody & J. Irwin (Ed.), Methodological Design. Scholarship, Policy and Practice in Social and Educational Research. London: Springer..
  • Ewing, R. (2011). Action Research and Professional Learning: Some reflections on inquiries that advance professional knowledge and practice. . In n L. Markauskaite, P. Freebody & J. Irwin (eds.). (Ed.), IMethodological Design. Scholarship, Policy and Practice in Social and Educational Research. London: Springer..
  • Ewing, R. (2010). Literacy and the Arts. In Christie, F. & Simpson, A. (Ed.), Literacy and Social Responsibility London: Equinox.
  • Groundwater-Smith, S. & Ewing, R. . (2010). Seeing practice through practice: Learning through action research and action learning.. In R.Ewing, T.Lowrie & J.Higgs (Ed.), Teaching & Communication. Rethinking Professional Experiences (pp. 237–246), Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press.
  • Ewing, R. & Lowrie, T. (2010). The current teacher education context.. In R.Ewing, T.Lowrie & J.Higgs (Ed.), Teaching & Communication. Rethinking Professional Experiences (pp. 3–11), Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press.
  • Ewing, R., & Le Cornu, R. (2010). From practice teaching to practicum to professional experiences.. In R.Ewing, T.Lowrie & J.Higgs (Ed.), Teaching and Communicating: Rethinking Professional Experiences (pp. 31–41), Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
  • Ewing, R. (2009). Creating imaginative, practical possibilities in K-6 English classrooms.. In J.Manuel, P.Brock, D.Carter & W.Sawyer (Ed.), Imagination Innovation Creativity. Re-visioning English in Education (pp. 173–182), Sydney, Australia: Phoenix Publication.
  • Ewing, R, Miller, C, Saxton, J. (2008). Drama and Contemporary Picture Books in the Middle Years. In Anderson M, Hughes J, Manuel J (Ed.), Drama and English teaching: Imagination, action and engagement (pp. 121–135), Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
  • Ewing, R. (2007). Critical factors for conducting and sustaining action learning as a professional learning tool in the school workplace . In P. Ponte, B. Smit & J. Van Swet (Ed.), Postgraduate Programmes as Platform. A Research-led Approach (pp. 189–196), Rotterdam: SensePublishers.
  • Ewing, R. (2006). Reading to allow spaces to play. In R Ewing (Ed.), Beyond the Reading Wars. Towards a balanced approach to helping children learn to read (pp. 141–150), Sydney: Primary English Teachers Association (PETA).

Journal articles

  • Burton, B., Bundy, P. & Ewing, R. . (2012). Investigating literacy in the TheatreSpace: the impact of learning, knowledge and experience of theatre performance on the engagement of young people in theatre. . Asia Pacific Journal of Arts Education. Special Edition, Current issues and practices in theatre education, 11(2), 17–36.
  • Bundy, P., Donelan, K., Ewing, R., Fleming, J., Stinson, M., Upton, M. . (2012). Talking about liveness: responses of young people in the TheatreSpace project. NJ: the journal of Drama Australia., 36, 15–26.
  • Ewing, R. (2012). The Imperative of an Arts-led curriculun: Lessons from Research. NJ: the Journal of Drama Australia, 36, 7–14.
  • Ewing, R. (2012). Competing discourses in primary education: learning lessons from international experiences. . Education 3-13. E International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years , 40(1), 97–111.
  • Ewing, R; Hristofski, H., Gibson, R, Campbell, V. & Robertson, A. (2011). Using Drama to enhance Literacy: The School Drama Initiative. Literacy Learning: the Middle Years, 19(3), 33–39. DOI:October
  • Ewing, R, Freeman, M, Barrie, S, Ahmed nee Bell, A, O'Connor, D, Waugh, F, Sykes, C. (2008). Building community in academic settings: the importance of flexibility in a structured mentoring program . Mentoring and Tutoring: Partnership in Learning , 16(3), 294–310.
  • Ewing, R. & Gibson, R. (2008). Ewing, R. & Gibson, R. (2008). Teaching Creatively or Creative Teaching? . Waikato Journal of Education , 13(7), 159–179.
  • Ewing, R, Hughes, J. (2008). Arts-Informed Inquiry in Teacher Education: contesting the myths. European Education Research Journal, 7(4), 512–522.
  • Le Cornu, R, Ewing, R. (2008). Reconceptualising professional experiences in pre-service teacher education/reconstructing the past to embrace the future. Teaching and Teacher Education, 24, 1799–1812.
  • Ewing, R. (2006). Beyond ‘reading wars’. Australian Author, August, 14–16.
  • Gibson, R, Ewing, R. (2006). Integrating the creative arts (with INTEGRITY). Policy and Practice in Education, 12(1), 29–43.
  • Ewing, R. (2006). Beyond the Reading Wars. Australian Author, 38(2), 14–17.

Conference papers

  • Cutcher, L & Ewing, R. (in press). Of minds, mines and minefields. . In Narrative and Arts Practices And Research Conference
  • Plummer, F, Ewing, R, Smith, D, Hoban, G, Dinham, S, Aubusson, P, Brady, L. (2008). Action learning: potential and pitfalls for innovation and research. In Jeffrey, P. AARE 2007 Focus Conference. Canberra, 2007.
  • Ewing, R, Freeman, M, Ahmed nee Bell, A, Barrie, S, O'Connor, D, Shields, J, Spicer, P, Waugh, F. (2007). The challenge of mentoring in academic settings: A pilot study. In Jeffery, PL AARE Conference - 2006 Papers by Papercode (pp. 1–18). Adelaide Australia, 27-30 Nov 2006.
  • Ewing, R, Gibson, R. (2006). Enhancing ‘storying’ through through drama and literary texts. Using the Creative Arts to improve teaching and learning . In Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on the Arts in Society. Edinburgh, 15/08/06-18/08/06.
  • Ewing, R, Smith, D. (2006). Transforming teacher pedagogical knowledge and practice through action learning . In Proceedings of the European Educational Research Association Conference. Geneva, 13/09/06-16/09/06 .
  • Ewing, R, Lecornu, R. (2006). Transforming Knowledge in Teacher Preservice Education Professional Experiences . In Proceedings of the European Educational Research Association Conference. Geneva, 13/09/06-16/09/06 .
  • Smith King, N, Ewing, R. (2006). Squeeze in or squeeze out? How teachers fit the non-Biblical parable to the NSWDET K-6 English Syllabus (Board of Studies, 1998). In Jeffery, PL AARE Education Research. Creative Dissent: Constructive Solutions. Parramatta, 27Nov-1 Dec 2005.
  • Ewing, R. (2006). Drama as critical, quality pedagogy. In Turning the Tides- Proceedings of the Drama Australia Conference 2006. Sydney, 30/09/06-02/10/06.
  • Ewing, R. (2006). Critical factors in sustaining school-based change. In Proceedings of the Sustainable Leadership in Education Conference. Sydney, 22/09/06.
  • Ewing, R, Hughes, J. (2006). The role and function of drama in arts informed and narrative inquiry. In Turning the Tides- Proceedings of the Drama Australia Conference 2006. Sydney, 30/09/06-02/10/06.
  • Ewing, R. (2006). Reading Beyond the text: Using drama to enhance Children's critical literacy development. In Alyson Simpson Proceedings of the National Conference on Future Directions in Literacy (pp. 58–75). Sydney, 3-4 March 2006.