Sarah Misra

Senior Lecturer

Institute for Education

In my current role at Staffordshire University, I have designed, developed and now lead and teach on all aspects of the PGCE (postgraduate teacher training) awards for Primary General both at Stoke and at Lichfield campuses. In this role I have also been responsible for the development of seven School Direct clusters (incorporating 60+ schools) which range geographically between Ashton-Under-Lyne in Manchester and Lichfield in Staffordshire and I lead and manage the primary PGCE delivery team.

Before moving into Higher Education in 2011, I enjoyed a varied career in Primary Education and worked as a teacher across all year groups in a variety of schools and within Senior Management Teams. I also played a key role in developing clusters in the Cheshire East LEA which prepared me well for setting up and managing School Direct clusters in my present role. I also being part of the EdD (Doctorate in Education) Team where I have responsibility for student supervision.

I am passionate about social justice and gender equality and believe that healthcare and education are key to improving these. My research is primarily focused around developing more creative and inclusive methods of qualitative research including storytelling and arts-based research and I was been awarded a Doctorate in Education by the University of Chester supervised by Professor Jeff Adams. My art-based dissertation: “The Plastic Ceiling Project: Exploring the Pain of Mothers”, took a feminist, auto-ethnographic approach, combining photo-elicitation and blogging to explore tensions between cultural expectations and the reality of working mothers.

I have published and presented at international conferences on the challenges of juggling work and motherhood and barriers facing parents that wish to study and have edited and co-written a book; “Teaching the Primary Foundation Subjects” with Open University Press which aims to promote a rich Arts-based curriculum in primary education. I set up and lead the Staffordshire Red Tent Group (a group which aims to support and empower women) and am an active member of the Women’s Academic Network at Staffordshire University.

Professional memberships and activities

Centre for Digital Storytelling and Oral History, Concordia University, Montreal
CASIC (Community Animation & Social innovation Centre), Keele University
Cultural Learning Alliance
The Chartered College of Teaching
BERA (British Educational Research Association)

Academic qualifications

2018 - Doctorate in Education, Chester University

2013 - Masters in Education (Distinction), Edge Hill University

2011 - Postgraduate Diploma in Inclusive Education (Distinction) MMU

2010 - National Award in Special Educational Needs (Distinction) MMU

1996 - Post Graduate Certificate in Education, Keele University

1994 - BA (Hons) History of Art & Design (2:1) Staffordshire University

1994 - BA (Hons) Business Studies (2:1) Staffordshire University


I have enjoyed a varied career in Primary Education and have worked as a teacher across all year groups and in the Senior Management Team both in Primary Education and in Higher Education. I have taken a leading role in developing assessment and tracking systems, undertaking research and introducing systems to identify, provide for and track students who although making the required progress were not felt to be achieving full potential. I also played a key role in developing clusters in the Cheshire East LEA.

Research interests

As an artist-researcher, my work is primarily focused around developing creative, inclusive and emancipatory methods of research. My recent Plastic Ceiling Project explored tensions for working women who study using digital photography and blogging and won an award for emerging new talent with Keele University’s CASIC (Community Animation & Social Innovation Centre) before being exhibited at the Tate Liverpool in March, 2018 as part of the International Pedagogical Turn to Art as Research’ project which led to me being invited to present a guest lecture at Concordia University in Montreal in 2018.

I was fortunate to have been invited to be involved in the international three year project “The Pedagogical Turn to Art as Research” which aimed to investigate Arts-Based Educational Research (ABER) through a comparative international study of doctoral programmes across five partner institutions: the University of Chester; the University of British Columbia (Canada); Concordia University (Canada); the University of Granada (Spain) and the University of Lapland (Finland). During the project I was able to collaborate with other artist-researchers and experienced curators Ricardo Marín-Viadel and Joaquin Roldan to develop a week-long exhibition “From Mittens to Barbies” at the Tate Liverpool. This focused both on collaborations between the artist-researchers and specifically on our own work which was featured in the Tate exchange gallery. I was also extremely fortunate to work closely with project leaders Dr Rita L. Irwin (University of British Columbia in Vancouver) and Professor Anita Sinner (Concordia University Montreal).

I have worked closely with PGCE and undergraduate students researching perceived barriers to study for students with parental responsibility and first-generation students and also have a particular interest in developing opportunities for children from disadvantaged and inner-city backgrounds. I am an active member of a Special Interest Group (SIG) hosted by British Educational Research Association (BERA) looking at reducing social injustice. I am proud to have presented research at both BERA and at ECER (European Conference on Educational Research) which has resulted in changes being made to the delivery and assessment of teacher training to give greater accessibility for those students with parental responsibility.


I am currently involved in all leading on and teaching all aspects of the Primary PGCE (Staffordshire University) and the Primary PGCE (School Direct).
I also work as a supervisor and examiner on the doctoral team at Staffordshire University.

Top 15 for Teaching Quality

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021

Top 15 for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021

Midlands University of the Year

Midlands Business Awards 2020