Dr Karen Maras

Senior Lecturer and Program Convenor

BArtEd MArtEd PhD

School of Education


+61 2 9385 2542
116 Goodsell Building
Kensington Campus
Fields: Creative Arts, Media and Communication Curriculum and Pedagogy, Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development
Tags: Education and Training

Dr Karen Maras, is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at the University of New South Wales. As a specialist in Visual Arts education she is Program Convenor, Visual Arts, Media Arts and Design Education. Prior to this appointment Karen led programs in Visual Arts teacher education at Australian Catholic University and also held a range of leadership roles in the ACU Faculty of Education NSW. She began her career in academia at COFA UNSW wherein she completed her undergraduate and postgraduate studies. Karen’s contributions to pre-service Visual Arts teacher preparation are grounded in her experience in secondary visual arts teaching, and her extensive experience developing Visual Arts Curriculum k-12 in state and national contexts.

In her research Dr Karen Maras investigates the ontological bases of critical reasoning in art. A key focus in this work is on the role language and belief play in the practicalities of knowledge construction and learning in the Visual Arts. Karen has established a realist framework for understanding how and on what terms students develop critical theories of meaning in art. This research assists teachers in understanding how students’ theories of art develop with age and how theoretical repertoires can be developed and applied as frameworks of meaning when interpreting artworks and art practices in the classroom. This interest in critical development in art arises from her experience in secondary teaching, her interest in philosophical aesthetics, theoretical frameworks and conceptual development in art.


    Book Chapters

    • Mannninen A;Maras KE, 2017, 'Challenges and realities: engaging students with contemporary art in Finnish and Australian Art Classrooms', in Tavin K; Hiltunen M (ed.), Experimenting FADS: Finnish Art-Education Doctoral Studies, Otava Book Printing Ltd, Finland, pp. 102 - 112
    • Maras K, 2010, 'Playing the game through: Making a thesis in art education a ‘real thing’', in Forrest D (ed.), The Doctoral Journey in Art Education: Reflections on Doctoral Studies by Australian and New Zealand Educators, edn. 1, Australian Scholarly Publishing, North Melbourne, Victoria, pp. 181 - 196
    • Maras K, 2007, 'Creativity, theory building and art learning', in Butcher J (ed.), Making a Difference: Challenges for Teachers and Teacher Education, Sense, Rotterdam, pp. 109 - 123

    Journal articles

    • Maras K, 2018, 'A Realist Account of Critical Agency in Art Criticism in Art and Design Education', International Journal of Art and Design Education, vol. 37, pp. 599 - 610, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jade.12206
    • Maras KE, 2017, 'Mind, language and artworks as real constraints on students’ critical reasoning about meaning in art', International Journal of Art & Design Education, vol. TBC, pp. 1 - 11, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jade.12152
    • Maras K, 2013, 'What ACARA 'forgot' : Opening up the space for a conceptual framework for Visual Arts in the Australian curriculum', Australian Art Education, vol. 35, pp. 24 - 37
    • Maras K, 2010, 'Condition critical: A misdiagnosis in the treatment of critical practice in the proposed curriculum for Visual Arts', Australian Art Education, vol. 33, pp. 15 - 19
    • Maras K, 2010, 'Age-related shifts in the theoretical constraints underlying children’s critical reasoning in art', Australian Art Education, vol. 33, pp. 20 - 28
    • Maras K, 2010, 'Does one size really fit all? How does Visual Arts fair as a knowledge domain in proposals for an Australian Curriculum for the Arts?', Australian Art Education, vol. 33, pp. 35 - 45
    • Maras K, 2009, 'Children as art critics: Mapping a continuum of aesthetic learning in visual arts education', International Journal of Learning, vol. 16, pp. 251 - 262, http://dx.doi.org/10.18848/1447-9494/CGP/v16i07/46443
    • Barbousas J;Maras K, 2009, 'Pre-service visual arts education in an Australian context', International Journal of Learning, vol. 16, pp. 683 - 694

    Conference Papers

    • Maras K, 2001, 'Mapping Children`s Theory of Critical Meaning in Visual Arts MAR01194', in AARE Conference Papers - Electronic, AARE, Fremantle, WA, presented at AARE 2001: Crossing Borders: New Frontiers for Educational Research, Fremantle, WA, 02 - 06 December 2001

    Conference Proceedings (Editor of)

    • Weate A; Maras KE, (eds.), 2000, '9th occasional seminar in art education: Bodies of Work and the Practice of Art Making', 9th occasional seminar in art education: Bodies of Work and the Practice of Art Making, COFA, UNSW, presented at 9th occasional seminar in art education: Bodies of Work and the Practice of Art Making, COFA, UNSW, 01 September 2000

Honours and prizes

Professional teachers Council NSW Outstanding Service Award 2013

Karen has been instrumental in providing outstanding strategic leadership for professional development evidenced in VADEAs annual conference programs, in-service events, research symposiums, public forums, and resultant teacher resource publications. Karen is recognised as a leading voice in art education in NSW and nationally.


Australian Learning and Teaching Council Teaching Citation

In 2011 Karen received an ALTC citation for her outstanding contribution to Visual Arts teacher education through development of curricula, resources and services that reflect a command of the field. This award demonstrates Karen’s commitment to modelling curriculum practices and professional qualities that develop teachers’ reflective critical dispositions enabling them to sustain high quality learning outcomes for their students in schools. Her university teaching, consultancy and advocacy at state and federal levels is grounded in a commitment to building professional identity and ensuring the intellectual value of Visual Arts education is recognised in education.


Engagement and Professional contributions


Art Education Australia (AEA)

Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE)

National Art Education Association (NAEA)

International Society for Education through Art (InSEA)

Visual Arts and Design Educators Association NSW (VADEA)

Current professional Activity

Research and Publications Officer, Visual Arts and Design Educators Association, NSW (2014)

Reviewer for:

Australian Journal of Art Education

International Journal of Art and Design Education

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