BArtEd MArtEd PhD
Dr Karen Maras, is an Associate Professor in the School of Education at the University of New South Wales. She is also Deputy Head of School (Learning & Teaching). Her research and scholarship specialisations include learning and development in Visual Arts education, as well as curriculum and assessment practice in school and higher education contexts.
In her research Dr Karen Maras investigates the ontological bases of critical reasoning in art. A key focus of this research is on how students' intuitive theories of art develop, are conceptually structured, and shape the practicalities of knowledge construction and learning progression in the Visual Arts. Karen has established a realist framework for understanding how and on what terms students develop critical theories of meaning in art. More recently she has extended this research to address the cognitive foundations of critical and creative thinking and the relationships of these forms of thought to practical and conceptual reasoning in art. This research assists teachers in understanding how students’ theories and understandings of art develop with age and how theoretical repertoires can be developed and applied as frameworks of meaning when interpreting artworks and art practices in the classroom. Her interest in critical development in art arises from her experience in secondary teaching, her interest in philosophical aesthetics, theoretical frameworks and conceptual development in art.
Karen began her career in teacher education at COFA UNSW, now the School of Art & Design. There she completed her undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral studies. Karen’s contributions to pre-service Visual Arts teacher preparation are grounded in her experience in secondary visual arts teaching. She also teaches in the areas of curriculum and pedagogy theory and practice at postgraduate level in teacher education programs. Her interest in curriculum theory and issues is also informed by her ongoing and extensive experience developing Visual Arts Curriculum K-12 in state and national contexts. Before coming to UNSW Karen led programs in Visual Arts teacher education at Australian Catholic University. Karen has also held a range of leadership roles as Head of School at ACU and also as Deputy Head of School, Learning & Teaching at ACU and UNSW Sydney with particular responsibility of the accreditation of Initial Teacher Education Programs.
Professional teachers Council NSW Outstanding Service Award 2013
Karen has been instrumental in providing outstanding strategic leadership for professional development evidenced in VADEAs annual conference programs, in-service events, research symposiums, public forums, and resultant teacher resource publications. Karen is recognised as a leading voice in art education in NSW and nationally.
Australian Learning and Teaching Council Teaching Citation
In 2011 Karen received an ALTC citation for her outstanding contribution to Visual Arts teacher education through development of curricula, resources and services that reflect a command of the field. This award demonstrates Karen’s commitment to modelling curriculum practices and professional qualities that develop teachers’ reflective critical dispositions enabling them to sustain high quality learning outcomes for their students in schools. Her university teaching, consultancy and advocacy at state and federal levels is grounded in a commitment to building professional identity and ensuring the intellectual value of Visual Arts education is recognised in education.
Art Education Australia (AEA)
Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE)
National Art Education Association (NAEA)
International Society for Education through Art (InSEA)
Visual Arts and Design Educators Association NSW (VADEA)
Current professional Activity
Research and Publications Officer, Visual Arts and Design Educators Association, NSW (2014)
Australian Journal of Art Education
International Journal of Art and Design Education