Julie McLeod. Photograph courtesy Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne

Julie McLeod. Photograph courtesy Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne

Julie McLeod is a Professor in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Capability) at the University of Melbourne. She has previously been Deputy Director of the Melbourne Social Equity Institute, former co-editor of the journal Gender and Education (2012-16) and is currently a co-editor of the History of Education Review. Her research is in the history and sociology of education and is guided by a focus on how identities and social possibilities are differentially shaped by school experiences. 

Julie began her career as a secondary school teacher (English and English as a Second Language), following a Bachelor of Arts honours degree (English and History) and a Dip Ed, both at the University of Melbourne. She worked in high schools in the western suburbs of Melbourne and in north and inner London, in language and migrant reception centres, and in adult and community education. During this time Julie began a Masters in Education (curriculum history), followed by a PhD (historical sociology of feminism and education). Her first academic position was in Women’s Studies at Deakin University. Following the award of Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Faculty of Education at Deakin, she worked there until 2007 when she moved to the University of Melbourne.

Julie’s research in the history and sociology of education encompasses curriculum, youth, gender, and processes of inequality and difference. Her work has investigated young people’s pathways through school, their social values and navigation of future roles and identities, citizenship and social inclusion/exclusion, school values and ethics, socio-spatial marginalisation, youth wellbeing, space and materiality of schooling, gender relations and educational reforms to redress inequalities. She has also built a series of historically focussed projects that explore the travelling ideas of educational expertise on adolescence and youth identities, alternative and progressive schooling, memory and oral history of schooling, curriculum projects and citizenship formation, and genealogies of feminism.

Theoretically and methodologically, Julie’s work is characterised less by adherence to specific hero theorists and more by a critical engagement with a range of theoretical debates that help illuminate particular problems and dilemmas. Her intellectual formation has been shaped by feminism and by the poststructural turn evident in Foucauldian and genealogical studies, but not to the exclusion of other theoretical traditions and emerging agendas.

Recent research projects have included the Australian Research Council (ARC) funded Educating the Australian Adolescent, a genealogy of adolescence and citizenship education and Designing Australian Schools, a history of school design and pedagogical innovation.

Julie currently holds an ARC Future Fellowship for the project Youth Identity and Educational Change in Australia since 1950: Digital Archiving, Re-using Qualitative Data and Histories of the Present. This comprises two research strands: a historical study of social science research on youth and educational inequality, and Making Futures, a multi-site qualitative, longitudinal ‘born digital’ study of young people in the senior years of secondary schooling and into the world beyond.


PhD (History & Sociology of Education)
La Trobe University

M Ed (Sociology of Education)
La Trobe University

Dip Ed
University of Melbourne

BA Hons (History & English)
University of Melbourne


Work History

Current Appointments

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Capability)
University of Melbourne

ARC Future Fellow
Youth identity and educational change in Australia since 1950

Melbourne Graduate School of Education
University of Melbourne


Previous Appointments

Interim then Deputy Director
Melbourne Social Equity Institute

Associate Professor
Melbourne Graduate School of Education

Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor
Faculty of Education
Deakin University

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Faculty of Education
Deakin University

Women’s Studies
School of Social Inquiry
Deakin University

Secondary school teacher
Australia & UK


Professional Service & Community Engagement

Julie contributes to the discipline through editorial and peer reviewing, research grant assessing and thesis examination, as well as through leadership and participation in professional associations, and mentoring of doctoral and early career researchers.

Editor of the international journal Gender and Education 2012-2016

Member, Editorial Boards: Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education and Qualitative Research; regular reviewer for numerous international journals and international publishing houses.

She is founding co-convenor of the History and Education SIG of the Australian Association for Research in Education; and actively contributes to AARE and to the Australian and New Zealand History of Education Society. She is a past regional representative of the Gender and Education Association.

In her role as Deputy Director of the Melbourne Social Equity Institute, she leads and contributes to numerous cross-university initiatives, such as the MSEI Doctoral Academy, and collaborations between the university and external and community organisations.



American Education Research Association

Australian Association for Research in Education

Australian & New Zealand History of Education Society

Gender and Education Association

International Standing Committee on the History of Education

Major Funding Support

As both a sole investigator and a member of research teams:

ARC Future Fellowship
Youth identity and educational change in Australia since 1950: digital archiving, re-using qualitative data and histories of the present

Interdisciplinary Seed Funding
University of Melbourne
Gender equity, social transformations and education

Australian Association for Research in Education: Commission
Oral histories of the Australian Association for Education Research: research associations, networks and agendas for change

Dyason Fellowship
University of Melbourne
Innovations in school design and pedagogy: space, learning and educational change

ARC Discovery Grant
Designing Australian schools: a spatial history of innovation, pedagogy and social change

Theodore Fink Education Endowment
Melbourne Graduate School of Education
Citizenship and Education: contemporary challenges

Dyason Fellowship
University of Melbourne
Can schools change society? Transnational perspectives on educational inequality and interventions for change

ARC Discovery Project
Educating the adolescent: an historical study of curriculum, counselling and citizenship in Australia, 1930s – 1970s
With Katie Wright (ARC Postdoctoral Fellowship)

Academy of Social Sciences in Australia
Philanthropy and public culture: The Carnegie Corporation of New York in Australia, workshop grant, with Kate Darian-Smith (University of Melbourne) and Glenda Sluga (University of Sydney)

Establishment of the Australian Social Science Data Archive

Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Research Grant
Disenfranchised youth, class conflict and social change: an international comparative analysis, Partner investigator with lead investigator, Jo-Anne Dillabough (University of British Columbia)

ARC Special Research Initiatives
An educational research alliance for the 21st Century: interconnections between new identities, new technologies and new pedagogies

ARC Discovery Grant
Young women negotiating from the margins of education and work: towards gender justice in educational and youth policies and programs. With Jane Kenway, Alison Mackinnon and Andrea Allard

ARC Large Grant
Transition from school: A qualitative, longitudinally-based study of gender/class identities, school effects and educational pathways. With Lyn Yates (University of Melbourne)

Commonwealth Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs: Research consultancy
Factors influencing the educational performance of males and females in school and their initial destinations after leaving school. With Jane Kenway and Cherry Collins

ARC Large Grant
The 12-18 Educational Research Project