Dr Maureen Finn

Director of STEP


I studied Art & Design at Glasgow School of Art before training as a primary teacher.  I taught in schools throughout Strathclyde region before joining the Educational Support Service (ESS) based at Glasgow Museums. 

I moved to London in 1995 and took up the position of Head of Education at Camden Arts Centre, where I worked in collaboration with the Institute of Education's Department of Art, Design and Museology on the 3-year funded  research project, ‘The impact of contemporary art on pupil attainment'. 

After returning to Scotland, I took up the post of Head of Education at the National Galleries of Scotland, where I initiated award-winning, inclusive programmes for a diversity of new audiences. 

I have conducted research, undertaken evaluations, managed digital projects and delivered training for education and cultural organisations throughout the UK, including the National Maritime Museum, London, The Arts Council of England, National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA), Scottish Book Trust and Scottish Government. 

From 2009 to 2012 I was Development Officer for Expressive Arts and Creative Learning at Education Scotland. During this time I lead on the Scottish Government's Action Plan for Education, the Arts and Creativity. I also represented Art & Design on the National Exellence Group for the Expressive Arts.  I sat on the SQA planning group for the new National Qualifications  and managed the Art & Design component of the National Assessment Resource (NAR).

In 2012, I took up the position of Research Associate with STEP for the 'E-Lates' e-Learning programme before becoming Director of STEP in 2014.

Responsibilities & affiliations

Additional Support for Learning Implementation Group (ASLIG) Measurement Framework sub-group, Scottish Government (2021-)

Covid Action Group for Gypsy/Traveller community, NHS/COSLA/Police Scotland, Scottish Government (2020-2021)

Race Equality and Anti-Racism in Education Group, Scottish Government (2020-)

Grampian Gypsy/Traveller Education Advisory Group (2018-)

Scottish Government, Ministerial Working Group on Gypsy/Travellers (2018 -)

Scottish Parliament, Cross Party Working Group on Scottish Gypsy/Travellers, (2017-)

Parental engagement steering group, Education Scotland, Scottish Government (2018-19)

Member, National Society for Education in Art and Design, NSEAD, 2016

National Parental Engagement Steering Group, Scottish Government/Education Scotland, from 2015

National Scottish Traveller Education Review Group (STERG), Scottish Government, from 2013

National Advisory Group for Gypsy/Travellers, Scottish Government, 2014-2016

Board Member, Art in Healthcare, 2012-2015

Advisory Group, V&A Dundee, 2012-2013

Member, Expressive Arts Excellence Group, Scottish Government, 2012

Specialist Advisor, Creative Scotland/Scottish Arts Council, 2007-2011

Royal Commission for Ancient and Historical Monuments (RCAHMS) Education Advisory Group, 2004-2005

Board Member, Stills Gallery, 2000-2005

Undergraduate teaching

I have delivered components on a range of courses including relating to: additional support for learning policies, race equality in education, inclusive practice for Gypsy, Roma Traveller education, Art & Design pedagogies and Creative Learning. 

Research summary

Digital, visual pedagogy and learner agency

Postdigital space as a location for children’s meaning-making

Culturally relevant, place-based pedagogy

Supporting families in nomadic children’s learning

Digital, visual research methods

Embedding participative literacies between home and school


Current research interests

Children's agency in postdigital learning environments

Past research interests

Doctoral thesis: A socio-material reading of belonging: mobile children and mobile devices in school spaces

Knowledge exchange

Scottish Government Gypsy/Traveller Cross Party Working Group

Scottish Government Ministerial Working Group

Scottish Government Race equality in education programme - Stakeholder network 

Strategic Programme Learning Conversation (respectme) - Anti-prejudice/ racist based bullying

Scottish Government COVID19 Gypsy/Traveller Impact Group Member

Grampian Regional Gypsy/Traveller Group

Continuing Professional Learning Edinburgh City Council


Project activity

  • Tackling Child Poverty: Home Learning Starter Kits for Gypsy/Traveller families
  • Digital Families: The STEP learning app
  • Digital Families: Shared planning for learning between home and school
  • Barriers to Solutions: Democratic citizenship for Gypsy/Traveller and Roma communities (Scottish Government)
  • RoMAp: The Roma multilingual app to support mobility and social change (ESRC & Scottish Government) 
  • Children and young people's practices around new media, digital technology and learning (Scottish Government)  
  • Sparking Creative Change, interactive seminar for knowledge exchange and collaboration, funded by CHASS Knowledge Exchange and Impact grant (University of Edinburgh) http://www.ed.ac.uk/arts-humanities-soc-sci/research-ke/support-for-staff/knowledge-exchange-resources/ke-projects 
  • Young voices in mobile cultures: an exploration of identity, education and aspirations (Scottish Government)
  • Contextures of Mobilities and Immobilities (Phase 1: Family Literacy Programme) Scottish Government Equality Fund, (STEP, University of Edinburgh)
  • Understanding Transitions, Scottish Government Equality Fund (STEP, University of Edinburgh)