The Interviews

These interviews were designed to draw out some of the thoughts, beliefs, values and ideas that influence the practice of established arts educators. Each interviewee was asked the same set of questions and they gave consent for the audio recordings to be shared publicly in the hope that they would help other arts educators to develop their practice. If you are an arts educator and are interested in part-time blended learning professional learning opportunities follow this link to our webpages for the MEd in Learning and Teaching in the Arts

Arts Educator Interview #25 – Special Guest, Simon Sharkey

photo: Simon Murphy

SIMON SHARKEY is currently the director and CEO of The Necessary Space a company that works internationally and across the traditional boundaries and definitions of art forms, digital and physical technologies, film and media to create what we call “Acts of Wanton Wonder”and “Creative Immersive Adventures.”

He was one of the founding directors of The National Theatre of Scotland, where he pioneered the “Theatre Without Walls” approach across Scotland and the rest of the world. Over 15 years with NTS he created a programme of genre defying participatory and professional arts projects as well as 3 international festivals.  Since leaving NTS in 2018, and forming “The Necessary Space” which he calls a “Theatre of Opportunity” his work has expanded globally and across different sectors.
He is currently engaged in projects in Brazil, India, Jamaica, Trinidad, Canada and of course Scotland. He was one of the first people in the UK to receive a National Endowment of Science, Technology and Arts (NESTA) “international cultural leadership award.” He is a director, writer, coach, mentor, keynote speaker and most recently, a documentary film maker. He works on epic and intimate scales creating projects for social change and has mentored and supported executives, boards and global networks in re-visioning and repurposing their brands and operations. He co designed the Culture Collective for Creative Scotland and the Scottish Government, he designed a global network of hubs for the International Teaching Artists Collaborative, he co founded Artsi-(Art for social innovation) and has worked extensively with British Council in setting up projects and strategies across many regions. His “Necessary Space” is in a workshop or a theatre or a classroom or a site that reveals a communities story.


Arts Educator Interview #24 – Special Guest, Tawona Sitholé

Better known as Ganyamatope Dzapasi, TAWONA SITHOLE’s ancestral family name inspires him to connect with other people through creativity and the anticipation to learn. A poet, mbira player, storyteller and playwright, Tawona is a co-founder of non-profit arts group Seeds of Thought, a Research Associate for MIDEQ Global Migration Hub and UNESCO-RILA artist-in-residence at the University of Glasgow.

As he continues to write, teach and perform, mostly he appreciates his work for the many inspiring people it allows him to meet.

In this podcast Tawona discusses the following values:

  • Kuwanda huuya – the more we are the more we have
  • Kudzidza hakuperi – learning is never exhausted
  • Dzinonzwa hadzirimi – ears don’t farm the field but they are working

Arts Educator Interview #23 – Clara Bloomfield (MEd  graduate)

CLARA BLOOMFIELD is an award winning neurodivergent international Theatre Maker, Lecturer, and Creative Therapist, renowned for her diverse approach to Theatre-Making. With a distinctive focus on theatre of the lived experience and theatre for health, Clara is dedicated to creating impactful performance and theatrical experiences ‘for’, ‘with’, and ‘by’ young people. Her work revolves around amplifying the voices of youth while promoting their mental and emotional well-being.

With two decades of experience as a versatile director and theatre maker for young audiences, Clara has produced compelling performances both in Scotland and on the international stage, authentically resonating with the lived experiences of the youth and addressing relevant social-political issues. Clara holds the distinction of being a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts and the Higher Educational Academy, as well as an Arts for Good Fellow for the Singapore International Foundation as well as being Associate for the Royal Society for Public Health. 

For further information see or alternatively you can contact me on

Arts Educator Interview #22 – Special Guest, Raz Salvarita

RAZ SALVARITA is the founder and chief-errand-officer of Baryo Balangaw Creative Initiatives in the Philippines. He is a transdisciplinary creative activist who aligns his community-based arts endeavours in the scope of activation, facilitation, and education. He is a recipient of numerous fellowships in arts leadership including the Mentorship Award for “Cultural & Artistic Responses to Environmental Change” given by the Prince Claus Fund and Goethe-Institut; Future Arts Leader by Creative Australia; ITAC Impact: Climate grant of the International Teaching Artist Collaborative; and the Arts for Good of the Singapore International Foundation.

In 2024, he will join as a fellow with The After School program of the Center for Arts, Design, and Social Research. He believes in the transformative power of the arts as a centering place for healing, recovery, and renewal of courage.

Arts Educator Interview #21 – Lesley Eadie (MEd  graduate)

LESLEY EADIE is a programmes and delivery officer with Time for Inclusive Education. She also works part-time as a Drama Teacher and coach, currently part of the team at Glasgow Academy, a visiting assessor for Advanced Higher Drama at SQA, and a transitions coach at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.


She completed an MEd in Learning and Teaching in the Performing Arts at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2022. Her final project centred on LGBT Inclusive Education: how pupil voice can impact teachers’ understanding of the need for inclusive practice in schools. Her research interests lie in learner autonomy, diversity, equality, and inclusion.

Arts Educator Interview #20 – Ray Tallan (MEd  graduate)

RAY TALLAN is the Head of Film at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Ray previously lectured in Cinematography at the RCS as well as lecturing roles at various FE institutions in Scotland. Before entering the world of education, Ray has worked within the camera/lighting department across a broad spectrum of work. Ray is currently redesigning the BA programme at the RCS as well as developing a new MA programme.

Arts Educator Interview #19 – Finlay Hetherington (MEd  graduate)

FINLAY HETHERINGTON is a musician and trumpet player who has performed music for Bollywood to the BBC.  He is co-founder and director of the quintet, Brass Tracks ( of which this year marks their 10th anniversary.  However, for almost 20 years music education has been at the forefront of his day-to-day arts practice.  Finlay currently balances delivering brass lessons to 3 secondary schools across Edinburgh in addition to lecturing in music at Edinburgh College where he is one of the module leaders on the BA (Hons) course in partnership with Kingston University, London. In 2022 Finlay completed a 3 year MEd in Learning and Teaching at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. 

Arts Educator Interview #18 – Nikki Doig (MEd  graduate)

NIKKI DOIG is a Lecturer in Education at the University of Dundee. She joined the University in 2015 after ten years working in a variety of teaching and leadership roles in the primary sector. Nikki’s own drama education started long before her teaching career, with a BA in Dramatic Studies (RSAMD). In 2022 she completed an MEd in Learning and Teaching in the Performing Arts (RCS). Her scholarship centres on teacher confidence, drama in education and learning beyond subject boundaries.


Arts Educator Interview #17 – Mairi Gillies (MA LT (Gaelic Arts) graduate)

Is mise Màiri NicGillÌosa. Tha mi nam neach-ealain agus ‘s e bana-Ghàidheal na Galltachd a th’ annam. Tha dàimh làidir agam ris a’ Ghàidhealtachd agus tha mi a’ fuireachd ann an Leòdhas.

I am MAIRI GILLIES. I am a visual artist, educator and a Gaelic woman from the Lowlands of Scotland. I have strong sense of home in the Gaeltachd and I currently live on the Isle of Lewis. 

Arts Educator Interview #16 – Ros Maddison (MEd  graduate)

ROS MADDISON is Head of Production at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS). She has been leading the production department since 2002. Having graduated from RSAMD and Glasgow University in the 1980s, Ros’ professional theatre career began in stage management, working and touring extensively throughout Scotland and beyond as a freelance Stage and Production Manager including projects with Dundee Rep Theatre, TAG Theatre Company, Tron Theatre, boilerhouse, NVA, PACE Theatre Company, Scottish Youth theatre and many others.

As well as being Head of Production for RCS, Ros has undertaken external academic advisory roles in London, Cardiff, Liverpool, Hong Kong, Dublin and Perth, Australia.  She is currently the External Examiner for the Theatre Production and Technology Diploma at LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore.

Having never quite found the time before, Ros finally completed her MEd Learning and Teaching in Performing Arts in 2022.   


Arts Educator Interview #15 – Gavin Crichton (MEd  graduate)

Gavin is the founder and current Artistic Director of Active Inquiry in Edinburgh. Before setting up Active Inquiry, Gavin worked as a freelance drama worker and as Research Assistant at the Centre for Community Arts Research and Practice at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh. Gavin has over 20 years’ experience of running both small and large-scale community arts projects. As well as a project manager he is also an established workshop leader and theatre director. He has trained with Augusto Boal, Julian Boal and Barbara Santos and is the leading expert in the Theatre of the Oppressed in Scotland. He is currently working on a long term project, called Drama for Democracy, which is exploring how theatre spaces can be used as sites for participatory democracy in Scotland.

For more information visit

Twitter @activeinquiry

Arts Educator Interview #14 – Bethany Macleod (MA LT (Gaelic Arts) graduate)

BETHANY MACLEOD is a high school teacher and a fluent Gaelic speaker. She is passionate about arts education and pupil experience. 

Arts Educator Interview #13 – Special Guest, Sudebi Thakurata

SUDEBI THAKURATA is a creative facilitator, trans-disciplinary narrative designer, educator, writer, researcher, futurist, thinker, and conversationalist with more than 17 years of experience across India, South and Southeast Asia, UK, Europe and USA. The co-founder of trans-disciplinary design collective, D.epicentre, Sudebi is an Associate Dean at Srishti Manipal Institute of Art, Design and Technology, one of India’s premiere pedagogy-led Design Institutes.

She works across multiple disciplines, sectors and contexts with a keen interest in using creative approaches to design learning, facilitation and evaluation frameworks and approaches which are inclusive, fair, participative and contextual. She designs experiences, engagement and environment using multiple modalities  and media that allow people to think and have dialogue, make their thinking and interaction visible and thus  enable them to co-design their own solutions and narratives using different modes and forms

As a pedagogue and learning designer at Srishti since 2010, she has been instrumental in designing learning , facilitation and evaluations at various levels, in community based and led initiatives, in training programmes for educators, cultural and creative practitioners and also assessment systems, frameworks and technology-enabled systems, especially to design, facilitate and measure intangible and invisible areas of impact.

Sudebi emphasises on socially,  environmentally and culturally relevant issues while inter-weaving design thinking, imagination, complex  systems thinking, pedagogy, crafts, entrepreneurialism, visual and performing arts, oral history, ethnography,  and research to co-create inclusive and regenerative possibilities.  

At D.epicentre, she has led more than 55 projects, locally, regionally and globally.  

Her Masters in Inclusion and Special Needs in Education, her work in design, systems, regeneration, futures, arts and culture and her interest in pedagogy and impact shape her unique, inquiry-driven, narrative based, user-driven approach towards designing processes of various scales and forms.  

She was a mentor and evaluator for the Global Cultural Relations Platform Fellowship Program. She was the Creative Facilitator of SEAΔ, a trans-national cross-cultural leadership programme on art and sustainability, across S-E Asia and the UK, funded by the British Council. She was the lead designer/co-author of EUNIC’s ‘Fair Collaborations Toolkit in Cultural Relations’, an UNLEASH talent, the Innovator for ITAC 2021, receiver of ITAC7 funds, a Salzburg Global Fellow for Japan India Transformative Technology Network 2023, Ambassador for Bali Fab Fest 2022, jury member at the NGFP Awards, mentor at School of International Futures, collaborator in many global institutions and a mentor of many global innovation-led impact programmes.  

She has presented and facilitated in more than 20 international conferences, has more than 10 international paper publications on art, design, education, research, culture, innovation and many more publications of other sorts.  

She has been invited as guest faculty/curator/collaborator/designer at University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Thomas More University, Virginia Commonwealth University at Doha, IAAC Barcelone, Ahmedabad University, IIT Bombay, Nirma University, Emily Carr University, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Luca School of Arts, KU Leuven, National Centre for Biological Sciences and many other global universities and institutions. She has been invited as a speaker in many global events, festivals, organisations and podcasts such as Fab Lab International Conference, WOW Festival Pakistan, ITAC-Lincoln Centre, Making Futures, Association of Designers of India, AIGA Design Educators’ Community, Change Makers’ podcast, Why Change, Dear Workplace, Design Education podcast and the like. She also has many international publications around various topics on design, art, innovation, leadership, learning, pedagogy and culture.


Arts Educator Interview #12 – Tracy Hawkes (MEd graduate)

TRACY HAWKES’ dance education was at Elmhurst Ballet School and the Theatre School, Edinburgh. After an early career as a professional contemporary and ballet dancer in Basic Space Dance Theatre and NAPAC Ballet, Tracy became the artistic director of Dance For All, Edinburgh, one of Scotland’s foremost performance dance and dance teacher education colleges since 2000. Alongside being a Life registered teacher member of the Royal Academy of Dance, she is the only Spanish Dance Society qualified tutor in Scotland and after 4 decades of educating young dancers in ballet, classical Spanish and flamenco dance, Tracy has recently successfully completed a Masters in Education at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Arts Educator Interview #11 – Christopher Pendergast (MA LT (Gaelic Arts) graduate)

Latha math dhuibh! I’m CHRIS PENDERGAST. I’m a Gaelic-medium Art & Design & Gaelic teacher from Glasgow. I have worked in the Gaelic-medium sector for over 10 years and am currently working between Greenfaulds High School, Cumbernauld and Àrd-Sgoil Ghàidhlig Ghlaschu in Glasgow. 

In addition to teaching I also try to maintain my own Arts practice. My background is in product design, graphic design and illustration. I am currently working on a Gaelic children’s picture book. My work focuses on themes of identity, sense of place, folklore and oral history. 


Arts Educator Interview #10 – Special Guest, Eric Booth

In 2015 ERIC BOOTH was given his nation’s highest award in arts education, and was named one of the 25 most influential people in the arts in the U.S.  He began as a Broadway actor, and became a businessman (his company became the largest of its kind in the U.S. in 7 years), and author of seven books, the most recent are Playing for Their Lives and Tending the Perennials.  He has been on the faculty of Juilliard (12 years), Tanglewood (5 years), The Kennedy Center (20 years), and Lincoln Center Education (for 41 years). He serves as a consultant for many arts organizations (including seven of the ten largest U.S. orchestras), cities, states and businesses around the U.S., and in 11 other countries. A frequent keynote speaker, he gave the closing keynote to UNESCO’s first world arts education conference, and he founded the International Teaching Artist Collaborative. Website :

Arts Educator Interview #9 – Special Guest, Tan Cheng Hung

TAN CHENG HUNG is a teaching artist who has worked extensively in arts education and theatre. She has collaborated with students from kindergarten to university and enjoys mentoring them in the process of artistic creation. Cheng has worked onstage and backstage in professional and youth theatre as director, playwright, actor, trainer, producer and designer. She brings the same collaborative nature of theatre making to her classroom, where she co-creates learning experiences with her students. Cheng loves stories in all shapes and forms, especially the ones who live in the intersections of different mediums and genres. Always curious, she continues to explore the craft of writing and the search for more stories to read and tell. She currently teaches Literary Arts in School of the Arts Singapore.

Arts Educator Interview #8 – Penny Chivas (MEd graduate)

PENNY CHIVAS (she/her) Dance Artist based in Glasgow, Scotland. Originally from Ngunnawal Country, Australia, Penny moved to Glasgow in 2010. As a freelance performer and has worked on a variety of projects, including work by Ian Spink, Plan B, Scottish Opera, Christine Devaney, Lyra Theatre, Rosina Bonsu, Caroline Bowditch, Vanessa Grasse (Mesh and The Land We Are) and Stillmotion involving both British and international touring.

Her teaching work includes; Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Citymoves, Y Dance, Fusion Youth dance company, alongside international guest teaching in countries such as Iran, China, Mexico, Italy and Australia in both community and professional settings.

An Inaugural member of Quantum Leap (QL2) in 1999, Penny is a graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) BA (Dance), and the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) Honours, and has recently completed the Master of Education and Teaching in the Performing Arts at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Penny was awarded the inaugural Sustainability Award from the RCS for her research into ecopedagogical dance practices, as well as her work ‘Burnt Out’ on the devastating Australian bushfires which has seen several Scottish tours and will premiere in Australia in January 2023.

Instagram: @pennyjchivas


Arts Educator Interview #7 – Special Guest, Johanna Smith

JOHANNA SMITH is a Professor of Puppetry, Theatre Education, and Entrepreneurship at California State University, San Bernardino and the author of Puppetry in Theatre and Arts Education: Head, Hands, and Heart (Methuen Drama). She has directed puppet shows that have taken her and her college students around the world, but she is just as happy and intrigued watching preschoolers use puppets in the classroom.  She believes in the power of laughter and creative re-use to inspire a love of learning. You can see what she’s up to at

Arts Educator Interview #6 – Louise Marshall (MEd graduate)

original photo: Dylan Morrison

LOUISE MARSHALL is the Producer for Dance and Accessible Arts as part of the engagement team at Eden Court in Inverness: Within this role, and a previous freelance career  she has been developing and delivering participatory and community dance classes and projects, for all ages and abilities, for 25 years.

Louise completed an MEd in Learning and Teaching in the Performing Arts at RCS in 2020, focusing on dance, adolescents identifying as female and femininity. Since completion she has presented sessions related to this topic, including at ITAC6:

Louise is a Trustee for People Dancing UK:

Arts Educator Interview #5 – Hazel Grant (MEd graduate)

HAZEL GRANT is the founder and director of Glasgow Dance Academy – a dance school offering young people an outlet to express who they are and build confidence. Hazel has also recently been appointed Dance Lecturer for West of Scotland College.  

After a career as a professional dancer working and performing internationally, Hazel obtained a Masters of Education in Learning and Teaching in the Performing Arts from Royal Conservatoire Scotland, a first class Honours Degree in Dance (Distinction), qualified as a Primary school teacher and Secondary School Dance teacher. 

The combination of a performing arts background paired with an educational context has given Hazel’s practice a strong foundation of how to support students through a creative approach whilst understanding the pedagogy from an educational setting.

Arts Educator Interview #4 – Chris Wardlaw (MEd graduate)

CHRISTOPHER WARDLAW is secondary school music teacher, Principal Teacher of Enrichment, and Visiting Examiner for SQA music courses.  After graduating from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RCS) with a BEd Mus (Hons) degree (2003-2007), Christopher has been working full time in secondary schools across the Lanarkshire area. After many years of teaching, Christopher decided to further enhance his professional practice by returning to the RCS to complete the MEd LTPA degree (2019-2021).

During his time studying on the MEd course, he developed a key interest in enhancing independent learning skills in young people through coaching approaches. Christopher designed and created his own coaching model and digital coaching website as part of his studies and now uses these as part of his daily practice.


Arts Educator Interview #3 – Tania Czajka (MEd graduate)

TANIA CZAJKA is an author, teaching artist and founder of Le Petit Monde theatre. Born in France but resident in Edinburgh since 1991, Tania qualified as an Early Years Practitioner (EYP) in 1999. Keen to share her first language with children, she developed her own English/French bilingual theatre shows and picture books. Through her M.Ed (LTPA) studies, Tania explored how creative puppetry along with bilingual – but accessible to all – stories could support modern language learning and teaching through play.

Currently working full-time in a primary school as an EYP,  she is now in the process of setting up a professional learning programme for early years educators based on the approach she explored and developed. Her aim is to make modern language learning a positive and rich experience for all learners to develop confidence and self-esteem through creativity and play.


Arts Educator Interview #2 – Special Guest, Jeffrey Tan

JEFFREY TAN is an experienced Theatre Director, Drama Educator and Creative Producer who is based in Singapore.  With a MA (Drama and Theatre Education) from the University of Warwick, Jeffrey has taught drama, theatre, playwriting, lesson planning, evaluation, Stage and Arts Management for students in Primary, Secondary, Polytechnics, Universities both in Singapore and overseas.  Jeffrey has also conceptualized Arts Residencies at Senior Activity Centres and presented intergenerational theatre work at various Arts Festivals in Singapore and Australia.  Jeffrey’s SAME-SAME2.0 an online inclusive live Zoom performance also toured to Melbourne Fringe 2021, New Zealand Fringe 2022 and Adelaide Fringe in 2022.


Arts Educator Interview #1 – Jo Turbitt (MEd graduate)

JO TURBITT is currently Lead for Learning and Teaching at College Development Network (CDN). She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, was shortlisted for a Herald Higher Education Award (2019) and is a former recipient of the Sir Paul McCartney Human Spirit Award (2004). Prior to joining CDN, in a career spanning 17 years Jo lectured at Edinburgh College in Performing Arts and latterly joined the QE team as Learning and Teaching advisor. During this time she developed a keen inquisitive interest in developing students confidences through applying their creative practical skills to tasks where they lacked positive self-efficacy. Supported by undertaking the MEd LTA (2016-2019), this led to an adventure in developing her own praxis, including embedding creative and critical pedagogies throughout her facilitation approaches, as well as working with inspirational colleagues and students from a wide range of contexts. Jo’s passion for education lies in supporting the sector to cultivate curiosities in their practice, encouraging dangerous ideas in pursuit of innovation and embracing the joy of not getting things right first time!


5 Responses to The Interviews

  1. Really enjoyed listening to Cheng and all her wisdom and love of teaching as a teaching artist who practices her art and the art of teaching!

  2. Kate Chappell says:

    I listened to the Eric Booth podcast before a day full of teaching and felt completely inspired and reinvigorated in my practise today! It was the fuel I needed and unlocked some fresh thinking. Thank you!

  3. Kate Chappell says:

    I listened to the Eric Booth episode before a full day of teaching, and it was just the fuel I needed! It has inspired fresh, new thinking in my practise, and it was fantastic to hear Eric’s take on unlocking the innate artistry in others. Many notes taken!! Thank you.

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