Dr Shari Sabeti

Reader in Arts and Humanities Education


After completing my PhD, I worked as a secondary teacher of English in London and Edinburgh. I then moved to the School of Education, University of Stirling to take up a post as a Lecturer in Education. I moved to the University of Edinburgh in 2013 as a Chancellor's Fellow.



  • MA (Hons) First Class, English, University of Cambridge, 1994
  • MA with Distinction, English and American Literature, University College London, 1995
  • PhD English Literature, University of Cambridge, 1999
  • PGCE Secondary English, Institute of Education, University of London, 2002

I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA).

Responsibilities & affiliations

I am Course Organiser for The Anthropology of Education and Learning (MSc Education) and member of the Comparative Education and International Development Research Group.

I am part of the following UoE Centres and Networks:

Postgraduate teaching

  • Course Organiser: The Anthropology of Education and Learning,  MSc Education (Comparative Education and International Development)
  • Research Methods.
  • Teaching Texts Across Borders.

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I am interested in receiving applications from prospective PhD students interested in:

  • Arts and Cultural Heritage Education (museums, literature, community arts, global south contexts).
  • Creative practice of artists, artist-educators and writers; creative writing pedagogies.
  • Arts education for social justice.
  • Anthropological approaches to education.
  • Literacy in social context; reading practices; libraries etc.
  • Education and Teacher Education in global south and refugee contexts.
  • Ethnographic approaches to research, including digital or online ethnography.
  • Arts-based and participatory research methodologies.

Current PhD students supervised


  • Argyris Karapitsanis - Learning through Process Drama in Museums and Galleries (First Supervisor)
  • Sarah Austin - Teacher Education in an Ethiopian Refugee Camp - An Ethnography (First Supervisor)
  • Yang Zhao - An Ethnography of the Royal Scottish Country Dancing Society (First Supervisor)
  • Huaiyuan (Simon) Huang - Identity and Citizenship Education amongst Ethnic Koreans in North East China (First Supervisor)
  • Dandan Chen - The impact of Visual arts based methods in second language acquisition: intertwining illustration in a L2 classroom instructed setting (Co-Supervisor)
  • Barbara Becnel - Culture of the Condemned: A Critique of How Death Row Became a Symbol of Heroism for America's Street-Gang Generation (Assistant Supervisor)
  • Alkisti Kallinikou - Exploration of myth, folklore and childhood in contemporary young adult fiction (Co-Supervisor)
  • Zarina Muminova - Parental Engagement in Children's Early Learning in Rural Tajikistan (First Supervisor)

Past PhD students supervised

Jennifer Roberts  (PhD) An Ethnographic Study of how Gender Inequality is reproduced through Schooling in Scotland.

Xin Luo (PhD) Parenting in Modern China: an ethnographic exploration of Early Years Education through WeChat. 

Patrick Boxall (MSc by Research) Forest Schools and Concepts of Creativity.

Carolyn Cooke (PhD) Troubling Music Initial Teacher Education.

Linsha Zhou - Teachers Identity and Creativity

Research summary

My research focuses on arts, humanities and cultural heritage education and has taken place in a variety of locales including schools, museums, community and commercial contexts. My main focus has been on artistic and creative processes from two perspectives: firstly, artists or artist-educators; secondly, those who you undertake arts education. My research is driven by anthropological perspectives on educational theory and creative practice, as well as ethnographic and arts-based methodologies. 

Current research interests

Museum education, public pedagogy and the ways in which museum and gallery visitors experience art works. Literature, Creative Writing, Performance Poetry and their pedagogies; Relationships between education, heritage and the curriculum, including in displaced and diasporic communities; Education in Global South Contexts, in particular the Pacific Islands - Marshall Islands and Samoa.

Past research interests

New Literacies; reading practices; children's literature and multimodal adaptation.

Knowledge exchange

  •  National Galleries of Scotland Research Conference, Edinburgh, October 2013. Title of paper: ‘Feeling fifty years younger’: creativity, ageing and the arts. 
  • Blog for Scottish Book Trust on my work with adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays.
  • Interviewed for a film commissioned by Creative Scotland, Luminate and the Care Inspectorate about arts engagement and its value to those in later life, March 2016.
  • Presentation to Teachers and Librarians for Royal Society of Edinburgh WorkshopSeries on ‘Neuroscience and Narrative’, Glasgow, June 2016.
  • Anthropology for teachers workshop at MHSE –  with SQA 2017 and anthropology departments throughout Scotland.
  • Presentation to teachers at Central Middle School, Honolulu, HI– Using graphic novels to teach about migration and displacement, April 2017.
  • Workshop with teachers and teacher trainees at University of the South Pacific, Majuro, Marshall Islands – What kinds of resources do teachers in the RMI need and how can we build them? April 2017.
  • Symposium: The Marshallese Arts Project.University of the South Pacific, Majuro, Marshall Islands. Attended by teachers, teacher educators, major stakeholders (Ministry of Education, Alele Museum, International Organisation for Migration etc). Presentation of research findings and their implications. November, 2017.
  • Workshop for Teachers and Teacher Educators. University of the South Pacific, Majuro, Marshall Islands. Progress of resources made by Marshallese Arts Research Project so far. How might they be used and what kinds of pedagogic training/further resources would be useful? November 2017.
  • Presentation at University of Hawai’i, Hilo for academics and Marshallese community members. The Marshallese Arts Project, with Dr. Polly Atatoa Carr, University of Waikato, November 2017.
  • Led a three week Professional Development Programme for 4 teachers, and one government official from the Marshall Islands, at Moray House School of Education. March 2019.
  • Animation and Film Making workshopsfor students in Ebaye, Marshall Islands, Majuro Middle School and Laura High School in Majuro, Marshall Islands. Working with artists: Munro Te Whata and Jack Niedenthal. April – May, 2019.
  • Meetings and presentations at Ministry of Education, Majuro, Marshall Islands, and with Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (both partners on an AHRC Follow on Funding application) – building resources for teachers. May, 2019.
  • Workshops in Graphic Storytelling and Creative Writing, school children and university students, National University of Samoa, Apia, May 2019.


Affiliated research centres

Project activity

My research interests have arisen from a broad concern with cultural heritage, visual cultures, practices of reading and writing, and both formal and informal learning. In particular, my work explores the boundaries between the arts and humanities and educational processes, as well as how these intersect with anthropological ways of understanding culture and practice. I have worked on musuem education, the teaching of literature, and the potentials of arts education programmes to build community, identity and resilience. This has included work in schools with young people, as well as with older adult learners. I have a strong interest in educational research that is inter-generational and in participatory research processes. My work is largley qualitative with a focus on ethnographic and visual methodologies.

Current Projects:

I completed (2017) a project and monograph on museum education, creative writing workshops and older adult learning. I am interested in the public pedagogy of museums and the role that art objects play in educational processes. In particular, I have been exploring the notion of 'creativity' and 'inspiration'. I am currently working on an ethnographic project with an adult creative writing class and exploring arts-based educational practice, creativity and their relationship to concepts of 'self' and 'temporality'. 



Most recently I have been working on an ESRC/AHRC Global Challenges project based in the Marshall Islands to explore the potentials of arts education and community-led arts production in building resilience. The project involves a series of participatory arts workshops to generate new understandings of the unique historical trajectories and community development needs of Marshall Islanders who have been forcibly displaced from their ancestral homelands from the Second World War to the present day. By involving Marshallese children, their extended families, and trainee schoolteachers, the project will investigate a range of experiences and perspectives, from survivors of the Cold-War nuclear testing era to young people whose families have migrated to urban centres in search of a better standard of living.



Current project grants

* AHRC Follow on Funding (with Michelle Keown) - Navigating Futures: arts education and pedagogical innovation in the Marshall Islands. Sum Awarded £99997.77. Grant period February 2019-2020.
* ESRC Global Impact Accelerator Account - for Marshallese Teacher Internship at Moray House School of Education/Publication and Translation of Resources for Marshall Islands teachers (with Michelle Keown). Sum Awarded £43,162.00.
*CAHSS KEI Grant. Promoting understandings of Marshallese history, culture and migration in Hawaiian Schools. Sum awarded £5000.
*LMIC Travel and Partnership Fund Award, (with Michelle Keown) 'Remediating Stevenson in Samoa: an arts education project.'

Past project grants

* Carnegie Trust Grant to begin the initial stages of a project on Adaptation and Shakespeare, 2012-13. Sum awarded £1690.
* British Academy Small Research Grant for project entitled ‘Shakespeare, Adaptation and the ‘Educational’ Comic Book. Sum awarded £6610. Grant period 1/6/13 – 31/5/15.
* UKLA Research Grant for project ‘Reading and Writing about Art: Literacy Events in the Context of the Museum’. Sum Awarded £1909. Grant period 15/9/14 – 14/9/15.
* Moray House School of Education Seed Corn Funding for pilot project, ‘Shakespeare and Multimodal Adaptation'. Sum awarded £1396.80. Period 11/14 – 7/15.
* University of Edinburgh, CHSS Challenge Investment Fund, ‘Comic Book Praxis and the Making of Academic Knowledge’ – an inter-disciplinary, methodological project. Sum awarded £13, 859.75. Period September 2015 – July 2016.
*ESRC/AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund (Forced Displacement) with Michelle Keown (LLC).
From Displacement to Development: arts education as a means to build cultural resilience and community-led arts production in the Marshall Islands.

View all 17 publications on Research Explorer

More video

In the press

  • 'Feeling Fifty Years Younger': Creativty, Arts-based Education and Ageing. National Galleries of Scotland Research Conference. 2013



  • Presentation to Teachers and Librarians for Royal Society of Edinburgh Workshop Series on 'The Science of Stories’, Glasgow, June 2016.



  • Scottish Book Trust Blog on Shakespeare and Comic Books.