Jo Shah, BA (Hons), MA, PGCE, SFHEA | The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama


Job title

Programme Leader: Learning Skills


An Educationalist with specialisms in Media, Film, and Teacher Education, I have been a part of Central's academic team since 2013. I initially joined Central as Pathway Leader for the PGCE Media Studies and also taught on the PGCE Drama, later moving into management of the Learning Centre which houses three distinct services for the support of Learning Development, Disability, and Specific Learning Differences (SpLDs).

I currently lead and facilitate informal learning development at Central in my role as Programme Leader for Learning Skills, while remaining connected with my disciplines through postgraduate teaching at the School. I also sit on various boards and committees at Central, including the Equality and Diversity Committee and Academic Board. My pedagogical interests and experience connect to themes of situating arts education within the praxis of post-compulsory education policy levers, with a particular emphasis on social stratification in educational settings, learner experience, identity, and academic journeys. These interests are currently formalised in a longitudinal research project and through invited membership of the UCL, IOE; Centre for post-14 Education and Work. Additionally, I maintain links with the broader academic community within the fields of education and learning development in shape of reviewer status for the British Educational Research Association Journal (BERJ) and Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education (JLDHE). Outside of Central, I am an Associate Lecturer at the University of Arts London (UAL), and a member of the UAL Digital Maker Collective and the Association of Learning Development in Higher Education (ALDinHE), Research and Development Working Group.

A qualified lecturer and mentor/coach, before joining Central I taught for over a decade within the FE and HE sectors on various media, film, and teacher training programmes, while also working in various quality assurance and external assessment capacities, in the roles of:

  • Faculty Teaching and Learning Mentor
  • Education and learning/Inclusivity CPD specialist
  • Internal Quality Reviewer (for education and learning)
  • External examiner for the AQA
  • Pearson Education Author (Level 5 HE apprenticeship qualifications)

This was supplemented with consultancy work in the community sectors as an applied film practitioner and facilitator with clients including the London Boroughs of Haringey and Waltham Forest.

Both my professional background and emerging research have evoked an interest in Equalities that has manifested in various ways, including:

  • Membership of the Whitespaces Network, an international, interdisciplinary research network based at the University of Leeds
  • Former trusteeship for Surrey Minority Ethnic Forum, which involved collaborating with Surrey Youth Action and Surrey County Council to launch National Lottery funded initiatives to represent minorities and promote inclusivity in Surrey based public and charity sector organisations.


Research Degrees (MPhil/PhD)

Acting for Screen, MA

Teaching Areas

  • Screen Studies
  • Qualitative Research Methodologies
  • Computer Assisted Data Analysis
  • Learning Development
  • Informal Learning
  • Digital Education

Areas of Expertise

  • Hegemonic Discourses
  • Media and Film Education
  • Policy, Practice, and Experience
  • Contemporary Pedagogies
  • Informal Learning
  • Approaches to Inclusive Education
  • Mentoring in Educational Settings

Research Areas

  • The Visual Arts Learner
  • Post Compulsory Teacher Training
  • Post Compulsory Media Education
  • Academic Experience and Identity
  • Identity Politics
  • Post-14 Education Policy: Levers and Impacts
  • Policy Interplay and Enactment
  • Informal Learning in the Creative Arts 


Prior to teaching, I worked in the media and film industries in various capacities, including as a freelance video editor for corporate and commercial clients. My interests in practical media have continued and currently take shape in occasional directing and editing contributions to short film projects and making photography-based art.


Shah, J. (2017) ‘Informal Learning in a Digital Landscape: A Higher Education Drama Conservatoire Case Study’, in Informal Learning: Perspectives, Challenges, and Opportunities, (Nova Science Publishers)