Doctor Rachael Jacobs

Doctor Rachael Jacobs

Senior Lecturer Primary Creative Arts,
Primary Education


Rachael Jacobs is a lecturer in Creative Arts Education at Western Sydney University and a former secondary teacher (Dance, Drama and Music) and primary Arts specialist. Her research interests include assessment in the arts, language acquisition through the arts and decolonised approaches to embodied learning. Her PhD focussed on creativity in assessment. Rachael has facilitated arts projects in community settings all over Australia, including in refugee communities, in prisons and in women’s refuges. In 2016 contributed to the arts education component of the OECD report on the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. In 2020 she contributed to UNESCO's Futures of Education Initiative, co-authoring a report on artists depictions of the future of education. Rachael has written two textbooks for teachers on Arts Education in Primary Schools. In 2021 she received a grant from the Australia Council for the Arts to condiuct anti-racism programs in schools, addressed through drama and dance. Rachael is a community activist, a freelance writer, aerial arts instructor, dancer and choreographer. She was a founding member of the community activism group, Teachers for Refugees and runs her own intercultural dance company in Sydney. She is a climate activist and is on the board of Sweltering Cities, as well as an anti-racism and human rights campaigner.

This information has been contributed by Doctor Jacobs.


  • Phd University of Western Sydney
  • MEd University of Southern Queensland
  • BEd University of Sydney

Professional Memberships

  • Ausdance (2017)
  • Drama NSW (2017)
  • International Society for Music Education (2018)
  • Australian Society for Music Education (2018 - 2018)
  • AARE (2004)


  • Citation for Excellence in Teaching and Learning 2019-10-31
  • ATLC Citation for Teaching Excellence 2009-09-30
  • ATLC Citation for Teaching Excellence 2011-05-01


  • Assessment
  • Creative Arts Education
  • Creativity
  • Drama Education
  • Initial Teacher Education

Organisational Unit (School / Division)

  • Primary Education


Location: 4.1.16

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Previous Teaching Areas

  • 101585 Primary Creative Arts, 2017
  • 101651 Applied Imagination, 2019
  • 102091 Secondary Curriculum 2B, 2017



  • Jacobs, R. and Poli, K. (2018), 'Big Arts!', : Top Hat Publishing .
  • Jacobs, R. (2013), 'Nice Arts!', : Pearson 9781486010899.

Chapters in Books

  • Jacobs, R. and Milne, C. (2021), 'Art, imagination and the environmental movement', Social Ecology and Education: Transforming Worldviews and Practices, Routledge 9780367471088.
  • Babacan, A., Jacobs, R., Kamp, A., Paradies, Y., Piyarathne, A., Wang, C., Zwi, K., Woodland, L. and Hutton, V. (2021), 'Racism', Multicultural Responsiveness in Counselling and Psychology: Working with Australian Population, Palgrave Macmillan 9783030554262.
  • Jacobs, R. (2019), 'Bill & Ted's assessable adventure : a frame analysis of assessment representations in popular culture through Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure', Teachers and Teaching on Stage and on Screen: Dramatic Depictions, Intellect Books 9781789380675.
  • Jacobs, R. (2018), 'Assessing creativity : four critical issues', Creativity Policy, Partnerships and Practice in Education, Palgrave Macmillan 9783319967240.

Journal Articles

  • Jacobs, R., Finneran, M. and D?Acosta, T. (2022), 'Dancing toward the light in the dark : COVID-19 changes and reflections on normal from Australia, Ireland and Mexico', Arts Education Policy Review, vol 123, no 1 , pp 29 - 38.
  • Naidoo, L., D'warte, J., Gannon, S. and Jacobs, R. (2022), 'Sociality, resilience and agency : how did young Australians experience online learning during Covid-19?', Australian Educational Researcher, vol 49, no 1 , pp 81 - 96.
  • Gannon, S., Jacobs, R. and Tracey, D. (2021), '[In Press] Reducing vocational education inequality for students from refugee backgrounds', International Journal of Inclusive Education, .
  • Gannon, S., Jacobs, R., D'warte, J. and Naidoo, L. (2021), ''But w'rry not we shall banquet again someday' : creativity and socially distanced English', English in Australia, vol 56, no 2 , pp 38 - 48.
  • Jacobs, R. (2020), 'Stories told and performed : a methodology for researching drama assessment in schools', Qualitative Research Journal, vol 20, no 1 , pp 19 - 33.
  • Jacobs, R. (2020), 'Cultural aspects of drama : the effect of Australian drama assessment policy on practice', Arts Education Policy Review, vol 121, no 4 , pp 187 - 200.
  • Jacobs, R. (2019), 'Drama and the culture of challenge', Journal of Queensland Drama Educators, vol 42 , pp 22 - 25.
  • Jacobs, R. (2019), 'Habitus and perceptions : lecturers discuss dance in primary teacher education courses in Queensland, Australia', Journal of Emerging Dance Scholarship, vol 7 .
  • Jacobs, R. (2017), 'Six critical issues in senior secondary drama performance assessment in Australia', NJ: Drama Australia Journal, vol 41, no 2 , pp 127 - 140.
  • Jacobs, R. (2017), 'Assessing the aesthetic : narratives from drama education', Journal of Artistic and Creative Education, vol 11, no 1 , pp 140 - 153.
  • Jacobs, R. (2016), 'Using scripts and stories : illustrating the influences on drama performance assessment', NJ: Drama Australia Journal, vol 40, no 1 , pp 53 - 65.
  • Jacobs, R. (2016), 'Challenges of drama performance assessment', Drama Research, vol 7, no 1 .
  • Sanchez, M. and Jacobs, R. (2016), 'Integrating technology with classroom pedagogy', FACULTY, vol 3, no 2 , pp 3 - 6.
  • Jacobs, R. (2012), 'Assessing the aesthetic : narratives from drama education', Journal of Artistic and Creative Education, vol 6, no 1 , pp 74 - 93.
  • Jacobs, R. (2012), 'Curator and critic : role of the assessor in aesthetic fields', Higher Education Studies, vol 2, no 4 , pp 114 - 125.
  • Jacobs, R. (2011), 'Aesthetic development in higher education : an interdisciplinary dialogue', Practice and Evidence of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, vol 6, no 3 , pp 232 - 248.
  • Jacobs, R. (2010), 'Performance footprints across Australia : assessment in senior secondary drama', NJ: Drama Australia Journal, vol 33, no 2 , pp 45 - 55.
  • Jacobs, R. (2010), 'Movement in liturgical spaces : a delicate dance', Journal of Catholic School Studies, vol 82, no 1 , pp 15 - 24.
  • Jacobs, R. (2009), 'Measuring aesthetic development : a national dialogue', Journal of Artistic and Creative Education, vol 3, no 1 , pp 68 - 85.
  • Jacobs, R. (2008), 'When do we do the Macarena? : habitus and arts learning in primary pre-service education courses', International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning, vol 4, no 5 , pp 58 - 73.

Conference Papers

  • Jacobs, R. (2011), '"How about an creative revolution?" : teachers' experiences of the decline of arts education in the education revolution', Global Conference on Creative Engagements, Oxford, England.
  • Jacobs, R. (2011), 'Aesthetic development in higher education : an interdisciplinary dialogue', International Conference on Education in a Changing Environment, Salford, U.K..
  • Geiger, V., Jacobs, R., Lamb, J. and Mulholland, J. (2009), 'An approach to student-lecturer collaboration in the design of assessment criteria and standards schemes', ATN Assessment Conference, Melbourne, Vic..
  • Jacobs, R. (2009), 'Breaking the surface in arts education', ISATT Conference, Rovaniemi, Finland.
  • Jacobs, R. (2008), 'When do we do the Macarena? : exploring perceptions of the arts within primary education courses', World Dance Alliance Global Summit, Brisbane, Qld..

Other Publications

  • 2021, 'Women, Robots and a Sustainable Generation: Reading Artworks Envisioning Education in 2050 and Beyond', Report
  • 2021, 'Dance for Life: Expressive Arts for Cultural Wellbeing with Young People: Research and Evaluation Report', Report
  • 2019, 'Understanding the Experience and Perceived Impact of the Ready Arrive Work Program', Report

Research interests:

  • Assessment
  • Creative Arts Education (Dance, Drama and Music)
  • Creativity in Education
  • Assessment in the Arts
  • Decolonised and anti-racist approaches to arts education 
  • Arts methods for language acquisition 

This information has been contributed by Doctor Jacobs.

Current Projects

Title: Transitions Drama
  • Scanlon Foundation
Western Researchers: Rachael Jacobs
Years: 2022-02-28 - 2022-12-31
ID: P00027747

Previous Projects

Title: Practice Changing Practice: Leadership Development through Action Research (Phase 1)
  • Metella Road Public School
Western Researchers: Catherine Attard, Rachael Jacobs, Maree Skillen and Annette Sartor
Years: 2019-05-09 - 2020-02-28
ID: P00025722
Title: An Evaluation of the Ready Arrive Work (RAW) Program
  • Department of Education (NSW)
Western Researchers: Susanne Gannon, Danielle Tracey and Rachael Jacobs
Years: 2019-01-01 - 2019-09-30
ID: P00025547
Title: Dance for Life: Expressive arts for cultural wellbeing with young people
  • University of Western Sydney
  • Kulture Break
Western Researchers: Karin Louise and Rachael Jacobs
Years: 2019-11-04 - 2021-06-30
ID: P00026166
Title: Writing in Secondary Academic Partner
  • Department of Education (NSW)
Western Researchers: Kay Carroll, Christina Curry, Erin Mackenzie and Rachael Jacobs
Years: 2021-06-01 - 2022-10-12
ID: P00027304


Current Supervision

Thesis Title: Obstacles to Success in Secondary Education Amongst Students in Southwestern Sydney
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: Understanding Current Causes of Underrepresentation of Non-Western Female Leaders in NSW Educational System
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: The Challenges and the Coping Approchs in Foreign Chinese Teaching
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: The Engagement by Parents of Hazara Ethnicity in Their Children's Learning: A Case Study of Four Tasmanian Secondary Schools
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: Re-Storying Personal Cultural History Through Indigenous Research Methodologies: Reclaiming Our Place in Land, Story and Time
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: The Value of Drama in Engaging 21st Century Learners
Field of Research:

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