Diane Conrad, PhD, MEd, BEd, BFA

Professor, Faculty of Education - Secondary Education Dept

Pronouns: she/her


Professor, Faculty of Education - Secondary Education Dept
(780) 492-5870
442 Education Centre - South
11210 - 87 Ave NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2G5


Area of Study / Keywords

applied theatre drama education "at-risk" youth youth justice arts-based research community-based research


Dr. Diane Conrad is Professor in the Faculty of Education with a focus on Drama/Theatre Education, Applied Theatre, Curriculum Studies, Arts-based Research and Community-based Research. She completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing (Playwriting) at the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor of Education degree at the University of Ottawa with drama as her major teaching subject. Her first teaching experience was as a volunteer with World University Service of Canada in Lesotho, Southern Africa where she spent five years. She taught in the Northwest Territories for three years before coming to Edmonton to do graduate work. She obtained her MEd and PhD at the University of Alberta. She began as a faculty member in the Department of Secondary Education in 2004.

Dr. Conrad teaches undergraduate curriculum and instruction courses in drama education and graduate courses in curriculum studies, arts-based research and participatory research.

Dr. Conrad has published in academic journals in the areas of education, drama/arts education and qualitative research, and regularly presents at conferences locally, nationally and internationally.

Graduate students with an interest in drama education, applied theatre, youth justice, “at-risk” youth, participatory research, arts-based research, curriculum studies, or other areas related to Dr. Conrad’s research are welcome to contact her.

Diane Conrad is Director of the Canada Foundation for Innovation-funded Arts-based Research Studio. The Studio is a state-of-the-art research facility dedicated to the creation and dissemination of arts-based research.


Research Interests

Dr. Conrad uses participatory arts-based methods in her research. Participatory research is a new paradigm approach which focuses on the collective production of knowledge, community dialogue, education for consciousness raising, and mobilizing for action. Her research in youth justice has a strong advocacy component. Arts-based research is an emerging and innovative qualitative method which brings together arts-based practices and scholarly inquiry. Specifically she uses applied theatre, as a participatory and performative pedagogical approach and research method, and performed ethnography or ethnodrama as a way of disseminating her research.

Her SSHRC funded doctoral research involved doing participatory drama with a group of rural Alberta students to explore their experiences around issues they identified as relevant to their lives including experiences deemed “at-risk.” Her research re-framed the concept “at-risk” based on the perspectives of youth.

Her SSHRC funded study The Transformative Potential of Drama in the Education of Incarcerated Youth, with incarcerated youth at a local youth offender facility, won the 2006 SSHRC Aurora Prize and resulted in the writing of a full-length play entitled Athabasca's Going Unmanned.

Her REACH Edmonton/KIAS funded study Youth Uncensored, with iHuman Youth Society, worked with street-involved youth to create drama-based workshops to educate service providers about the youths' experiences towards better meeting their needs.

Her most recent research engagement was a SSHRC funded study: Partnership Development for Researching the Education of Aboriginal Students: A Youth Exchange through Arts & Technology - Stories of Culture, Identity, Community & Place, partnering with three First Nations schools for a curriculum exploration through arts, technology and a youth exchange to enhance education for Indigenous learners.

Her publications include:

Conrad, D. & Wiebe, S. (Eds.) (2022). Educational fabulations: Teaching and learning for a world yet to come. Palgrave.

Conrad, D. & Prendergast, M. (Eds.) (2019). Teachers and teaching on stage and on screen: Dramatic depictions. Intellect Books.

Conrad, D. & Sinner, A. (Eds.) (2015). Creating together: Participatory, community-based and collaborative arts practices and scholarship across Canada. Wilfred Laurier University Press.

Conrad, D. (2012). Athabasca’s going unmanned: An ethnodrama about incarcerated youth. [Social Fictions Series]. Sense Publishers.

Conrad, D. (2022). Engagement, authenticity and advocacy in “Youth Uncensored”: Ethics in applied theatre research with street-involved youth. Qualitative Inquiry. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/10778004221099567

Conrad, D. (2020). Youth participatory action research and applied theatre engagement: Support for Indigenous youth survivance and resurgence. Theatre Research in Canada, 41(2), 258-277. https://doi.org/10.3138/tric.41.2.a04


Undergraduate Courses

For Education Drama Majors in the Advanced & Introductory Professional Term and Drama Minors:

EDSE 322 - Curriculum & Instruction in Secondary Education for Drama Majors I
EDSE 323 - Curriculum & Instruction in Secondary Education for Drama Minors
EDSE 422 – Curriculum & Instruction in Secondary Education for Drama Majors II
EDSE 451 – The Integration of Theory and Practice

Combined Graduate Undergraduate

A study abroad course:

EDSE 401/501; Drama 407/507 - Facilitating Performing Arts for Social Justice

Graduate Courses

EDSE 503 – Curriculum Foundations

EDSE 504 – Curriculum Inquiry

EDSE 612 - Arts-based Research 

EDSE 613 - Participatory Research

Scholarly Activities

Research - Partnership Development for Researching the Education of Aboriginal Students: A Youth Exchange through Arts & Technology - Stories of Culture, Identity, Community & Place

2014 to 2018

This Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada funded study with co-investigator Dr. Dwayne Donald asks: How can partnership development between university researchers, Aboriginal community schools, and organizations that support them for the co-creation of curriculum and knowledge mobilization help nurture the educational experiences and successes of Aboriginal learners?

Youth Xchange

Featured Publications

Diane Conrad

Canadian Journal of Education. 2015 January; 38 (1):1-25

Diane Conrad, Jaime Beck

UNESCO Observatory Multidisciplinary Journal in the Arts. 2015 January; 5 (1):1-26

Diane Conrad

Journal of Contemporary Issues in Education. 2013 January; 8 (3):4-18

Diane Conrad

Theatre Research in Canada. 2007 January; 28 (2):1-10

Diane Conrad

International Journal of Qualitative Methods. 2004 January; 3 (2):Art. 2