Who We Are

Researchers at the Centre have wide range of expertise in this field.

The focus on creativity and the arts through practice is a defining feature of the Centre’s work, and is a neglected area of research in education and professional practice, despite the expansion of the creative industries worldwide. Practice-based research means that researchers are supported and encouraged to conduct their research through the medium of the practice itself – from making artworks through performance, film, art, creative writing, dance or music, to conducting research through professional educational practices such as teaching, coaching and management.

Co-directors Professor Jeff Adams and Professor Allan Owens have extensive experience of research into creativity, the professional development of teachers, contemporary art, process drama, professional organisations and arts education generally. Co-ordinator Emma Arya-Manesh has experience in managing and working on collaborative research projects. 

Professor Jeff Adams

Professor Jeff Adams - Professor of Education at the University of Chester, and Principal Editor of the International Journal of Art & Design Education. At Chester he is leader of the Doctorate in Education (EdD) programme and is currently researching into arts education and creative pedagogies, with grants from Esmée Fairbairn and the British Academy. He previously worked as leader of the MA Artist Teachers programme at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

Jeff has also lectured in education and art history at Edge Hill University, Liverpool John Moores University and the Open University, as well as in teaching art in state comprehensive schools in Yorkshire and Cumbria. His books include Documentary Graphic Novels and Social Realism (Peter Lang, 2008); Teaching Through Contemporary Art (with Worwood, Atkinson, Dash, Herne & Page; Tate, 2008), and Applying Theory to Educational Research (with Cochrane & Dunne (Eds), Wiley-Blackwell, 2012).

Professor Allan Owens

Professor Allan Owens - Professor of Drama Education in the Faculty of Education and & Faculty of Arts & Media-Department of Performing Arts, a Distinguished Teaching Fellow of the University of Chester and a National Teaching Fellow. He has responsibilities for knowledge exchange, research, teaching and international project development. Current work focuses on creative pedagogy, the intercultural dimension of drama and in particular the use of drama in the professions- including arts based initiatives in development processes.

In the past decade he has worked in 16 countries with on-going long-term projects in Palestine, Finland, Japan, Spain, Sweden and Estonia. He has strong links with Palestine having first worked in Gaza and the West Bank in 1995 with the Ministry of Education and latterly in the University sector. He has led long-term capacity building projects, run intensive short programmes, developed research initiatives and staged pre-text based interactive performances across cultural borders in collaboration with colleagues locally, nationally and internationally.

Professor Allan Owens

Emma Arya-Manesh BA (Hons), MA: is a mixed methods researcher/research co-ordinator for RECAP. She has over six years of experience working on externally funded research projects. Some of the more recent research projects include: Creative Pedagogies (British Academy- £30,000), Evaluating the HENRY Approach across Wirral (Wirral Borough Council - £10,000), Booktime Programme Randomised Control Trial (Booktrust - £25,000) and an International Comparative Study of Art Education. Emma is currently a PhD student at the University of Chester/London Institute of Education. The focus of her PhD is the multi-directional role of education and conflict in the context of Palestine. Her research interests lie within the fields of education and conflict with a specific focus on marginalisation. She graduated from the University of Liverpool with a MA in Research Methods. Emma also administers the International Journal of Art & Design Education

Anne Pässilä PhD. Visiting Research Fellow at the RECAP Centre. She is Senior Researcher at Lappeenranta University of Technology, Lahti School of Innovation, Finland and Partner in the consulting company Susinno Ltd.  She has an international profile in applying arts-based initiatives to support innovation and development processes and has extensive experience of front-line workplace engagement in research-based theatre as a support in developing shared understanding in a context of practice-based innovation management. Her interests are in investigating a methodological approach in which narrative methods are utilized to involve employees of organizations and networks in development work.

She continues to publish widely on the interpretative and intuitive approach to the innovation process. Pässilä, A. (2012), Pässilä, A. And Vince, R. (2012).Pässilä, A., Oikarinen, T and Vince, R. (2012) in: H. Melkas and V. Harmaakorpi (eds.)., Pässilä, A., Oikarinen, T. & Kallio, A. (2013). Pässilä, Tuija Oikarinen, Satu Parjanen, Vesa Harmaakorpi, (2013). Her paper “Creating dialogue by storytelling” was selected by the Journal of Workplace Learning Editorial Team for the prestigious award of Outstanding Paper of 2013.


Associate Professor Eva Österlind – Visiting Research Fellow at the RECAP Centre. She is an Associate Professor of Drama Education at Stockholm University, and former Director of Studies in Aesthetics and Learning, with special responsibility for development and strategic planning.  She designed the first drama courses at advanced level in Sweden, allowing Masters students to specialise in Drama. Her main field of teaching is CPD courses for teachers, leadership development (in the private sector) and tutorial of doctoral students.

Her research concerns Instructional Design – especially form as content – and the potential of Educational Drama, Forum Theatre as a tool for active citizenship, and Process Drama in Education for Sustainable Development. She is a member of the Editorial Board/Advisory Board of two of the leading research journals in the field of Arts and Drama Education. A group of Swedish doctoral students in Drama Education are now enrolled in Chester, where Österlind is a Research Fellow. In 2014 she is visiting Professor at Faculty of Creative Industries, Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, AU.

 Si Poole

Si Poole, MA, PGCSiC, PGCE, BA(Hons), SFHEA, FCollT, FRSA, MISM, is the Programme Leader for the Masters in Creative Practice in Education and Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Children's Services at the University of Chester. He also works at Storyhouse (https://www.storyhouse.com), as the Senior Lead in Cultural Education and Research. Storyhouse is Chester's award-winning, innovative combined arts producer and storytelling organization, that brings together live performance, music, film, digital art and literature to provide new opportunities for audiences to connect with stories and ideas, with each other and with their communities. Continuing to work internationally, his main areas of research are music, culture, folklore and creativity and how these aspects of our lives can enhance people's learning as a transformative experience. He also runs a grass roots record label called ‘Soil Records’ and is the singer and songwriter of the band ‘the loose kites’ (www.theloosekites.com).