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Curriculum, Teaching  & Learning
Kathleen Marie Gallagher

Kathleen Marie Gallagher

phone: (416) 978-0160

Department: Curriculum, Teaching and Learning

Research Overview

Kathleen Gallagher is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a Distinguished Professor in the department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, cross-appointed to the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto. Previously, she held two Canada Research Chairs and in 2017 was a winner of the inaugural University of Toronto President's Impact Award for research impact beyond the academy. In 2018 she won the David E. Hunt Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and has garnered over 7 million dollars in SSHRC and other research funding. She has been a Salzburg Seminar Fellow and two of her books have won awards from the American Education Research Association.

Professor Gallagher's research has aimed to make an impact on our understanding of youth and social inequality. Informed by the lived experiences and narratives of youth around the world, her work has had an enormous impact on social and educational policy and professional communities of practice in Canada and around the globe. She is committed to community-engaged research. Her research on how experiences of marginalization inform youth engagement with school and in society at large has provided policy and practice direction to a wide range of professional, practitioner, policy, governmental and non-governmental organizations and communities. Her use of theatre as a powerful medium for expression by young people and as a vehicle for representing their experiences and understandings to a broad public is both creative and profound. By mobilizing her youth-driven research knowledge through theatre's affective domain, Professor Gallagher has brought this work to a broader public in Canada and internationally to extend its reach well beyond the academy, advancing the methodological and pedagogical possibilities of theatre and opening up the question of who research is for.

Curriculum Vitae

Academic History

Ph.D "Drama and Self-Construction in a Single-Sex School for Girls". CTL, OISE, University of Toronto, 1998
M.Ed. "Arts Education: The Living Curriculum". CTL, OISE, University of Toronto, 1995
B.Ed. Faculty of Education, Intermediate/Senior Division, Dramatic Arts and French, University of Toronto, 1989
B.A.(Honours) French Literature, University of Toronto, St. Michael's College, 1988
OCT Ontario Teachers' Certificate. Ontario College of Teachers. Intermediate/Senior Division (Dramatic Arts, French), 1989
ARCT Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Canada (Piano), 1988

Teaching Overview

Dr. Gallagher teaches graduate courses, specializing in applied theatre, pedagogy, urban school research, school-based ethnographic research, anti-discriminatory education policy and practice, gender and identity construction. Her graduate courses include "Applied Theatre and Performance in Sites of Learning"; "Qualitative Methodology: Challenges and Innovations" and "Creative Practice and Research: Using Performative Methods in Social Science Inquiry"

Representative Publications

See for details of publications and audio-visual research outputs

Refereed Books

Gallagher, K. (in progress). Youth Practicing Hope in a Collapsing World: Listening Better with Theatre. University of Toronto Press.

Gallagher, K, Rodricks, D.J., & Jacobson, K. (Eds.). (2020). Global Youth Citizenry and Radical Hope: Enacting Community-Engaged Research through Performative Methodologies. Springer Series on Children and Young People.

Gallagher, K. (Ed.) (2018). The methodological dilemma revisited: Creative, critical and collaborative approaches to qualitative research for a new era. New York, London: Routledge.

Gallagher, K., & B. Freeman (Eds.) (2016). In Defence of Theatre: Aesthetic Practices and Social Interventions. Toronto, Buffalo, London: University of Toronto Press. (316 pages).

Gallagher, K. (2014) Why Theatre Matters: Urban Youth, Engagement, and a Pedagogy of the Real. Toronto, Buffalo, London: University of Toronto Press. (295 pages)

Gallagher, K. and Neelands, J. (eds.) (2013). Drama and Theatre in Urban Contexts. London: Routledge. (165 pages)

Gallagher, K. (Ed.). (2008). The Methodological Dilemma: Creative, Critical and Collaborative Approaches to Qualitative Research. New York and London: RoutledgeFalmer. (260 pages)

Gallagher, K. (2007). The Theatre of Urban: Youth and Schooling in Dangerous Times. Toronto, Buffalo, London: University of Toronto Press. (222 pages)

Gallagher, K and D. Booth (eds.) (2003) How Theatre Educates: Convergences and Counterpoints with Artists, Scholars and Advocates. Toronto, Buffalo, London: University of Toronto Press. (282 pages)

Gallagher, K. (2000). Drama Education in the Lives of Girls: Imagining Possibilities. Toronto, Buffalo, London: University of Toronto Press. (155 pages)

Book Chapters (most recent)

Gallagher, K. & Turner-King, R. (2020). Performing a living museum of memories: beholding young people’s experiences and expressions of care through documentary theatre-making and oral history performance. In A. S. Fisher, & J. Thompson (Eds.) Performing Care: New Perspectives on Socially-Engaged Performance.  (pp. 139-155).

Gallagher, K. (2020). Art, Collaboration, and Youth Research in a Collapsing World: Conceiving and Enacting a Multi-Vocal Research Project in the Borderland of the Real and the Imagined. In Gallagher, K, Rodricks, D.J., & Jacobson, K. (Eds.). Global Youth Citizenry and Radical Hope: Enacting Community-Engaged Research through Performative Methodologies. Springer Series on Children and Young People (pp. 23-45).

Gallagher, K., J. Rodricks and K. Jacobson (2020). A Situated, Ethical, Imaginative Doing and Being in the Encounter of Research. In Gallagher, K, Rodricks, D.J., & Jacobson, K. (Eds.). Global Youth Citizenry and Radical Hope: Enacting Community-Engaged Research through Performative Methodologies. Springer Series on Children and Young People (pp. 1-20)

Gallagher, K. & Wessels, A. (2019). Staying the course and 'here to question': Envisioning education at Tarragon Theatre as an integral goal and a reciprocal practice. In M. Anderson, & M. Finneran (Eds.), Education and theatres: Innovation, outreach and success (pp. 25-38). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

Gallagher, K., Cardwell, N., & Rodricks, D.J. (2018). An ecology of care:  Relationships and responsibility through the constitutive and creative acts of oral history theatre-making in local communities shouldering global crises. In A. Harris, P. Thomson, & K. Snepvangers (Eds.), Creativity education: Policies, partnerships and ecologies (pp.307-329). London, New York: Palgrave-Macmillan.

Gallagher, K & Mealey, S. (2018). Staging Our Selves: Towards a theory of relationality, possibility, and creative youth selfhood. In S. Burgoyne (Ed.), Creativity in theatre: Theory and action in theatre/drama education (pp. 133-152). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

Refereed Journal Articles (most recent)

Gallagher, K. & Sahni, U. (2019). Picturing care: Re-imagining gender, personhood, and educational justice. Gender and Education. DOI: 10.1080/09540253.2019.1609652

Rodricks, D.J., Gallagher, K., Fusco, C., De Lissio, A., Di Carlo, D., Haag, J., Wortley, S., & McCready, L. (2018). A Review of Urban Youth Policy 1960s-2010sResearch Paper Series, 243, 1-77.

Gallagher, K., Jacobson, K., & Mealey, S. (2018).  Accuracy and ethics, feelings and failures: Youth experimenting with documentary practices of performing reality. Theatre Research in Canada. 39(1): 58-76.

Gallagher, K. (2018). A reconsideration of social innovation: Drama pedagogies and youth perspectives on creative and social relations in Canadian schooling. Canadian Journal of Education, 41(1): 1-24.

Gallagher, K., & Jacobson, K. (2018). Beyond mimesis to an assemblage of reals in the drama classroom: Which reals? Which representational aesthetics? What theatre-building practices? Whose truths? Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, 23(1), 40-55.

Gallagher, K. & Rodricks, D.J. (2017). Hope despite hopelessness: Race, gender and the pedagogies of drama/applied theatre in precarious times. Youth Theatre Journal, 31(2), 114-128.

Gallagher, K. (2017). The gendered labour of social innovation: Theatre, pedagogy, and the girl-child in India. Review of Education, Pedagogy and Cultural Studies, 39(5), 470-485.

Gallagher, K. & Rodricks, D.J. (2017). Performing to understand: Cultural wealth, precarity, and shelter-dwelling youth. Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance. Special Issue, 22(2), 7-21.

Gallagher, K., Starkman, R., & Rhoades, R. (2017). Performing counter-narratives and mining creative resilience: Using applied theatre to theorize notions of youth resilience. Journal of Youth Studies, 20(2), 216-233.







Research Grants and Contracts

Dr. Gallagher's SSHRC-funded five-year study, Youth, Theatre, Radical Hope and the Ethical Imaginary: an intercultural investigation of drama pedagogy, performance and civic engagement (2014-2019) revealed profound connections between the practice of drama in the classroom and the capacity of youth to develop 'care' by learning in relation to one another, in intellectual and embodied ways. Results showed that youth agency is mined relationally, and that knowledge that is generated collectively is particularly significant in the cultivation of an ethics of care.

A Partnership Engage Grant allowed the team to undertake audience research on the Verbatim play produced by Andrew Kushnir from the data from her research. This research was interested in how audiences received the play and theatre's role in activating social commentary.

Building upon these findings, Dr. Gallagher's new SSHRC-funded five-year study, Global Youth (Digital) Citizen-Artists and their Publics: Performing for Socio-Ecological Justice (2019-2024), will orient this ethics of care to the environment/social nexus to explore whether the experiences of 'learning-in-relation,' relationality, and deep listening that emerge in collective theatre-making can also help young people understand the mutual imbrication of the environment, society, and culture at a time of ecological and socio-political polarization. This study will be situated in England, Canada, Greece, India, Taiwan, and Colombia.

Over the last seven years, Dr. Gallagher has served in her role as a co-investigator in the Neighbourhood Change Research Partnership, which focuses on the consequences of socio-spatial inequality in metropolitan areas throughout Canada. Dr. Gallagher's study focused on a particular vulnerable population, youth in shelters with a participatory and community-based approach. The team engaged the shelter youth population in critical reflection on aspects of income аnd social inequality that have shaped the educational, work-related and social dimensions of their lives through theatre workshops. The two lead partner organizations were Project: Humanity, a not for profit organization that raises awareness about social issues through the arts and that had worked for several years with Youth Without Shelter, an emergency shelter for homeless youth ages 16-24, located in Jamestown/Rexdale. Under this same grant, she is beginning a new project entitled, Youth Perceptions of Violence, Safety, and Schooling in One Gentrifying Neighbourhood in Toronto.

In 2013, Dr. Gallagher completed the SSHRC-funded 5-year study titled Urban School Performances: The interplay, through live and digital drama, of local-global knowledge about student engagement. This multi-site hypermedia ethnographic study examined both the cultural and everyday performances (of student/school life) and the artistic performances created by youth in the particular context of the urban drama classroom. Its digital media methods were supported by a Canada Fund for Innovation infrastructure grant. Qualitatively, the research addressed questions of subjectivity, space, pedagogy, theatre, and achievement in diverse urban contexts. This work built on a previous study of schools in Toronto and New York city, published in the book The Theatre of Urban: Youth and Schooling in Dangerous Times (University of Toronto Press, 2007) in which school safety and security issues came to the fore in post 9/11 school cultures.

Dr. Gallagher was also under contract with the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario and has recently completed a 2 year project titled, Using Applied Theatre to Change School Culture: An Impact Evaluation and Sustainability Study of ETFO's Poverty and Education Project. This research evaluated a program implemented by the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario that was designed to: generate awareness among teachers about the effects of poverty in students' academic outcomes; facilitate dialogue among teachers and students about these issues; and encourage teachers to get involved in specific programmatic and pedagogical strategies that might mitigate the effects of poverty on their students' well-being and school performance. Unique about this project is that the Federation chose a theatre-based approach to provide professional development to its members.

Honours and Awards

2019 Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada
2018 David E. Hunt Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching
2017 University of Toronto President's Impact
2017 Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Playwrights' Colony Fellowship Award 2017. Research dramaturg with playwright Andrew Kushnir.
2016 UofT Alumni Award for Innovation and Contemporary Work in Drama and Education
2015/16 Selected as the University of Toronto's 2015 and 2016 nominee for the SSHRC Connection Impact Award

In 2019, Dr. Gallagher was inducted into the Academy of Social Science becoming a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. In 2015 (renewed in 2020) Dr. Gallagher was awarded the Distinguished Professor award at the University of Toronto, a title reserved for faculty achieving the highest level of accomplishment in their field. In 2004, Dr. Gallagher was awarded a Canada Research Chair, titled: Theatre, Youth, and Research in Urban Schools. and renewed for a second 5 year term in 2010. She was the recipient of the 2010 CRC lecture award for the Canadian Association for Women's Studies. In 2018, she was also the recipient of the Leithwood Award for Graduate Teaching and two Initial Teacher Education Awards in 1999 and 2004; the Salzburg Seminar Fellowship, Kellogg Fellowship: Leadership Across Cultural Boundaries and Geographic Borders, convened at Schloss Leopoldskron, Salzburg, Austria, 2003; the Outstanding Books In Curriculum Studies Award, Division B of the American Education Research Association, presented in Seattle, Washington, 2001 for her book Drama Education in the Lives of Girls: Imagining Possibilities, and her book The Theatre of Urban: Youth and Schooling in Dangerous Times was a finalist in the Outstanding Book competition in 2007; The Barbara McIntyre Distinguished Research Award, awarded at the Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, 2000; the American Alliance for Theatre and Education Most Distinguished Dissertation Research Award, 1999.

Professional Activities

Keynote Addresses (most recent):
(2019, Nov 19). Towards a Radical Hope: Youth Negotiating Global Worlds and Micro-Ecologies. Ottawa Children Writers' Festival. Carleton University. Ottawa, Ontario.
(2019, Nov 6). Convocation Speaker. School of Graduate Studies. University of Toronto.
(2019, June 22). Stratford Festival. Dream it, Be it. Livestreamed Meaghan Panel Event on barriers to arts education and gender.
(2018, May 15). Swimming against the current. Keynote address at the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education - Rseau Canadien pour L'innovation en ducation conference. Centre for Academic Excellence. Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario.
(2018, January). Theatre as a language of care. Drama in Education & Applied Theatre Symposium: The State of Our Art, Brock University.
(2016, June 28). Searching for 'radical hope' in the city. "Connecting Coventry 2016: Creating local and global collaborations across the city." University of Warwick, Coventry England.

Invited Lectures: (most recent)
(2020, March 9). Radical Hope, Care, and a Global Youth Citizenry. King's College London. Co-presented by the department of Culture, Media and Creative Industries, The Centre for Public Policy, and the School of Education, Communication and Society.
(2020, March 11). Radical Hope and Youth Citizenry: Reflections on ethnography, Community- Engaged Research and Applied Performance. Warwick University. Coventry, England.
(2019, November 24). How will you hear me?: global youth speak out. Special Invited Presentation to the Royal Society of Canada. Academy of the Social Sciences.
(2018, September 5). The anthropology of bias. Stratford Theatre Forum Event. Avon Theatre. Stratford, Canada.
(2018, March 28). Digital girlhood. Tarragon Theatre. Toronto, Canada.
(2017, March 17). Youth, theatre, radical hope and the ethical imaginary. Aristotelian University, Thessaloniki Greece.

Plenary Addresses (most recent)
(2019, October 16). Stratford Festival. Gender Bias in the Arts. Plenary Session, The Meighen Forum Event. This talk was also aired on CBC IDEAS with Paul Kennedy.
(2017, October 13). Stratford Festival. Diversifying Shakespeare. Stratford Directors and Actors for Ontario Teachers

Other Information

In March 2019, the documentary play Towards Youth: a play on radical hope, created by Andrew Kushnir from her Radical Hope project's research data, was co-produced at Toronto's Crow's Theatre reaching 5000 patrons (adult and youth) and receiving critical acclaim. The production was reviewed by Canada's mainstream and alternative media outlets and spawned further audience research into theatre's strengths as a form of research knowledge translation.

Since 2009, she has collaborated with the award-winning theatre company Project: Humanity. In her SSHRC-funded partnership sub-grant, The Temporary Neighbourhoods of Homeless Youth in Shelters 2013-2015, she worked with four members of the company to carry out drama workshops at Youth Without Shelter, to research and better understand their experiences of living in the shelter and working towards completing a high school diploma or gaining employment.

Gallagher works closely with other theatres including: Tarragon Theatre, Young People's Theatre and Stratford Festival Theatre.

Under her leadership at the Centre for Urban Schooling, a team of 7 researchers examined, through a multi-case study approach, the Model Schools for Inner Cities TDSB initiative. This study, titled Putting Inner City Students First: A university-school-community partnership, funded by the Council of Ontario Directors of Education, has produced digital outputs for teacher education candidates who aim to better understand the unique challenges of teaching in underserved urban schools. A report of this study has been published in Rolheiser, C., Evans, M. & Gambhir, M. Inquiry into practice (2011).

Gallagher works collaboratively with an international research network, artists and teacher collaborators who are interested in studying forms of youth civic engagement and artistic practice.