Staff profile

Ellen Yates

Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood, Programme Leader MA Childhood


Education, Childhood and SEND


College of Arts, Humanities and Education


Institute of Education


Kedleston Road, Derby Campus



I am a senior lecturer in Early Childhood and currently the programme leader for the MA Childhood. I also teach on BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies, where I am the Stage 3 leader.

Teaching responsibilities

I teach a core module, Positioning Childhood, on MA Childhood and two core modules at stage 3 of BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies; the final year research module, Independent Studies; and a practitioner-based module, The Critically Reflective Practitioner. I also teach two undergraduate option modules which reflect my interests: at Stage 2, Emerging Literacies in the Early Years and, at Stage 3, Creative Opportunities and Possibilities.

Professional interests

I am interested in children and young people’s participation and agency through play, creativity and literacy.

Research interests

I have completed research into leadership in the early years looking at how leaders conceptualise their role. As a ceramic artist, I am interested in creativity and have completed research into student creativity and confidence and the place of creativity in early years practice.  I also completed some joint staff/student research on children’s views on play provision, which resulted in the renovation and upgrade of a children's play park in Nottinghamshire.  My most recent  research into children’s meaning-making (how they make sense of life events) culminated in a children's ceramic arts exhibition and presentation at The Museum For All People conference  in Madrid, where the project won an award for Sustainability and Interaction with the Environment. I am planning a further staff /student research project for Jan 2020 with Derby Museum and Art Gallery to increase access to and interaction with the World collection with colleagues.

Membership of professional bodies

I am a fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


Recent conferences

I have recently presented papers at the following events:

Yates, E (2018) Why are there no Great Women Artists? The positioning of women artists within Fine Art and craft.  Paper Presentation. Marion Adnams Symposium.  University of Derby.  7.3.18

Yates, E. & Oates, R. (2018) ‘Children’s views on play provision in two local parks- a joint research project by early childhood studies students and staff presentation at EECERA Conference ‘Early Childhood Education, Families and Communities’  Budapest, Hungary  

A Child’s World International Conference ‘News Shoes, New Directions’  Aberystwyth University, Wales 11-13 July 2018

Yates, E and Szenasi, J (2019) Earth, Water, Air; Engaging the local community in cultural heritage through a children’s ceramic arts exhibition. Poster Presentation at International Congress "The museum for all people: art, accessibility and social integration" Consorcio MUSACCES - Universidad Complutense, Madrid. 3.4.19 - 6.4.19 Presented as an academic poster and won the  award for ‘Sustainability and interaction with the environment’.

Experience in industry

International experience

Additional interests and activities

I am a ceramic artist in my spare time and have had past exhibitions at Derby Museum and Art Gallery; One Step Beyond (2011); Wirksworth Festival (2011); and Royal Derby Hospital, Evolve (2013) and Melbourne Festival Art and Architecture Trail (2019). I work out of a studio in Alvaston, Derby, alongside others and have regular open studio events in November each year.

Recent publications