New Head of School to promote role of the arts and media at UNSW

29 Jan 2019

Award-winning university researcher and teacher, Professor Michael Balfour will join UNSW as Head of School of Arts & Media (SAM) in May.


Professor Balfour joins UNSW from Griffith University where he is currently Deputy Head of School for Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences.

Professor Balfour began his career at the Theatre in Prisons and Probation (TIPP) Centre at the University of Manchester, one of the UK’s longest running arts organisations specialising in applied theatre.

The social applications of theatre and performance continues to be the focus of Professor Balfour’s research. He has worked with a diverse range of communities from returning veterans, to newly arrived refugees, and people living with dementia. His current focus is on how virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) can be used to creatively engage children with life-limiting conditions in hospitals and hospices.

The idea that everyone can learn from the arts has been formative in Professor Balfour’s approach to teaching and learning.

“Education for me is really important, it’s one of the key points in people's lives in terms of defining the foundations of their vision and where they're going with the rest of their lives,” he says.

At UNSW, Professor Balfour is committed to supporting the existing research and teaching strengths in SAM, while working with staff and students to explore new opportunities.

“It’s a privilege to be joining UNSW School of Arts & Media at such an exciting time for the School and the University.”