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Morag Morrison-Helme


  • Associate Professor, Arts Education, University of Cambridge
  • Fellow and director of Studies for Education, St Johns College, Cambridge
  • Tutor, St Johns College, Cambridge
  • Trustee, Eastern Learning Alliance, UK

E-mail Address


01223 767570


  • B.A Griffith University, Australia.
  • Grad Dip Teach, Mt Gravatt CAE, Australia
  • M.A. University of Sussex, U.K
  • PhD. Griffith University, Australia

Membership of Professional Bodies/Associations

  • IDEA (International Drama in Education Association)
  • Drama Australia
  • National Drama (U.K.)
  • British Educational Research Association


In 2012 Morag received an award from Sigma Theta Thai the International Honour Society of Nursing, for her contribution to Nursing Education in Sweden.


  • Director of Studies, Education. St Johns College, Cambridge,UK
  • Paper Co-ordinator Performance, Education and Society Part II
  • Senior Examiner Section II  Secondary PGCE
  • Senior Examiner Part II  B.A. Education Tripos

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Morag has been working in the Faculty of Education since 2002.  She supervises and lectures on undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate courses in Teacher Education, Drama, Creativity and Arts Education.  

Morag, has taught Drama and Applied Theatre across a range of settings in Australia, the United Kingdom Sweden, Kazakhstan and China. Her research interests lie in the conceptual area of experiential and embodied learning linked to pedagogic praxis and transformative learning. Morag has been involved in on-going research in Conflict Management, Pupil Voice and Democratic Teaching and Learning through the Applied Theatre.  She has developed a number of research projects including an exploration of the role peer teaching may be able to play in re-engaging disaffected girls, and conflict education through Drama.  Morag's most recent teaching and research activities have been linked to transformative learning in a wide range of Professional Development contexts including pre-service Secondary Teacher Education in the UK, a major programme of teacher reform in the republic of Kazakhstan, Nursing Education in Sweden and most recently English Second Language Teacher Education in China, where she is exploring how Drama pedagogy may support Second language acquisition.    

Research interests include:

Arts Education and Teacher Training, Applied Theatre and Drama Education practice, Democratic teaching and learning, reflective practice in Arts Education, Conflict Management, Peer teaching and Pupil Voice. Professional development through embodied and experiential learning. Social justice issues, Performance, Culture and Arts Education.

Academic Area/Links

  • Drama Education
  • Applied Theatre
  • The Arts and Contemporary Cultural theory
  • Peer teaching
  • Conflict management theory and drama praxis
  • Professional Development
  • Student engagement
  • Transformative learning
  • Teacher education
  • Gender, schooling and engagement.

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Research Topics

  • Drama teacher training
  • Peer teaching
  • Drama and conflict management
  • Arts education
  • Pre-vocational professional practice in teaching and nursing
  • Professional development in teaching and nursing through Applied Drama
  • Democratic Education
  • Pupil Voice
  • Embodied teaching and learning
  • Drama and second language acquisition

PhD Research

Morag completed her PhD research into re-engaging disaffected girls through peer-teaching Drama in 2010. This work was part of a larger international project, DRACON - a project that has been in operation since 1995 pioneering research into drama and conflict management in Sweden, Malaysia and Australia.  Morag's findings suggested that the personal risk taking involved in peer teaching others can foster re-engagement and significantly enhance both self-esteem and the ability to manage conflict situations in real-life as a result of working through drama education and modes of applied theatre practice. A number of publications are linked to this longitudinal international study.

Current Research

Morag's current research is linked to the development of an indigenous teacher training programme for second language teachers in China. Along with a colleague based in the Shanghai Theatre Academy, China's most highly respected centre for Performance, Film and media Studies, Morag is developing a structured approach to introducing English Language teachers to the value of Drama pedagogy for second language acquisition.  The research has been carried out across a number of cities in in China. 

Current PhD students

Shufan Zhang (St Johns college) 2021

Developing the Moral Education curriculum in China - a role for Drama.

Jessica Rogers (Wolfson college) 2021

Facing the challenges of introducing Sex Education in Alabaman secondary schools through Applied theatre.

Heidi Perez-Cordero 2019 -

The Accidental language teacher.

Herlin Putri Destari (St Johns College) 2019 -

Learning English in the Contact Zone:
Participatory Action Research through Process Drama at an Islamic Secondary School in Indonesia

Olivia Slater: (St Edmunds College) 2017-

Indigenous Australian Theatre in Western Australian Secondary Schools.

David Williams EdD (St Johns College) 2015-

Developing Ethics teaching in Veterinary Education through Listening to the Student Voice.

Debbie Aitkens (Homerton College) 2018-

Being There. Medical Anthropology in Action:
Generational differences perceptions of medical students experiences of linical attachments in surgery.

International Doctoral students
(Advisor -Erasmus)

Maud Lunden

(University of Gothenburg (Sweden), Health Science) 2016-
Drama in the field of radiography: professional Development for Post-Graduate Nurses - Building Collaboration.

Sanna Arveklev

(University of Gothenburg, Sweden), Health Sciences) 2016-
Learning about conflict management through Drama in Nursing Education.

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Course Involvement

  • MPhil  Arts, Creativity , Education
  • Performance, Education and Society Part II (Paper coordinator)
  • MEd Transforming Practice
  • PhD
  • PGCE Secondary PGCE English and Drama
  • Creativity and Thinking BA Part II
  • Professional Development in English teacher Education - Dept for Continuing Education

Wider Professional Involvement

Director of Studies, St Johns College, Cambridge. UK

  • Education

Erasmus Exchange Scholar University of Gothenberg, Sweden

  • Pedagogy in Health Care Science Education

University of Cambridge Continuing Education

  • Advanced Certificate in Teaching (English)

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Selected Publications and Papers


John O'Toole, Dale Bagshaw, Bruce Burton, Anita Grünbaum, Margret Lepp, Morag Morrison, Janet Pillai (2019).
Researching Conflict, Drama and Learning: The International DRACON Project. (Springer)

Burton. B., Lepp. M., Morrison, M. & O'Toole, J. (2015).
Acting to Manage Conflict and Bullying Through Evidence-Based Strategies (Springer International Publishing)

Finney J., Hickman R., Morrison M, Nicholl, B. and Rudduck, J. (2005)
Rebuilding Engagement through the Arts. Cambridge. Pearson Publications.

Journal Articles

Wang,L & Morrison-Helme .M (2022) Making language alive: Six years of exploration in developing an indigenous teacher training system using drama pedagogy in ESL classes in China (forthcoming)

Wigert. H, Berg. L, Arveklev. S, Morrison-Helme.M, Lepp.M. (2021) Experiences of conflict in clinical practice for nursing students, explored through Forum Play. Nursing education in Practice Vol 56 105177 p.1-7 Elsevir

Lepp. M, Morrison, M & Nolbris, M (forthcoming) Visual Arts based methods within Health Care and Health Care Education: A systematic Literature review. Nursing Today. Elsevier.

Lunden, M., Lundgren, S., Morrison-Helme. M, Lepp, M. (2017) Professional development for radiographers and post graduate nurses in radiological interventions: Building teamwork and collaboration through drama. Radiography. Nov.2017.Vol 23: 4 p.330-336. Elsevier.

Morrison, M (2016) Experiential learning through Applied Drama in Nursing Education NETNEP Conference, International Nursing Education, Brisbane, Australia

Morrison, M. (2013) Hearts and Minds - Teacher development through Embodied Learning. International Drama in Education (IDEA) Conference Paris 2013

Lepp. M. & Morrison, M. (2012) Taking the personal to the professional: Nursing students explore conflict and ethical dilemmas from their praxis using Drama as a learning medium, International Nursing congress, Brisbane, Australia, June 2012

Morrison, M, Lepp. M. (2012) Bringing the personal to the professional: Pre-service teaching students explore conflict through an applied drama approach. Applied Theatre Research, Volume 1, Number 1, December 2012, pp 63-76 (14) Intellect.

Finney J., Hickman R., Nicholl B., Morrison M. & Rudduck, J., (2005) Rebuilding Engagement through the Arts. Cambridge. Pearson Publications. I just felt right, I was listened to, and it made me feel proud. Morrison, M. (2005) in J. Finney et al.

Morrison, M. (2004) Risk and responsibility: the potential of peer teaching to address negative leadership. Improving Schools, Vol.7. No.3, 211-220, November. SAGE Publications


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