Research Staff Interests

Dr Jane  McDonnell


I began my career as a lecturer in 2010, after completing my PhD in education and democracy at the University of Exeter. Prior to this, I worked in secondary schools as a teacher of Religious Education, Citizenship Education and Personal, Social and Health Education. My research interests include the role of art in democratic learning and policy issues related to social, political and values education. Theoretically, I have a particular interest in the work of Jacques Rancière and Chantal Mouffe.

Research Projects

Mar 2018 – Mar 2019
Developing research into values education across formal and non-formal educational settings.
Internally funded by Manchester Metropolitan University. Research Accelerator grant of £2412.40. Project Lead.

May 2015 – July 2015
Rethinking political literacy for theory and practice in education: Towards an aesthetic and expansive understanding.
Internally Funded by Liverpool John Moores University. Research grant of £10,000. Project Lead.

July 2012 – Jan 2014
Employability in Education Studies: A student-lecturer collaborative enquiry.
Funded by the Higher Education Academy. Collaborative Teaching Development Grant of £60,000. Collaborating Investigator.

Mar 2011 – Dec 2011 Assessment reassessed: A student and lecturer collaborative enquiry.
Funded by ESCalate, The HEA Subject Centre for Education. Research grant of £4,990. Collaborating Investigator.

Dec 2010 – July 2011
Implementing Democratic Assessment Strategies in HE.
Funded by internal research grant of £1650 as part of larger NTFS (National Teacher fellow) project, 'It's Good to Talk' . Collaborating Investigator.

Dec 2006 – July 2007
Enquire into Learning in Galleries – phase 2 (South West Cluster).
Funded by Engage, The National Association for Gallery Education. Research Assistant

Refereed Journal Articles

McDonnell, J. (2017) Political and aesthetic equality in the work of Jacques Rancière: Applying his writing to debates in education and the arts. Journal of Philosophy of Education

McDonnell, J. (2016) Is it 'all about having an opinion'? Challenging the Dominance of Rationality and Cognition in Democratic Education via Research in a Gallery Setting. International Journal of Art and Design Education

McDonnell, J. (2014) PFI and the Performative Politics of Dissent: Lessons for Democratic Education. Power and Education 6(3) pp 307-317

McDonnell, J. (2014) Reimagining the Role of Art in the Relationship between Democracy and Education. Educational Philosophy and Theory 46(1) pp 46-58

McDonnell, J. & Curtis, W. (2014) Making space for democracy through assessment and feedback in higher education: thoughts from an action research project in education studies. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education 39(8) pp 932-948

McDonnell, J. (2014) Finding a place in the discourse: Film, literature and the process of becoming politically subject. Journal of Social Science Education 13(4) pp 78-86

Curtis, W., Goodson, A., McDonnell, J., Shields, S. & Wyness, R. (2012) Learning together and expanding horizons: reflections on a student-lecturer collaborative enquiry. Enhancing Learning in the Social Sciences 4(3)

McDonnell, J. & Curtis, W. (2012) Creating spaces for democracy in higher education: Rethinking assessment feedback strategies. Gateway Papers: A journal for pedagogic research in higher education 2 pp 40-51

Lawy, J., Biesta, g., McDonnell, J., Lawy, H. & Reeves, H. (2010) 'The art of democracy': Young people's democratic learning in gallery contexts. British Educational Research Journal 36(3) pp 351-365

Book Chapters

McDonnell, J. (2018) 'What future for artistic activism?' in M. Grasso & J. Bessant Governing Youth Politics in the Age of Surveillance. London: Routledge

Sant, E., Pais, A., McDonnell, J. & Menendez Alvarez-Hevia, D. (2017) 'Social Fantasy vs. Radical Democracy: two competing views of populism and how they challenge education', in: The Implications of 'New Populism' For Education Essex: E&E

McDonnell, J. (2013) 'Education and the Economy', in W. Curtis, S. Ward, J. Sharp & L. Hankin. Education Studies: An issue-based approach 3rd edition

Expert Reviewer for Journals and Publishers

  • Pedagogy, Culture and Society
  • Subjectivity
  • Assessment and Evaluation in Higher
  • Education

Teaching Interests

Senior Lecturer in Education Studies and Programme Lead for BA hons Religion, Education and Community


Position/Post: Senior Lecturer
Tel: 0161-247-2108
Location: 1.43 Brooks Building