Robert Watts

Robert Watts

  • 042 Lulham, Froebel


Research activity per year

Personal profile


Having trained, worked and exhibited as a painter, I taught in inner-London schools for ten years before being appointed Senior Lecturer in Art and Design Education at Roehampton University in 2000, where I teach and supervise student teachers on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.  From 2005 to 2015 I was Programme Convener for MA Art, Craft and Design Education. I am currently course leader for the PGCE Secondary Art and Design programme and Module Convener for Understanding Social and Educational Research on the MA Educational Studies programme.

My own research focuses on the use of visual and child-centred methodologies to understand children’s perspectives. In 2016 I completed a PhD entitled Children's Perceptions of Beauty: Exploring aesthetic experience through photography, and in 2019 I was awarded a research grant by the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust that will enable me to develop my study on a national scale. I have co-edited two books on primary art education, written several articles for academic journals and published over 200 creative projects and articles on primary education in various publications. A selection of this work can be found on my website, 


PhD (2016, Roehampton University)

PG Dip Social Research Methods (2010, Roehampton University)

MA Education (2002, Brunel University)

PGCE Primary (1991, St. Mary's College)

BA (hons) Fine Art (1987, Kingston Polytechnic)



I currently teach across four programmes within the School of Education: BA Primary Education, PGCE Primary Education, PGCE Secondary Art and Design and MA Education Studies.  I am fully engaged in teaching both theoretical and practical aspects of art education and I also supervise student teachers on placements in primary, secondary and early years settings. 


Research interests

Children's perceptions of beauty

Primary and secondary art education

Visual and child-centred research methodologies


Professional affiliations

Fellow of Higher Education Academy



Research projects

Conference papers

2019   Children's Perceptions of Beauty: A longitudinal study of aesthetic preferences BERA (British Educational Research Association) Conference, University of Manchester, September 2019

2018   Children's perceptions of beauty: environmental influences on aesthetic preferences. Using Creative and Visual Methods in Comparative ResearchSeminar funded by the International Journal for Social Research Methodology, Department of Sociology, University of Surrey, June 2018

2017   Engaging with images: Philosophy for Children in the art room iJADE (International Journal of Art and Design Education) conference: Art and Design as Agent for Change National College of Art and Design, Dublin, November 2017

2016   Children’s perceptions of beauty: Using digital raise levels of engagement with images InSEA (International Society for Education through Art) Regional Conference: Art and Design Education in Times of Change University of Applied Arts, Vienna, September 2016

2013   Children’s Notions of Beauty Research Student Conference: Making a Difference Froebel College, Roehampton University, April 2013

2010    A Different Beauty: Art Teachers and Aesthetic Preference iJADE (International Journal of Art and Design Education) conference: Art &Design Education and Contemporary Culture, Liverpool John Moores University. October 2010

2009   Children’s Notions of Beauty Beauty: An Interdisciplinary Symposium Whitelands College, Roehampton University, October 2009