Professor Chrissi Nerantzi


I joined the university in September 2022 as an Associate Professor in Education, after a varied career as a computer programmer in the Hellenic Navy, teacher of modern foreign languages, translator, teacher educator in Adult, Community and Further Education and academic developer in Higher Education in Greece, Germany and the UK. Since September 2023, I am a Professor in Creative and Open Education.

Before joining the University of Leeds, I worked at Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Salford and the University of Sunderland as an academic developer leading on creative and innovative learning and teaching and teaching excellence. My very first experience working in higher education was in Germany where I taught translation and German language at the Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz in 1996/97.

Later and while working in HE in the UK, I (co-)created and shared openly many open educational resources and initiated and founded with other educators a range of openly licensed cross-institutional professional development opportunities that provide alternative ways for diverse and cross-boundary collaboration and personal and collective growth for academics, other professionals who teach or support learning, students and the public.

Examples are the monthly Teaching and Learning Conversations (TLC) webinars since 2011; the open course Flexible, Distance and Online Learning (FDOL) in 2013 and 2014 that then lead to the open course Flexible, Open and Social Learning (FOS) in 2015; the weekly Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (#LTHEchat) tweetchat since 2014 and the open course and community Creativity for Learning (#creativeHE) since 2015.

I am also the co-founder of the international Creative Academic Network together with Professor Norman Jackson.

I experiment regularly with novel approaches in my teaching and engage in related scholarship and research, including the design of empirical and conceptual pedagogical models and frameworks.

Examples include:

Furthermore, I support colleagues and students to be brave and embrace creative, playful and open approaches that stimulate learning and development in new and exciting ways and help them grow as a professionals and human beings. Storytelling and picture books for example, as well as learning through making, objects and play are areas dear to my heart.

My work and contributions have been recognised nationally and internationally. I am a National Teaching Fellow 2015 by the HEA and the ALT Learning Technologist of the Year Award in 2017. In 2018, I was awarded the Global OER Graduate Network (GO-GN) Award for Best Open Research Practice and in 2020 I received a GOGN Fellowship.

In 2021 the open collaborative picture book project team, I led, received the OEGlobal Open Innovation Award and in 2022 the open #creativeHE community which I founded received a Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence by Advance HE. In 2023 I was awarded the OER Champions Award by the National Teaching Repository.

I am also a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a Certified Member of ALT, a global Advance HE accreditor and an accredited LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® facilitator.

I am a Visiting Professor at the University of Bolton and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Nova Gorica in Slovenia and collaborate with the global UNESCO supported Open Education for a Better World (OE4BW) programme since its inception as a mentor, mentor coordinator and advisory board member.

I also support the National Teaching Repository as a critical friend and am since August 2022, a committee member of the national Teaching Excellence Awards Leads Network and have served as a committee member of the Association of National Teaching Fellows from 2015 to 2020.

I love learning and hold academic qualifications from the Ionian University (my BA Hons. degree is in translation German, Greek, English), University of Sunderland (PgCert, MA), Edinburgh Napier University (MSc and PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University (MA) and the University of Salford (MA).

Outside work, I am a keen crafter, picture book writer and am experimenting with illustration and I enjoy improvised cooking. I have to admit, that some of these activities find their way into my educational practice and scholarly activities.


  • Transformative Educator, Curriculum Redefined (CR) Initiative
  • Senior Lead, Knowledge Equity Network (KEN)
  • Academic Lead, Discover and Explore

Research interests

My research interests are in the area of creativity, playfulness, openness and collaborative learning.

I am a GO-GN alumna and over the years, I have enjoyed working with educators and students in a range of research projects and scholarly activities. My work as an open scholar is well-known nationally and internationally. I regularly give talks, presentations and workshops at conferences, events and institutions both nationally and internationally and collaborate on research projects with colleagues and students across disciplines and institutions that is disseminated in academic publications.

The book The Power of Play in Higher Education, edited by Professor Alison James and I, was the first of its kind when it was published. It includes 44 playful learning contributions from practitioners internationally across disciplines.

During the pandemic I became a member of a global research team led by Dr Christian Stracke, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Germany. The team conducts international studies on the usage, benefits and impact of Open Education during the COVID-19 pandemic in 13 countries across all five continents (example, Stracke et al., 2022).

I was also part of the recent Collaborative Enhancement Project: Differing Perceptions of Quality of Learning of ethnically diverse students. Collaborative partners were the University of Portsmouth (Lead institution), University of Nottingham, Solent University and Manchester Metropolitan University.

The award winning collaborative picture book project “Together” is an output of a GO-GN Fellowship through which the values of open education were explored in a creative arts-based inquiry that makes open education accessible and relevant to a wider audience. In preparation is currently the second edition of the openly licensed LEGO® for university learning book with Professor Alison James.  

In my doctoral studies, I used phenomenography to explore the variations of the lived experience of open learners who were learning collaboratively in open cross-institutional professional development courses. Through this study I discovered new insights into the patterns and nature of collaborative learning and developed an empirical design framework for cross-boundary collaborative open learning.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD in Open cross-boundary collaborative learning, Edinburgh Napier University
  • MSc in Blended and Online Education, Edinburgh Napier University
  • MA in Coaching and Mentoring in Education, Manchester Metropolitan Universisty
  • MA in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, University of Sunderland
  • MA in Creative Writing Innovation and Experimentation, University of Salford

Professional memberships

  • Principal Fellow of HEA (PFHEA)

Student education

Contributing to

  • MA in Digital Education (all modules and supervision)
  • 2023/24 Education in a Digital Society, module leader
  • 2022/23 Creative Inquiry and communication, module leader
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>