Ruth Leitch is Professor of Education and Director of Research in the School of Education, Queen’s University Belfast where she previously held the position of Head of School. Ruth came to higher education from clinical psychology at the height of ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland (NI) where her teacher educator role centred on working with teachers to understand the impact of trauma on children and young people and on encouraging well-being in schooling. Her interest in the arts and creativity took her to the USA where she spent time at Lesley University (Cambridge, MA) and the Carl Rogers Centre (La Jolla, CA). Such experiences influenced her move to narrative and arts-based approaches to research inquiry from her earlier statistical and experimental tendencies and to setting up of the first Masters course in Art Therapy in NI. Her expertise lies in creative methodologies as applied to such areas as pupil voice, impact of trauma and conflict and teacher identity and development. Research rooted in innovative approaches to qualitative research is notoriously difficult to obtain quality funding for and she still engages in funded research using mixed methodology on child poverty and educational achievement. She has been editor to the UK’s leading education journal, the British Educational Research Journal (BERJ), has served two terms on the Executive of the British Educational Research Association (BERA) and is currently the Vice-Chair of Network 5, Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education of the European Educational Research Association (EERA). She has been international chair of awards committees for the Arts-based Education Research (ABER) Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the Canadian Institute of Qualitative Methods. She has recently held visiting professor positions at the universities of Alberta, Canada, and Bergen, and is currently at University College Stord. Norway.
Five Key publications
Leitch, R. & Conroy, J. 2015 Masks as methodology and the phenomenological turn: issues of interpretation. International Handbook of Interpretation in Educational Research Methods. Smeyers, P., Bridges, D., Burbules, N. & Griffiths, M. (eds.). Springer Publications.
Leitch, R. 2010 Voices from the Shadows of Violence Post-Conflict: Using Arts-based Approaches with Pupils and Teachers in Northern Ireland. Post-Conflict Reconstruction. Ferguson, N. (ed.). Cambridge Scholars Publishing, p. 62-84.
Leitch, R. 2010 Masks as self-study. Challenging and sustaining teachers’ personal and professional personae in early–mid career life phases. Teaching and Teachers: Theory and Practice. 16, 3, p. 329-352.
Leitch, R. 2008 Conceptions of Teacher Identity: Creating Self-Boxes as Arts-Based Self-Study, Learning Landscapes. 1(3), p. 145-163.
Leitch, R 2006 Limitations of language: developing arts-based creative narrative in stories of teachers’ identities, Teachers and Teaching, Theory and Practice. 12: 5, 549 -569.