Rachel Mason

Rachel Mason



Research activity per year

Personal profile



After, training as a painter, I taught art and craft in inner-city secondary schools in Manchester and Norwich for ten years before taking time-out to gain a teaching qualification. The diploma course I undertook at Liverpool Polytechnic sparked a long-term interest in the theoretical and practical aspects of art education. I went on to complete an M.Ed. in Aesthetic Education at Manchester University and a PhD in Art Education at Pennsylvania State University in the USA. 



My first job in art teacher education was at Kelvin Grove College Brisbane. After two years in Australia, a chance meeting with Brent Wilson at a conference, led to my being offered a teaching assistantship at Penn State to undertake a PhD. My thesis, entitled “Interpretation and Artistic Understanding: The Paintings of Norman Adams,” explored the influence of a studio teacher at art school on my own understanding of education and art. In 1979, I was appointed Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I taught art education methods and supervised student-teachers in schools. 


In 1981 I returned to the UK to a post at Leicester Polytechnic and worked there for 12 years.  At Leicester, I contributed to the PGCE Secondary and MA Art and Design Education courses, supervised student teachers, initiated Saturday morning workshops for children and supervised MA and PhD dissertations. Leicester city is culturally diverse and I developed a successful research profile in multicultural education.   The first edition of my book Art Education and Multiculturalism was published in 1988. At the same time, I fostered my interest in comparative education by participating in international conferences and associations and undertaking short-term lecturer posts overseas. In 1989 I was appointed Head of the Centre for Postgraduate Teacher Education at De Montfort University (formerly Leicester Polytechnic).


In 1994 I accepted the offer of a Readership at Roehampton University in 1994 with a brief to expand provision for my subject within the School of Education. To this end, I instigated PGCE Secondary and MA courses in Art and Design Education and a PhD programme; taught research methods, supervised doctoral students and conducted collaborative research. I founded a Centre for Art Education and International Research and was awarded a Professorship in 2005. All my work at Roehampton, until I retired in 2011, had a strong international focus. The Masters course in Art and Design Education was delivered off-site for ten years, first in Portugal and later, in Cyprus and the Centre attracted doctoral students from Cyprus, Korea, Greece, Portugal, Canada, Japan and Taiwan. 


The first small studies I carried out explored curriculum issues in Leicester schools.  “Growing up in Belgrave”, an animated film depicting the lives of Hindu, Gujarati speaking children, was circulated throughout the LEA.  I collaborated with primary teachers in five primary schools on a project called “Increasing Social Understanding through Art”. Leicester Urban Studies Centre supported my “Investigation into Visual Imagery in Asian Homes:which resulted in a visual educational resource. 


The “Artist-in-Education Training Project, funded by the Arts Council of GB (1990-1993) was my first experience of directing a research team. Between 1990-2000 I co-ordinated four teams of researchers carrying out national and international studies of art/craft education in England, Japan and Brazil.  The “National Survey of Craft Education in Art and Design & Technology Courses and Curricula at Key Stages 3 and 4” (funded by the Crafts Council and HEFCE) I directed from 1994-8 was replicated in Australia and Japan. Two projects I carried out with Japanese researchers, entitled “Teaching Craft Inheritance” and “Artistic Achievement in Junior High Schools in Japan” were made possible by funding from Japanese foundations and the Education Ministry. From 1996-1999, I co-ordinated a higher education link project (funded by the British Council, Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico & Fundação CAPES)in which staff at four universities researched women’s domestic crafts in Brazil, together with strategies for incorporating them into school curricula.  I directed two systematic reviews of art and design education literature for the Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Co-ordinating Centre and a Feasibility Study of Arts Qualifications Coding for the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority between 2004 and 2006.  My most ambitious research venture to date, has been to co-ordinate an interdisciplinary curriculum research and development project funded by the EU from 2008-2010. In Images and Identity teacher-researchers in six member states employed action research methodology to investigate the potential contribution of contemporary fine art to citizenship education in school settings and published the curriculum outcomes online.  

Publications and professional practice 

  • I have published 2 sole-authored books, edited 8 books and contributed chapters to 15.  I have published over 35 articles in refereed journals and 13 research reports. 
  • I have been an active member of professional associations. I served as President of the National Society of Art and Design Education (NSEAD) from 1991-3. I was World Councillor of the |International Society for Education through Art (InSEA) from 1984-91 and Vice-President from 1999-2002. 
  • I was Editorial Board member of the Journal of Art & Design Education from 1991-3. I edited the Newsletter for the International Society for Education through Art from 1982-7 and am founder-editor of The International Journal of Education through Art
  • I am well-known internationally for my work in my specialist field. I have delivered around 20 keynote papers at academic conferences and invited guest lectures at universities in The Netherlands, Belgium, Brazil, Sweden, France, Japan and Taiwan.
  • My professional advice about assessment, curriculum and research in art and design is sought. I was a member of the HK Accreditation Council from 1991-2017 and have acted as consultant for UNESCO and The Getty Foundation.  I was a panel member for the Finnish Academy Research Awards in 2009 and 2010 and International Adviser for the Centre for Asian Art Education, Capital Normal University, Beijing from 2004-2011. From 2011-2014, I was Chief Examiner for the International Baccalaureate Diploma in Visual Arts.   

Recent activities 

I was visiting professor at Northern Illinois University USA in 2010-2011

I examine artwork for the IB Diploma in Visual Arts.  



Publications in 2019: 

  • Creating a space for developing self-identity. In S. Ogier [ed] A Broad and Balanced Curriculum in Primary Schools: Teaching the whole child, London: Routledge.
  • Skilled knowledge pedagogy and craft. In in R Hickman [ed] International Encylopaedia of Art and Design Education, London: John Wiley and Sons Inc. 
  • Skilled knowledge and craft educationIn E. Garber, L. Hochtritt and S. Manisha [eds] Makers, Crafters, Educators: Working for Cultural Change, LondonRoutledge. 



Education/Academic qualification

Art Education, PhD, Interpretation and Artistic Understanding: The Paintings of Noman Adams , The Pennsylvania State University

… → 1981

Aesthetic Education M.Ed, MA, Effect of Fluctuation of Mood on the Creative Process in Art, University of Manchester

… → 1975

Art Education DAE, An investigation into Art Provision for Early School Leavers in Cheshire and Lancashire Schools

… → 1974

External positions

Examiner , International Baccalaureate

2011 → …

Vice president , International Society for Education through art


President , National Society for Education in Art and Design



  • N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
  • Pedagogy
  • cultural diversity
  • craft
  • L Education (General)
  • comparative
  • international
  • multicultural