About the Project

Arts Beyond Borders provides educators with research-based classroom resources to engage young people in global issues through the arts. It is an initiative started by a group of educational scholars and practitioners in Aotearoa New Zealand concerned with the narrowing of the school curriculum at a time when the values of global citizenship are most needed.


We feel an urgent need to:


Foster global citizenship in a (post) Covid world in which nationalism, authoritarianism and social inequalities are on the rise.

Take our students beyond ideas of the ‘rational citizen’ found in books and explore the possibilities for genuine connection across boundaries offered by embodied, arts-based pedagogies.

Develop arts-based global citizenship education proposals that include indigenous and migrant perspectives.

About Us

We are a group of educational scholars and practitioners in Aotearoa New Zealand who want to help students connect personally, through embodied arts practices, with the local and global issues that confront them in the media, at home and at school. Using their imaginations to examine, observe, explore, reflect upon and understand the causes and outcomes of these issues, young people can take action as global citizens.

Dr Marta Estellés

Project Leader

Dr Marta Estellés is a Research Fellow at The Faculty of Education and Social Work, The University of Auckland. She has devoted her career, both as a teacher and researcher, to citizenship education. In this field, Dr Estellés has critically examined curriculum policies, teacher education programmes and young people’s experiences of participation in different countries. For her, Arts Beyond Borders represents a fascinating opportunity to engage teachers and students in critical conversations about our place in the world.

Prof Peter O'Connor

Professor Peter O’Connor is the Director of the Centre for Arts and Social Transformation at the Faculty of Education and Social Work, the University of Auckland.  Peter is an internationally recognised expert in making and researching applied theatre and drama education. He has made theatre in prisons, psychiatric hospitals, earthquake zones and with the homeless. He led the creation of Te Rito Toi, an online resource to support the return to school by children post-disaster. Peter’s most recent research includes multi and interdisciplinary studies on the creative pedagogies and the arts, the nature of embodied learning and the pedagogy of surprise.

Dr Jacoba Matapo

Dr Jacoba Matapo is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. She is the Associate Dean Pasifika at the Faculty of Education and Social Work. She teaches and researches in early childhood education and Pasifika education with a particular focus in Pacific Indigenous philosophy, Pacific arts practice, and posthuman theory.

Dr Maria Perreau

Dr Maria Perreau is the National Kaiārahi for the Aotearoa Social Studies Educators’ Network (ASSEN). In this role, Maria supports and develops best practice resourcing and teaching of social studies around the country, across primary, intermediate, and secondary levels. Maria is committed to creating opportunities for young people to participate and contribute to their communities. She believes that this means making space for them to be listened to and empowering them to be more fully involved in our democracy. Using arts based education for social justice is a powerful way to achieve this.

Dr Moema Gregorzewski

Moema Gregorzewski is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Arts and Social Transformation, Waipapa Taumata Rau The University of Auckland, and an Applied Theatre practitioner at the Applied Theatre Company working in Intermediate Schools across Aotearoa New Zealand.

Holly Bodman

Holly Bodman is a social justice educator who has taught for more than 10 years at secondary and tertiary levels. She spends about half of her time running a senior social studies programme about local and global social movements at her community high school, and the rest of her time coaching teachers. Holly’s interests include citizenship education, decolonising curriculum and teacher education. She has a master of arts degree with first class honours and a postgraduate diploma in teaching from the University of Auckland.

Christa Napier-Robertson

Christa Napier-Robertson has taught at primary and secondary levels for 15 years. Within this she has been a general classroom teacher, a visual arts specialist, and for 8 years led formal education programming at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. She currently works for The Centre for Arts and Social Transformation at The University of Auckland as a research assistant, and is concurrently studying towards a Masters of Social and Community Leadership.

Alejandra Jaramillo-Aristizabal

Alejandra Jaramillo-Aristizabal is an educator and researcher born in Medellín, Colombia. With an interdisciplinary background on philosophy, dance, anthropology, and education, one of her main interests is on decoloniality. The aim of her work is challenging and undoing the race/gender/age hierarchies that constitute the colonial matrix. For this reason, she engages in learning with grassroots movements (youth-led groups, climate action initiatives, indigenous struggles) paying attention to how they contest those hierarchies and imagine/embody alternative worlds.

Noah Romero

Noah Romero’s research uses equity-driven frameworks to examine how historically minoritized people redefine learning and identity within subcultural contexts. Using mixed and decolonizing methodologies, Noah explores Indigenous, immigrant, and queer punk scenes, skate cultures, and alternative education movements in settler societies to show how decolonization emerges out of commitments to autonomy, responsibility, and relationality.

Alicia Poroa

Ko Waikato/Tainui te iwi,

Ko Ngāti te Aata raua ko Ngāti Tīpa ōku hāpu.

No Tuakau ahau

Ko Alicia Poroa tāku ingoa

Alicia Poroa has been an educationalist for over twenty years and has worked in a variety of teaching and leading roles.  She has three gorgeous children all of whom have had a primary school education that is based on democratic, human centred education principles.  She is an executive member of the NEX organisation Aotearoa Social Studies Educators Network and has a passion for supporting young people to think, act and design with empathy, understanding and awareness to be highly participatory in positive change for creating their futures. She loves to walk hills, hear the birds sing and watch the ocean lap against the shore. Te Taiao (the outdoor natural environment) is her favourite place to be.

Tahnee Vo

Tahnee is the Centre Manager for Centre for Arts and Social Transformation (CAST) at the University of Auckland. Alongside Professor Peter O’Connor and the team at CAST, Tahnee manages a variety of research projects and alliances for the Centre which focus on the importance of the arts and creativity for social transformation.

Arts Beyond Borders is presented by

Arts Beyond Borders thanks their supporters