Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.

Dr Elsa Lee

Senior Lecturer
Faculty of Arts, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences
School of Education
Areas of Expertise:
Education and teaching , Education for Sustainability
Research Supervision:
Courses taught:

Elsa works at the nexus of environmental sustainability, education and social justice as a researcher and an educator in Higher Education. She writes, researches and teaches on these questions.

Email: [email protected]


After ten years as a secondary school science teacher in the UK and abroad, Elsa returned to university to study a Master's and Doctorate in Environmental and Sustainability Education. She has led UKRI research projects investigating the links between environmental sustainability, global citizenship, water and education with young adults in international contexts, and the links between the arts, wellbeing and nature in primary schools.

She now uses this research experience as the basis for her undergraduate and postgraduate teaching. She co-ordinates the Environmental Sustainability Education Research Network at EERA and is a trustee and Deputy Executive Director of the National Association of Environmental Education (NAEE).

Research interests
  • Environmental Sustainability Education
  • Place-based learning
  • Education and Environmental Justice
  • Environmental Education and the Arts
Areas of research supervision
  • Higher Education and Environmental Sustainability Education
  • New Materialisms and Environmental Sustainability Education
  • Education and Environmental Justice
  • Faith and Environmental Education
  • SEND and Environmental Education

Elsa currently teaches on the following modules:

  • Primary Pedagogy 1
  • Ruskin Modules: Social Justice in the 21st Century
  • University of Education: BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences (1998)
  • University College London: PGCE Biology (1999)
  • University of Bath: MA Environmental Education (Distinction) (2008)
  • University of Bath: PhD Environmental Education (2013)
Memberships, editorial boards
  • National Association of Environmental Education Journal Executive Editor
Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange
  • 2023: European Education Research Association: Network Development Fund
  • 2023: Sustainable Futures Funding, Anglia Ruskin University
  • 2020: VC Doctoral Scholarship award, Anglia Ruskin University
  • 2019: ESRC New Investigators Grant; Principal Investigator: Connecting Water to Global Citizenship via Education for Sustainable Development
  • 2019: AHRC Eco-capabilities Project Named Research Fellow
  • 2017: AHRC Follow-on-Funding: Named Research Associate: Healthy Waterways: connecting communities locally and globally
  • 2016: EERA Seasonal School Grant (co-funded in kind by Homerton College)
Selected recent publications

Moula, Z., Walshe, N. and Lee, E. (2023) ‘“It was like I was not a person, it was like I was the nature”: The impact of arts-in-nature experiences on the wellbeing of children living in areas of high deprivation’, Journal of Environmental Psychology, 90, p. 102072. doi:10.1016/j.jenvp.2023.102072.

Lee, E. (2022) ‘Does local community action help our sense of global citizenship?’, Futurum Careers [Preprint]. doi:10.33424/FUTURUM238.

Walshe, N., Moula, Z. and Lee, E. (2022) ‘Eco-Capabilities as a Pathway to Wellbeing and Sustainability’, Sustainability, 14(6), p. 3582. doi:10.3390/su14063582.

Lee, E. et al. (2021) Storied doctorates: studying environmental sustainability education internationally. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-67506-6 (Accessed: 5 October 2021).

Lee, E., Vare, P. and Finlayson, A. (2020) ‘The Ebb and Flow of Environmental and Sustainability Education in UK Schools’, in Gough, A., Lee, J.C.-K., and Tsang, E.P.K. (eds) Green Schools Globally. Cham: Springer International Publishing, pp. 365–384. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-46820-0_20.

Walshe, N., Lee, E. and Smith, M.J. (2020) ‘Supporting Children’s Well-being with Art in Nature: Artist Pedagogue Perceptions’, Journal of Education for Sustainable Development, p. 097340822093070. doi:10.1177/0973408220930708.

Bodenhorn, B. and Lee, E. (2021) ‘What Animates Place for Children? A Comparative Analysis’, Anthropology & Education Quarterly, p. aeq.12409. doi:10.1111/aeq.12409.

Irvine, R.D.G. et al. (2019) ‘Learning to See Climate Change: Children’s Perceptions of Environmental Transformation in Mongolia, Mexico, Arctic Alaska, and the United Kingdom’, Current Anthropology, 60(6), pp. 723–740. doi:10.1086/706606.

Recent presentations and conferences
  • EERA, ECER 2023: Network Link Convenor Workshop Leader
  • Panel Member, Invited Speaker, September 2023 – Education and the Environment, Homerton College
  • Panel Member, Invited Speaker, November 2020 – ESD RCE
  • Homerton College, University of Cambridge – Connecting Water to Global Citizenship via Education for Sustainable Development, 2020
  • University of Cape Town – Making Water more Human Workshop, Decolonising Early Childhood Education Reading Group
  • ECER 2019 Poster Presentation Connecting Water to Global Citizenship via ESD