Dr Samantha McMahon

BTeach(Primary), BEd(Hons)(Primary), PhD
Honorary Principal Research Fellow
+61 2 4422 1118
+61 2 9351 2606
Education Building A35 / 307
The University of Sydney

Samantha McMahon is currently Learning Manager at Bundanon Art Museum (bundanon.com.au). Her role focuses on increasing equity and impact of arts and creativity education. This work is supported by her scholarship in sociology of education and pedagogy and her longstanding collaborations with Aboriginal scholars, Elders and organisations. Sam continues to work collaboratively with The University of Sydney as an associate PhD supervisor, and on key research projects including the ARC-funded Imagination Education project led by Professor Valerie Harwood. 

Excellence in Teaching Award, The University of Sydney, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Beth Southwell Award for Outstanding PhD Thesis, NSW Institute for Educational Research
Examiners' Commendations for outstanding PhD thesis, University of Wollongong 

  • Editorial Board member, British Journal of Sociology of Education
  • Member, Executive Committee, NSW Institute for Educational Research
  • Learning manager, Bundanon Art Museum, Illaroo 

  • Harwood, V., Hickey-Moody, A., McMahon, S., O'Shea, S. (2017). The politics of widening participation and university access for young people: Making educational futures. Abingdon: Routledge. [More Information]

Selected book chapters
  • McMahon, S., McKnight, A. (2021). "It's right, wrong, easy and difficult: Learning how to be thoughtful and inclusive of community in research." In V. Rawlings, J. Flexner & L. Riley (Eds.), Community-Led Research: Walking new pathways together, (pp. 55-71). Sydney: Sydney University Press. [More Information]
  • Murray, N., Johnstone, A., McKnight, A., Daniels-Mayes, S., Harwood, V., McMahon, S. (2020). "The relationships and connections behind three stories: Aboriginal students in higher degree research." In K. Trimmer, D. Hovan and P. Keskitalo (Eds.), Indigenous postgraduate education: Intercultural perspectives, (pp. 201-214). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
  • McKnight, A., Speechley, C., McMahon, S. (2019). "Ways of Knowing Inclusion and Diversity: Jumping Off the One-Way Track to See Indigenous Student Behaviour." In M. J. Schuelka, C. J. Johnstone, G. Thomas, A. J. Artiles (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Inclusion and Diversity in Education, (pp. 419-430). London: Sage. [More Information]

Selected journal articles
  • McMahon, S., Stacey, M., Harwood, V., Labib, N., Wong, A., Daniels-Mayes, S. (2022). "Exploring students' metaphors for learning in Western Sydney schools." Critical Studies in Education, Online first. [More Information]
  • McKnight, A., Harwood, V., McMahon, S., Priestly, A., Trindorfer, J. (2020). "'No shame at AIME': Listening to Aboriginal philosophy and methodologies to theorise shame in educational contexts." The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 49(1), 46-56. [More Information]
  • Harwood, V., McMahon, S. (2018). "Amidst the reign of behaviour and disorder: Recalling schools as problems." Journal of Historical Sociology, 31(2), 182-195. [More Information]

Sparking Imagination Education: Transforming inequality in schools (LP200200755), led by Professor Valerie Harwood, USyd.  Project 2023–2025. 

Evaluations of widening participation programs for students experiencing socioeconomic disadvantage, lead CI. Project complete.

Shifting discourses of gap year and university for regional students in NSW, lead CI, project complete. 

  • Greg BairdThesis title: Raising Career Awareness in Disadvantaged Sydney Schools. Role: Associate supervisor