Professor Ross W. Prior

Professor of Learning and Teaching in the Arts in Higher Education

Ross Prior
Email address: Phone number: 01902 321000 Location: The Performance Hub, WH339 Faculty: Faculty of Arts School/Institute: - Wolverhampton School of Art- School of Humanities- School of Media- School of Performing Arts Areas of expertise: Pedagogy, andragogy, drama, theatre, applied arts, health, arts education, knowledge types, actor training


Professor Prior, PhD is a teacher, author, researcher with a background as a professional performer, producer, director, and casting/theatrical agent. He is Professor of Learning and Teaching in the Arts in Higher Education and is based in the Faculty of Arts. He is best known for his book Teaching Actors: knowledge transfer in actor training (Intellect & University of Chicago Press) and his work in applied arts and health, particularly as the Founder and continuing Principal Editor of the Journal of Applied Arts and Health (JAAH).

He has held a range of posts throughout his career both within the theatrical profession and education, having taught at all levels of education for many years. In 2007 he was awarded a University Teaching Fellowship at the University of Northampton where he established a rigorous actor training degree and led Acting and Drama for a number of years. During his 10 years at Northampton he held a range of administrative and research posts including Acting Associate Dean, Subject Leader, Reader and Associate Professor. 

Educated in Australia, Professor Prior holds a PhD from Griffith University where he studied and worked in the Centre for Applied Theatre Research which was one of the first centres of its kind in the world. Whilst at Griffith University he was a PhD scholarship holder and was also awarded a travel scholarship to further study actor training in the United Kingdom. He began his studies at Deakin University [formerly Rusden] (BEd), and The University of Melbourne (MEd - Arts Education). He completed a course in Directing at the National Institute for Dramatic Art (NIDA) in Sydney. He also studied Voice Production and Radio at the Australian College of Entertainers. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health and Member of the Australian College of Educators (MACE).

Professor Prior is a consultant to drama schools and has been involved in several significant government studies into actor training and arts provision in England, funded by the Learning & Skills Council (LSC) and the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) respectively. As an active researcher he explores a range of issues relating to learning and teaching in the Arts. He supervises a number of PhD students, and has authored and edited books, papers, articles, evaluation reports and is an internationally known figure presenting his research and keynote speaking both nationally and abroad.

Research interests

Professor Prior’s areas of research interest are connected to the ways in which we learn and how we teach and come to know our teaching; this includes, drama, theatre, applied arts and health, arts education, applied drama and theatre, drama in education, and knowledge types.

  • Peer Reviews undertaken for a number of book publishers and journals,
  • Registered European Commission Independent Expert (Funding Review Panel Member),
  • Contributed to REF 2014 submission,
  • Doctoral supervisor,
  • PhD External Examiner across a number of countries.

Membership of professional bodies

  • Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health,
  • Member Australian College of Educators,
  • Registered European Commission Independent Expert (Funding Review Panel Member),
  • International Advisory Board Member for the Institute Arts and Health (IAH), Lesley University, USA,
  • Advisory Board Member International Health Humanities Network – AHRC funded.


  • PhD (Griffith University),
  • MEd (Arts Education) (The University of Melbourne),
  • BEd (Deakin University, formerly Rusden),
  • PGCert Research Degree Supervision (University of Northampton).


Prior’s publications can be viewed at:

Experience in industry

Professor Prior has an extensive practical career in the theatrical profession from an early age. He has worked as a professional performer, particularly on stage and television as an Award-winning magician and as puppeteer/marionettist. He was originally mentored in magic by respected veteran Australian illusionist and magician Gerald Taylor MIMC. He also studied the art of animism with master puppeteer Philippe Genty (France). 

He has a professional career as a theatrical producer, director and casting/theatrical agent. His extensive involvement across the entertainment industry has afforded him a unique understanding of the business and one which he has been able to share with students who are starting out in their own careers.

Further information

Professor Prior is currently External Examiner for BA (Hons) Acting at Arts University Bournemouth, UK.