Claire Garside

Claire Garside


I have over 20 years of experience as a senior teacher, creative technologist and STEM programme manager, and a strong advocate of improving girls’ and women’s opportunities in Computing/Technology. After qualifying as a Technology teacher in secondary education I became a SENCO and senior leader in an 11-18 setting in Leeds. I took a change in career direction with a national role focused on teacher professional development programmes with Ed Tech, during which time a part-time sabbatical research assistant post ignited my passion for academic research into maker education in schools. During 2017 I launched the Foundation for Digital Creativity, with another co-founder who encouraged me to pursue my dream of becoming a PGR - although very different to his PhD experiences. I'm excited to be broadening my professional understanding and educational impact around an inclusive topic threaded through previous teaching roles and current projects.

Research interests

It is widely recognised that a child’s emotional health and well-being influences their cognitive development and learning. My research interests centre on how an approach to project based learning through digital making activities can impact mental well-being of children, as an outcome of a formal curriculum environment, rather than health and wellbeing seen as prerequisites to learning.  

The well-being of school-aged children is beginning to be explored with increasing recognition, particularly with a green paper launched in December 2017 by the Departments for Health and Education: Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision. Creative activity programmes for adults have long since been evident within the context of mental health and there is increasing recognition that the arts have an important role to play in improving the health and well‐being of individuals. However this is less so for research based on programmes with maker activities, engaging young people in education, and a space that I'm keen to fill.