Dr Elsa Lee


College position:

Director of Studies for Education (Years 2 & 3 Education, Policy and Int. Development and Year 3 Education, Psychology and Learning)

Dr Elsa Lee
Dr Elsa Lee

Elsa Lee is an educationalist with an interdisciplinary approach centered on environmental sustainability education and place-based learning. She spent ten years teaching science at secondary schools in the UK and Mexico before returning to university for further study. Since completing her doctorate at the University of Bath in 2013 she has worked alongside anthropologists and sociologists on a number of United Kingdom research council funded research projects seeking to understand human relationships with/in the natural world and their behaviour towards the environment and how this intersects with education and society. Elsa has used ethnographic research techniques widely in her work in Global North and South contexts, including walking interviews and arts-based research methods. 

She is currently the Principal Investigator on a research project funded by the ESRC: Connecting Water to Global Citizenship via Education for Sustainable Development (CW2GC).  She is also working on an AHRC funded research study entitled Eco-Capabilities.  Elsa’s teaching at undergraduate and masters level brings together these different foci to support students’ explorations of sustainability-related work in Education. Elsa is the link-convenor of the Environmental and Sustainability Education Research Network for the European Conference on Educational Research and a trustee of the charity: National Association of Environmental Education. She currently holds part time research posts at both the University of Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin University alongside a bye-fellowship and a tutor role for PGCE students at Homerton College. Recent publications include: Lee, E., Vare, P. and Finlayson, A. (2020) The Ebb and Flow of ESD in the UK. In GREEN SCHOOLS GLOBALLY: Stories of impact on education for sustainable. (2020). SPRINGER NATURE. Bodenhorn. B and E. Lee (accepted) What animates place for children:  A comparative analysis. Journal of Anthropology and Education.  Irvine, R. D. G., & Lee, E. (2018). Over and under: Children navigating terrain in the East Anglian fenlands. Children’s Geographies, 16(4), 380–392. https://doi.org/10.1080/14733285.2017.1344768.

Research Interests

Environmental Education, Place, Education for Sustainable Development, Intergenerational Learning, Eco-Clubs

Current Research Projects: 

AHRC Pathways to Understanding the Changing Climate: time and place in cultural learning about the environment http://www.cire.group.cam.ac.uk/PathwaysProject

Teaching And Professional Interests

Environmental Education


URS University of Bath PhD Scholarship

Links to online publications, articles or other work


Irvine, R. D. G., Bodenhorn, B., Lee, E., & Amarbayasgalan, D. (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), 723–740. https://doi.org/10.1086/706606

Irvine, R. D. G., & Lee, E. (2018). Over and under: Children navigating terrain in the East Anglian fenlands. Children’s Geographies, 16(4), 380–392. https://doi.org/10.1080/14733285.2017.1344768

Irvine, R. D., Lee, E., Strubel, M., & Bodenhorn, B. (2016). Exclusion and reappropriation: Experiences of contemporary enclosure among children in three East Anglian schools. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 34(5), 935–953. https://doi.org/10.1177/0263775816641945

Lee, E., Blackmore, C., & Seal, E. (2013a). Research journeys: A collection of narratives of the doctoral experience. Cambridge Scholars Pub. http://site.ebrary.com/id/10828295

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

Lee, E., Walshe, N., Sapsed, R., & Holland, J. (2018). Artists as Emplaced Pedagogues: How Does Thinking About Children’s Nature Relations Influence Pedagogy? In R. Latiner Raby & E. J. Valeau (Eds.), Handbook of ChildhoodNature Research. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-51949-4_78-1

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


Barratt Hacking, E., Scott, W. and Lee, E., (2010) Evidence of Impact of Sustainable Schools. Other. Department for Children, Schools and Families  (DCSF).

Forthcoming Publications:

Lee, E.U. (forthcoming) Analysis through Action Competence: deconstructing and reconstructing the theory; Environmental Education Research

Lee, E.U. (forthcoming) The Eco-Club: a space to both be and become an active citizen.  Environmental Education Research