Doctor Karin Mackay

Doctor Karin Mackay

Secondary Education (soe)


Karin's research interests lie in how the creative process is an important way to develop human flourishing and wellbeing in both educational and diverse community contexts. She  has worked extensively in community arts settings with a range of youth and community organisations. Karin's expertise lies in her ability to bring together diverse groups and genres to explore visual, musical and multi-arts practices for community cohesion, empowerment and expression in marginalised groups.  Karin has a particular interest in women's wellbeing and established a non government organisation called The Women's Room in 2004 where she wrote and facilitated numerous creative arts courses, workshops and groups which used arts to explore inner life, connectedness and social activism within community. This included an annual arts and ecology festival involved hundreds of Indigenous, non-indigenous and ethnically diverse women and families performing, singing, writing, dancing and painting their stories and art.The festival became a popular annual event exploring people's relationship to place and cosmos through creative expression. Karin has published in the areas of feminism, spirituality, ecology and the arts in online articles, poems, newsletters and blogs. Karin completed her Doctoral studies with The Institute for Culture and Society at the University of Western Sydney in 2015, examining women experience wellbeing through creative arts and spiritual practice in relation to land and kin. This led to her development of a practice based model of cultural wellbeing that recognises how cultural traditions, embodied connectedness to place alongside diverse cultural stories and art can tap into transformative "energy" important for wellbeing. Karin has presented and written about the intersection of cultural wellbeing, story, art and place in several journal articles, domestic and international academic conferences where she draws upon Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives on wellbeing  . She has also written "Flourish", a workbook with exercises to develop creative practice and which also theorises creative process and wellbeing. She has also broadened her interest in arts and place through working with Professor Margaret Somerville on the "Our Place" project in collaboration with the Office of Environment and Heritage exploring issues facing sustainability educators and recently completed research with  Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities (CALD) engagement with sustainable practice to create an abundant community. Karin is currently working with Sydwest Multicultural Services wiht refugee youth to develop a mentoring and creative media model to navigate educational, career and life aspirations. Karin has taught academically across humanities, education, creativity and sustainability fields with a particular interest in furthering the broad aims of social justice, equality and activism. She has lectured at the University of Western Sydney since 2009, mostly in the area of Diversity, Social Justice and Equity. Karin has recently taken on the role of Coordinating Professional Practice for the Masters of Teaching (Secondary) Course where she lectures about practical strategies and alternative creative pedagogical practices to new aspiring teachers. Karin is a practicing artist, writes occasional poetry and has a passion for singing.



This information has been contributed by Doctor Mackay.


  • DCR University of Western Sydney
  • Btech University of Western Sydney

Professional Memberships

  • Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations (2014 - 2014)
  • Arts in Society (2013 - 2014)


  • Doctor of Cultural Reseach 2015-05-11


  • Aboriginal Responses to Colonisation
  • Activism
  • Creative Arts Education
  • Creative Arts Practice
  • Creative and Critical Thinking
  • Cultural Diversity
  • Cultural Wellbeing
  • Educational design
  • Embodied Learning
  • Place-making
  • Political Participation and Identity
  • Social Justice, Social Change and Gender Issues
  • Spirituality

Organisational Unit (School / Division)

  • Secondary Education (soe)


Phone: (02) 47360 260
Location: J.1.18
Penrith (Kingswood)

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Previous Teaching Areas

  • 100960 Contemporary Society, 2010
  • 100960 Contemporary Society, 2011
  • 101259 Learning and Creativity, 2012
  • 101259 Learning and Creativity, 2013
  • 101259 Learning and Creativity, 2014
  • 101579 Primary English and Literacy 1, 2009
  • 101579 Primary English and Literacy 1, 2010
  • 101579 Primary English and Literacy 1, 2011
  • 101586 Primary English and Literacy 2, 2010
  • 101586 Primary English and Literacy 2, 2011
  • 101641 Diversity, Social Justice and Equity, 2010
  • 101641 Diversity, Social Justice and Equity, 2011
  • 101641 Diversity, Social Justice and Equity, 2012
  • 101641 Diversity, Social Justice and Equity, 2013
  • 101641 Diversity, Social Justice and Equity, 2014


Journal Articles

  • Mackay, K. (2014), 'Art as a connection to the divine in women's lives : cultural wellbeing through creative process', The International Journal of Social, Political, and Community Agendas in the Arts, vol 8, no 2 .
  • Mackay, K. (2011), 'Reclaiming the sacred : a festival experience as a response to globalisation', Journal for the Study of Religion, vol 24, no 2 , pp 75 - 96.


  • 2009, 'Ancestral Connections Exhibition'

Other Publications

  • 2013, 'Our Place, Western Sydney, Project Report. Stage 1: Community Environmental & Sustainability Educators', Research Report

Previous Projects

Title: Navigating Resettlement: matched mentoring and creative media design-Sydwest
  • Sydwest Multicultural Services
Western Researchers: Mohamed Moustakim and Karin Mackay
Years: 2016-07-04 - 2017-09-11
ID: P00024204


Title: Art as a Connection to the Divine
Description: Virtual Presentation at International Arts in Society Confrence 2013 Budapest Hungary

Western Sydney University

Locked Bag 1797
Penrith NSW 2751

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