School of Education

Faculty/Staff Profiles

Alison Leonard

Assistant Professor of Arts and Creativity

Office: 409 A Tillman Hall
Phone: 864-656-5117
Vita: Click Here
Personal Website:

Educational Background

Ph.D. Curriculum & Instruction
University of Wisconsin-Madison 2012

M.A. Performance Studies
New York University 2006

B.I.S Anthropology, Dance, & Spanish
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities 2003


Alison Leonard's current research focuses on three areas: 1) engaging middle school students in computer programming through embodied ways of thinking in a project called Virtual Environment Interactions with School of Computing colleagues Dr. Shaundra Daily, Dr. Sophie Jorg, & Dr. Sabarish Babu; 2) examining how whole school arts education models can ignite collaboration and align with democratic education ideals and practices; and 3) exploring student perceptions of the arts and arts spaces with the design, development, and daily use of the new arts education lab in Godfrey Hall.

While working on her PhD at UW-Madison, Alison taught art and design for preservice teachers and worked on the Professional Learning team for the School of Education's Education Outreach and Partnerships Office. She also holds a MA in Performance Studies from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and a Bachelor of Individualized Studies in dance, anthropology, and Spanish from the University of MN-Twin Cities.

Professionally, Alison Leonard has danced with Wild Space Dance Company and performed with various artists and choreographed and performed her own work in MN, WI, NY, Spain, and Peru. She has taught preK-college students in dance as an outreach instructor and artist-in-residence for Wild Space and Danceworks, Inc. in Milwaukee Public Schools and in the theatre departments at Shorewood H.S. in Shorewood, WI and at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI. During her summers, she served as the program and curriculum coordinator and taught for Wild Space Dance Co.'s summer creative arts (dance, drama, & visual art) camp for Milwaukee middle school students.

Leonard, A. E. (2014) Democratic bodies: Exemplary practice and democratic education in a K-5 dance residency. Journal of Dance Education, 14(1).

Leonard, A. E. & Daily, S. B. (2013). The dancing Alice project: Computational & embodied arts research in middle school education., Issue 1, Retrieved from

Leonard, A. E. & McShane-Hellenbrand, K. (2012). K-5 student experiences in a dance residency: A case study.
Journal of Dance Education, 12, 82-86.

Leonard, A. (2010). Becoming ladies and gentlemen...or, something like that: A Critical Examination of Gendered, Social Knowledge in the Film Mad Hot Ballroom. Arts and Learning Research Journal, 26(1), 70-95.

Courses Taught

ED EL 310: Arts in the Elementary School
EDF 974: Emerging Qualitative Research Methods & Design
ED 3970 010: Creative Inquiry

Research Interests

Interdisciplinary arts education
Performance Studies and theories of performativity
Community outreach arts and artist-in-residence programs
Multicultural, social justice, and democratic education
Teacher Education
Dance and Theatre for Youth pedagogy and perspectives


Clemson University School of Education Arts & Creativity Lab
Virtual Environment Interactions (VenvI)
Virtual character designed to spark girls interest in science
The Dancing Alice Project: Computational & Embodied Arts Research in Middle School Education
Choreography Sampler