• 11 Citations
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Personal profile


Sarah is Lecturer in Creative Arts (Music specialisation) with the Department of Educational Studies. She studied Music and Education at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and has taught for over 15 years in across a range of educational settings, including preschool, primary, secondary and tertiary. Sarah has worked at Western Sydney University (WSU) in the Master of Teaching (Early Childhood and Secondary) and Master of Education programs. She has been involved in research projects with the Centre for Educational Research, WSU, focusing on Arts in education and literacy in early years education and has presented nationally and internationally. Sarah is a member of the NSW Orff Schulwerk Association, and editor of The Bulli, which provides professional development and training for specialist and non-specialist teachers in music. Sarah’s approach to music education is based on the premise that music begins in the body – it is active and embodied and an integral part of life.   

Research interests

Sarah’s research interests are broadly focused on music and music education. She is interested in the way children of all ages engage with music and the world, and in music as an integral mode of literacy. Sarah is becoming increasingly interested in the connections between music and neuroscience, the unique effect that music has on the brain and the way this influences literacy and learning.

Sarah’s research experience has been in areas related to Music and the Arts in education, primarily school and early childhood settings. Her doctoral research investigated masculinity in the Australian context of singing and choir across life stages. She has worked on projects that focused on the Fresh AiR initiative, creativity and affect in the classroom, and the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Penrith Symphony youth strings program. Sarah is currently working on an Australian Research Council funded project, Naming the World, led by Professor Margaret Somerville of Western Sydney University, which is investigating literacy and sustainability in early years learning.

Sarah has experience in qualitative methods of research, including case study, narrative inquiry, and phenomenology. She is particularly interested in post-qualitative, post-human, and post-structural perspectives and approaches to research.

Education/Academic qualification

Music education, PhD, University of Western Sydney


Music education, Master of Teaching Honours, University of Western Sydney


Education, Master of Education, University of Western Sydney


Music education, Bachelor of Music (Music education), Sydney Conservatorium of Music


External positions

Post-doctoral researcher, University of Western Sydney

Feb 201625 Jan 2018

Committee member & Editor (Bulletin), NSW Orff Schulwerk Association

2011 → …

Casual Academic, University of Western Sydney

201025 Jan 2018

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  • 3 Similar Profiles
music Social Sciences
singing Social Sciences
learning Social Sciences
chaos Social Sciences
literacy Social Sciences
masculinity Social Sciences
sustainability Social Sciences
experience Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2011 2020

Research Outputs 2013 2019

Literature review: formative assessment evidence and practice

Lane, R., Parrila, R., Bower, M., Bull, R., Cavanagh, M., Forbes, G., Jones, T., Pellicano, E., Powell, S. & Ryan, M., 27 Sep 2019, (Submitted) Melbourne: Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL). 230 p.

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportResearchpeer-review


Researching with children of the Anthropocene: a new paradigm?

Somerville, M. & Powell, S., 2019, Educational research in the age of the anthropocene. Reyes, V., Charteris, J., Nye, A. & Mavropoulou, S. (eds.). Hershey, PA: IGI Global, p. 14-35 22 p. (Advances in Educational Technologies and Instructional Design (AETID) Book Series).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review

New Paradigm
Gilles Deleuze

Thinking posthuman with mud: and children of the Anthropocene

Somerville, M. & Powell, S. J., 2019, In : Educational Philosophy and Theory. 51, 8, p. 829-840 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

educational research

Drumming in excess and chaos: music, literacy and sustainability in early years learning

Powell, S. & Somerville, M., 14 Aug 2018, In : Journal of Early Childhood Literacy. 23 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Engaging young string players in metacognition

Power, A. M. & Powell, S. J., Nov 2018, In : International Journal of Music Education. 36, 4, p. 659-670 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

role model


PTC NSW Outstanding Professional Service Award

Sarah Powell (Recipient), 2018

Prize: Honorary award

teachers' association

Activities 2017 2018

  • 6 Oral presentation
  • 1 Invited talk

Sing, Play, Move: Music in Early Childhood

Sarah Powell (Speaker)
12 Jun 2018

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

Drumming in excess and chaos

Sarah Powell (Speaker)
25 Apr 2018

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation

Wild stories across worlds (and humans)

Margaret Somerville (Speaker), Sarah Powell (Speaker)
3 Dec 2018

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation

Forests, literacy and sustainability: How does it all work?

Margaret Somerville (Speaker), Sarah Powell (Speaker)
21 Oct 2017

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation

Muddy politics: Challenging the striated spaces of early learning’s regulatory practices

Margaret Somerville (Speaker), Sarah Powell (Speaker)
28 Nov 2017

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation