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


Job title

Programme Leader: Learning Skills


I am an interdisciplinary academic whose work aligns with the visual arts, sociology, policy, and education fields. I joined Central’s academic faculty in 2013 as a qualified lecturer, and mentor/coach with over fifteen years combined media industry and further and higher education (FHE) sector experience, this included roles such as: 

  • Freelance non-linear video editor for corporate and commercial clients.
  • Consultant film facilitator for the London Boroughs of Haringey and Waltham Forest.
  • Lecturer in Film and Media Studies
  • Post Compulsory Teacher Trainer
  • Higher Education creative arts qualification author
  • Faculty level pedagogic and performance related Mentor/Coach
  • Equality and Inclusion trainer, advocate, and former trustee of SMEF.

I began my career at Central as Pathway Leader for the PGCE Media Studies with additional teaching responsibilities for the PGCE Drama, later moving into management of the Learning Centre which comprised of services for the support of Learning, Disability, and Specific Learning Differences (SpLDs).

My current work at Central includes programme leadership of Learning Skills (which offers informal learning development to Central’s full student body) and teaching Screen Studies on the MA Acting for Screen. In addition to this, I also sit on a number of internal boards and committees and represent the institution on two working groups as part of the University of London Refugee Activities and Initiatives Forum.

I am engaged in a diverse range of roles and activities outside of Central, including: 

  • Co-Director of an Equality, Inclusion, and Diversity training company.  
  • Associate Lecturer at the University of the Arts London
  • Founder of the Social Performance Network in association with the Whitespaces Network
  • Member of:
  • UCL, IOE; Centre for post-14 Education and Work
  • TATE affiliated Digital Maker Collective
  • Association of Learning Development in Higher Education (ALDinHE), Research and Development Working Group
  • Reviewer status with:
  • British Educational Research Association Journal (BERJ) 
  • Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education (JLDHE)
  • National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

My research draws on person centred methodologies that incorporate visual anthropology and narrative approaches to interrogate and reconceptualise societal positioning(s) of the individual and their self-identity formation. I am currently working on a number of projects including a drive towards the decolonisation of the creative arts curriculum and the establishment of the Social Performance Network (SPN), which is connected to the Performing Race curation. SPN aims to work in collaboration with academic and practitioner communities from within the Arts, Humanities, and Social Science disciplines to extend research and open up conversations that interrogate, explore, and reconceptualise socialisation, and its impact on the way we live and formulate our self-identities.

In addition to these projects, I am also working on a number of small research studies that are focused on pedagogic approaches to teaching the screen and educational access and outcomes for students of colour in community and formal educational settings. 


Research Degrees (MPhil/PhD)

Acting for Screen, MA

Teaching Areas

  • Film, Media, and Screen Studies
  • Qualitative Research Methodologies
  • Qualitative Longitudinal Research (QLR)
  • Computer Assisted Data Analysis
  • Learning Development

Areas of Expertise

  • Sociology
  • Film, Media, and Screen Studies
  • Cultural Studies
  • Policy, Practice, and Experience
  • Contemporary Pedagogies
  • Hegemonic Discourses
  • Post Compulsory Education
  • Educational Policy Ecology  
  • Decolonisation
  • Equality and Inclusion
  • Mentoring in Educational Settings

Research Areas

  • Social Performance
  • Desocialisation
  • Self-Identity Formation
  • Social and Policy Ecologies
  • The Screen
  • Creative Arts Pedagogy
  • Policy Enactment  


Outside of academia, I am an engaged artist who uses improvisation and multimodal platforms including spoken word and photography-based art to conceptualise issues of identity and diaspora. 


Shah, J. (2018) ‘Decolonising the Creative Arts Curriculum in White Spaces’, in Progress in Education, (NSP, NY)

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