Drama Australia Research Award – Distinguished research thesis

This Christine Sinclair Research Award honours exceptional scholars.

Drama Australia has named this award after the late Dr Christine Sinclair (d. 2020) to honour her exceptional contribution to the Drama education community supporting emerging scholars in our field, serving on the Drama Victoria Committee as Vice-President and on the Drama Australia Board as Director of Publications and editor of NJ.

2024 Nomination Form

2022 Drama Australia Christine Sinclair Research Award Winner

Ms Natasha Elizabeth Beaumont

Ms Beaumont’s M Ed thesis titled: Multimodal Language and Learning: Drama as EAL/D pedagogy in the early primary classroom.

Distinguished features of Ms Beaumont’s thesis:

  • Natasha Beaumont’s critical and comprehensive dissertation about multimodal
    language learning through drama provides a substantive original contribution to
    knowledge in drama education through an investigation into literacy, oracy, and
    English as an additional language in Australian schools. This award-winning
    dissertation provides an exceptionally fine-grained, vivid, and perceptive snapshot of
    the action and interactions of teacher and students in a drama classroom.
  • The research findings are augmented throughout the thesis with highly perceptive
    and sharply observed evidence that demonstrates drama-rich strategies and
    techniques as a classroom innovation to improve student engagement and learning
    outcomes.
  • An impressive range of qualitative research methods are applied and justified
    including a Hermeneutic/interpretivist approach; Exploratory case study; Narrative
    Inquiry; Phenomenological inquiry; Video analysis; Body language analysis;
    Multimodal discourse analysis; and the Researcher as storyteller.
  • This research provides conclusions and implications that are substantive for initiating
    international impact.

Natasha Beaumont was nominated by one of her supervisors: Professor Emerita Robyn
Ewing from the University of Sydney, who is a member of Drama New South Wales.

2022 Drama Australia Christine Sinclair Research Award Finalist

Dr Tricia Clarke-Fookes

Dr Clarke-Fookes’ PhD thesis title: Exquisite pressure: Entanglements at the Intersection of Artistry, Pedagogy and Digital Technology.

Distinguished features of Dr Clarke-Fookes’ thesis:

  • Dr Clark-Fookes’ PhD thesis is an original contribution to knowledge in Arts
    education through an investigation into Virtual Theatre for Young Audiences.
  • The researcher’s perceptive self-critical analysis of critical incidents during the
    research process and the captivating responses to her analysis of these incidents.
  • Research findings present observable outcomes including the emergence of a new
    dramatic form – performative workshop; articulating practices in which teaching-artist troupes engage to create aesthetic arts learning experiences in the digital
    context particularly pertinent during the Pandemic with implications on drama
    education and on-line learning. A further finding was the innovative reframing of TPACK (Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge) to include Aesthetics
    (Technological Pedagogical and Aesthetic Content Knowledge).

Dr Tricia Clark-Fookes was nominated by one of her PhD supervisors: Professor Judith
McLean from Queensland University of Technology, who is a Member of Drama
Queensland.

2020 Drama Australia

Christine Sinclair

Research Award winner

Dr John Nicholas Saunders

Dr Saunders’ PhD thesis title: Dramatic Interventions: A multi-site case study analysis of student outcomes in the School Drama program,

Distinguished features of Dr Saunders’ thesis:

• The thesis is a substantive original contribution to knowledge in drama education.

• The findings are among the most important and persuasive in providing a reliable evidence-base for processual drama pedagogy.

• The thesis provides evidence for the advocacy of essential policy change in education and schools, giving ample weight to the writer’s assertion that drama and drama pedagogy ought to be at the core of today’s curriculum.

Dr Saunders was nominated by one of his PhD supervisors: Professor Emerita Robyn Ewing AM from The University of Sydney who is a member of Drama New South Wales.

2020 Drama Australia

Christine Sinclair

Research Award finalist

Dr Jennifer Wong

Dr Wong’s PhD thesis title: Playbuilding: Considering Identities, Agency and Self-Efficacy.

Distinguished features of Dr Wong’s thesis:

• This thesis provides a comprehensive investigation of the topic.

• Research findings are significant to the field and accompanied by quality interpretation.

• This research has the potential for national and international impact.

Dr Wong was nominated by one of her PhD supervisors: Associate Professor Madonna Stinson from Griffith University who is a member of Drama Queensland.

Research Award nominations

Eligibility for the Drama Australia Research Award nominations are open to members of Drama Australia either as the nominee (research degree graduate), or the nominator (thesis supervisor).

Research Award Nomination due date is 31st May 2024.

Download the 2024 Research Award Nomination Form

For more information contact Christine Hatton, Director of Research: Christine.Hatton@newcastle.edu.au

Research Award criteria

1. The thesis constitutes a substantive original contribution to knowledge in one or more of the following areas: drama education; or, applied theatre; or theatre for young audiences

2. The thesis provides a high-quality critical appraisal of the relevant literature.

3. The research methods are relevant to the research questions, appropriate to the field and clearly justified and applied.

4. The thesis is of a high quality and provides a critical and comprehensive investigation of the topic.

5. Research findings are significant to the field, clearly demonstrated and accompanied by a high-quality interpretation.

6. Conclusions and implications are appropriately developed so that the research has the potential for national/international impact.

Research Award Review Panel

The blind thesis review and Award selection process necessitates strict confidentiality from the Review Panel to ensure that only they are cognisant of the Award’s longlist, shortlist and winner recommendations.

Research Award Review Panellists:

Dr Christine Hatton,  University of Newcastle, NSW

Dr Christina Gray, Edith Cowen University, WA

Associate Professor Richard Sallis, University of Melbourne, VIC