• 20 Citations
  • 4 h-Index

Research output per year

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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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Research Outputs

Big data: and the micropolitics of entanglement in the Earth’s becoming

Somerville, M., Woods, A., Duhn, I., Rautio, P., Powell, S., McConnell-Imbriotis, A. & Galvez, S., 23 Apr 2020, In : International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education. 18 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Being-Country in urban places: naming the world through Australian Aboriginal pedagogies

    Somerville, M., Powell, S. & Trist, N., Oct 2019, In : Journal of Childhood Studies. 44, 4, p. 98-111 14 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 4 Downloads (Pure)

    Literature review: formative assessment evidence and practice

    Lane, R., Parrila, R., Bower, M., Bull, R., Cavanagh, M., Forbes, A., Jones, T., Khosronejadtoroghi, M., Leaper, D., Pellicano, L., Powell, S., Ryan, M. & Skrebneva, I., 2019, Melbourne: Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL). 174 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

    Open Access
  • 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 proceedingChapter

  • Prizes

    PTC NSW Outstanding Professional Service Award

    Sarah Powell (Recipient), 2018

    Prize: Honorary award

  • Activities

    • 7 Oral presentation
    • 3 Membership of committee
    • 2 Invited talk
    • 1 Membership of network

    Faculty of Arts (Organisational unit)

    Sarah Powell (Member)
    Feb 2020 → …

    Activity: MembershipMembership of network

    Faculty of Arts (Organisational unit)

    Sarah Powell (Member)
    Jan 2020 → …

    Activity: MembershipMembership of committee

    Big data and the micro politics of the earth's becoming

    Sarah Powell (Speaker)
    1 Jul 20193 Jul 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

    Trendsetter Panel and Alumni Reception 2019: Creative and Critical Thinking is the Future

    Sarah Powell (Speaker)
    29 Oct 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation

    Department of Educational Studies (Organisational unit)

    Sarah Powell (Member)
    May 2019 → …

    Activity: MembershipMembership of committee