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Elsa Lee



Research Associate (Faculty of Education); Bye-Fellow (Homerton College)

E-mail Address


01223 767632


  • PhD (University of Bath)
  • MA Environmental Education (University of Bath)
  • PGCE King’s College (University of London)
  • BSc Hons Plant Science

Membership of Professional Bodies/Associations

  • Environmental and Sustainability Education Research Network at European Educational Research Association
  • British Education Research Association
  • Scientific Board Member: UGhent ITN 'Sustainability Education: Teaching and learning about wicked matters of public concern.'

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Elsa is an educationalist with an interest in environmental and sustainability education, citizenship education and hydro-sociology. She spent ten years teaching science at secondary schools in the UK and Mexico before returning to university for further study. Since completing her doctorate she has worked on a number of projects seeking to understand human relationships with the natural worlds and their behaviour towards the environment and how this intersects with education. This has included working on the interdisciplinary AHRC funded project entitled Pathways to Understanding the Changing Climate: time and place in cultural learning about the environment and its follow-on funded impact project, AHRC Healthy Waterways. Both of these projects involved using ethnographic research techniques, in particular walking as a method for research and public engagement and this innovative approach remains an important part of how Elsa will continue to gather data in the future. In a collaboration with colleagues at Anglia Ruskin University Elsa has worked with Arts-based research methods to explore how artists and children working together in natural outdoor places might influence wellbeing.  

Elsa has recently been awarded an ESRC New Investigator Grant for a project entitled: Connecting Water to Global Citizenship through Education for Sustainable Development or CW2GC'. The aim of the project is to develop knowledge about how engaging with community-based educational environmental initiatives contributes to the development of the global citizen and what the factors are that constrain and enhance this; in particular through comparing across the global North and South. The project will involve developing a number of in-depth case profiles that will be openly accessible for end-user scenario forecasting to support others seeking to do similar work.

Elsa is a reviewer for the journal Environmental Education Research, amongst others, and a reviewer for network Environmental and Sustainability Education Research for the European Conference on Educational Research. . She is a regular presenter at this conference having presented there since 2011.

Before taking up this post Elsa studied for her Masters and Doctorate at the University of Bath. During her time as a doctoral student she completed a number of research projects for CREE (Centre for Research in Education and the Environment) at the University of Bath on environmental education and also worked on a project for the HEA on CATS in the UK.

Academic Area/Links

  • Culture, Politics and Global Justice

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    Research Topics

    • Environmental Education
    • Education for Sustainable Development
    • Place - local and global
    • Citizenship Education
    • Hyro-sociology and hydropolitics

    Current Research Project(s)

    • Connecting Water to Global Citizenship via Education for Sustainable Development (CW2GC)

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    Elsa supervises dissertations on the Education Tripos undergraduate programme and has supervised on the Cambridge Institute for Sustainable Leadership's Masters programme.

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    Principal and Recent Publications


    Lee, E., Blackmore, C. and Seal, E.  (2013) Research Journeys: A Collection of Narratives of the Doctoral Experience. Cambridge Scholars Publishing: Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Reports

    Book chapters

    Lee, E.., N. Walshe, R. Sapsed and J. (2018) Artists as Emplaced Pedagogues: How Does Thinking About Children’s Nature Relations Influence Pedagogy?. In: Cutter-Mackenzie A., Malone K., Barratt Hacking E. (eds) Research Handbook on Childhoodnature. Springer International Handbooks of Education. Springer, Cham

    Articles & Reports

    Irvine, R, E Lee (2018) Over and under: children navigating terrain in the East Anglian fenlands Safe Spaces special issue: Children’s Geographies

    Irvine, R, B Bodenhorn, E Lee, D Amarbayasgalan (forthcoming) Learning to see climate change: children’s perceptions of environmental transformation in Mongolia, Mexico, Arctic Alaska, and the UK; Current Anthropology

    Walshe, N., Lee, E., & Smith, M. (in press). Supporting Children's Wellbeing with Art in Nature: Artist Pedagogue Perceptions. Journal of Education for Sustainable Development, 13(1).

    Lee, E, R Irvine, B Bodenhorn, D Amarbayasgalan (2016) Changing climates, different cultures: school curricula and children’s perceptions, Environmental Education Vol 112 (Summer): pp23-25

    Irvine, R, E Lee, M Strubel, B Bodenhorn (2016) Exclusion and reappropriation: experiences of contemporary enclosure among children in three East Anglian schools, Environment and Planning D Environment and Planning D 34(5):935-954

    Lee, E.U. (in press) The Eco-club: a Place for the Becoming Active Citizen. Environmental Education Research DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1149552

    Barratt Hacking, E., Scott, W. and Lee, E., (2010) Evidence of Impact of Sustainable Schools. Other. Department for Children, Schools and Families  (DCSF).