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Dr. Erika Caterina Piazzoli
Assistant Professor, Education


I joined Trinity College Dublin in September 2015 as an Assistant Professor in Arts Education. Currently I serve as Global Relations Director and International/Erasmus Student Coordinator (School of Education) and Civic Engagement Faculty Representative.

I teach on the Drama in Education and Language Education Master in Education (M.Ed) programmes and supervise a number of Master and PhD students. I also teach Drama and Arts in Education within the Professional Master of Education (PME), a professional qualification designed for those who wish to work as post-primary teachers in Ireland.

In my book 'Embodying Language in Action: The Artistry of Process Drama in Second Language Education' (Palgrave/Springer, 2018) I discuss 10 years of practitioner research.

My research interests are within the areas of drama in education; embodiment and aesthetic learning; applied linguistics; performative language pedagogy and research. I am Principal Investigator of research project Lacunae: Embodying the Untranslatable and Sorgente: Engaging asylum seekers, refugees and their teachers in performative language pedagogy. The Sorgente project recently featured as part of the Change Makers documentary series (episode 6) on Irish National Broadcaster RTE 1.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

The Elements of Drama in Second Language Education: An Intercultural Perspective in, editor(s)Mary McAvoy, Peter O'Connor , The Routledge Companion to Drama in Education, Abingdon, Oxon, Routledge, 2022, pp391 - 407, [Erika Piazzoli] Book Chapter, 2022 URL TARA - Full Text

Scenario: A Journal of Performative Teaching, Learning and Research, 15, 2, (2021), 1 - 147p, Erika Piazzoli, Fiona Dalziel, Garret Scally, [eds.], 1 year Journal, 2021 TARA - Full Text URL

Erika Piazzoli; Elif Kir Cullen, The double-edged sword of storytelling Performative language pedagogy with refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, Scenario: A Journal of Performative Teaching, Learning and Research, 15, (2), 2021, p1 - 26 Journal Article, 2021 DOI TARA - Full Text

Scenario: A Journal of Performative Teaching, Learning and Research, 15, 1, (2021), 1 - 145p, Susanne Even, Dragan Miladinović, Erika Piazzoli, Manfred Schewe, Fionn Woodhouse, [eds.], 1 year Journal, 2021 TARA - Full Text URL

Erika Piazzoli; Elif Kir Cullen, The meaning (s) of practice: Puzzling through performative language practice with refugee learners. , Applied Theatre Research, 8, (2), 2020, p227 - 244 Journal Article, 2020 TARA - Full Text URL

Erika Piazzoli; John Kubiak, 'The only learning I'm going to get': Students with intellectual disabilities learning a second language through performative pedagogy, Scenario: Journal for Performative Teaching, Learning, Research , 13, (1), 2019, p21 - 41 Journal Article, 2019 TARA - Full Text URL

Fiona Dalziel; Erika Piazzoli, 'It comes from you': agency in adult migrants' language learning through process drama, Language Learning in Higher Education, Special issue: Language learning for and with refugees in higher education, 9, (1), 2019, p7 - 32 Journal Article, 2019 TARA - Full Text URL

Taking the cloth off the telescope in, editor(s)S. Even, D. Miladinovic, & & B. Schmenk , Lernbewegungen inszenieren: Performative Zugange in der Sprach, Literatur und Kulturdidaktik, [Putting Learning Movements on Stage: Performative Approaches in Language, Literature and Culture Education.], Tubigen, Germany, Francke Attempto Verlag, 2019, pp23 - 32, [Erika Piazzoli] Book Chapter, 2019 URL TARA - Full Text

Voice as aesthetic element of language learning: Enhancing learners' performance through actors' voice training in, editor(s)Oliver Mentz, Micha Fleiner , The Arts in Language Teaching. International Perspectives: Performative - Aesthetic - Transversal, Münster, Lit Verlag, 2018, pp75 - 90, [Erika Piazzoli, Claire Kennedy] Book Chapter, 2018

Erika Piazzoli, Embodying Language in Action: The Artistry of Process Drama for Second Language Education, Cham, Switzerland, Palgrave Macmillan / Springer Nature , 2018 Book, 2018 URL

Intercultural Dramatic Tension and Intercultural Engagement in, editor(s)John Crutchfield, Manfred Schewe , Performative Approaches to Foreign and Second Language Education: Intercultural Contexts and Perspectives, London, Multilingual Matters, 2017, pp172 - 196, [Erika Piazzoli] Book Chapter, 2017

Scenario: JOURNAL FOR PERFORMATIVE TEACHING, LEARNING, RESEARCH, 2, XI, (2017), Erika Piazzoli, Eucharia Donnery, [Guest Editor] Journal, 2017 URL

Luca Marrucci, Erika Piazzoli, Evaluating Learner Engagement in Arts Education: Perspectives from Music and Drama in Education, 3rd International Conference on Higher Education Advances (HEAd'17), Valencia, Spain, June 21-23 2017,, 2017, pp1068 - 1075 Conference Paper, 2017 URL TARA - Full Text

Erika Piazzoli, Mapping an ethnography of change in teachers of Italian (L2) learning process drama, Teaching Italian Language and Culture Annual, N/A, (N/A), 2016, p96 - 114 Journal Article, 2016 TARA - Full Text URL

Sociocultural Theory, Process Drama and Second Language Learning in, editor(s)Davis, Susan; Ferholt, Beth; Grainger Clemson, Hannah; Satu-Mari Jansson; Ana Marianovic-Shane , Dramatic Interactions in Education: Vygotskian and Socio-cultural Approaches to Drama, Education and Research, New York, Bloomsbury, 2015, pp153 - 160, [Penny Bundy, Erika Piazzoli, Julie Dunn] Book Chapter, 2015

Erika Piazzoli, Translation in Cross-language Qualitative Research: Pitfalls and Opportunities., Translation and Translanguaging in Multilingual Contexts, 1, (1), 2015, p80 - 102 Journal Article, 2015

Erika Piazzoli, Reflection in Action in Cross-Language Qualitative Research, Qualitative Research Journal, 15, (1), 2015, p74 - 85 Journal Article, 2015

Erika Piazzoli and Claire Kennedy, Drama: Threat or Opportunity? Managing the 'Dual Affect' in Process Drama for Additional Language Learning, Scenario, 1, 2014 Journal Article, 2014

Process drama: The use of affective space to reduce language anxiety in the additional language learning classroom in, editor(s)Joe Winston, Madonna Stinson , Drama education and second language learning, Abingdon, Oxon, Routledge, 2014, pp77 - 94, [Erika Piazzoli] Book Chapter, 2014

Erika Piazzoli, Engagement as Perception-In-Action in Process Drama for Teaching and Learning Italian as A Second Language. , International Journal for Language Studies, 8, (2), 2014, p91 - 116 Journal Article, 2014

Erika Piazzoli, The 'Authentic Teacher': Heathcote's Notion of 'Authenticity' in Second Language Teaching and Learning, Drama Research Journal: International Journal of Drama in Education, 5, (1), 2014 Journal Article, 2014

Erika Piazzoli, The Silent Gaps in the Data: What Do Participants Say about Engagement When Experiencing Process Drama to Learn an Additional Language, Drama Research Journal: International Journal of Drama in Education, 4, (1), 2013 Journal Article, 2013

Drama for Additional Language Learning: Dramatic Contexts and Pedagogical Possibilities in, editor(s)Michael Anderson and Julie Dunn , How drama Activates Learning: Contemporary Research and Practice, London, Continuum, 2013, pp208 - 225, [Madonna Stinson and Erika Piazzoli] Book Chapter, 2013

Erika Piazzoli, Engage or Entertain? The Nature of Teacher/participant Collaboration in Process Drama for Additional Language Teaching, Scenario, 6, (2), 2012 Journal Article, 2012

Film and Drama Aesthetics for Additional Language Teaching in, editor(s)Joe Winston , Second Language Learning Through Drama, London, David Fulton, 2012, pp134 - 148, [Erika Piazzoli] Book Chapter, 2012

Erika Piazzoli, Process Drama: The Use of Affective Space to Reduce Language Anxiety in the Additional Language Learning Classroom, Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, 16, (4), 2011, p557 - 554 Journal Article, 2011

Erika Piazzoli, Didattica Process Drama: Principi di Base, Estetica e Coinvolgimento, Italiano LinguaDue, 2011 Journal Article, 2011

Erika Piazzoli, Process Drama and Additional Language Teaching: Reflections on the Dante Alighieri Immersion Weekends, Applied Theatre Researcher IDEA Journal, 11, 2010, p1 - 12 Journal Article, 2010

Erika Piazzoli, Process drama and Intercultural Language Learning: An Experience of Contemporary Italy, Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, 15, (3), 2010, p385 - 402 Journal Article, 2010

Erika Piazzoli, Metodologia Process Drama e Competenza Interculturale, Culturiana, Settembre, 2009, p69 - 73 Journal Article, 2009

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications

Erika Piazzoli, Process Drama: Aneddoto Contro la Sonnolenza, Officina: La rivista per insegnanti di ALMA Edizioni, Aprile, 2012 Journal Article, 2012

Erika Piazzoli, The Power of 'Teacher in Role', Journal of Modern Language Teachers' Association of Queensland, 49, 2010 Journal Article, 2010

Research Expertise


Language as performance. Social behaviour as performance. Dramatic form as performance. As an inter-disciplinary genre, 'performative language pedagogy' embraces the concepts of performance in linguistics, performance studies and aesthetic theory. Within performative language teaching, process drama differs from scripted theatre as it has no external audience and does not build towards a final show. Rather, it aims to engage the participants (language learners) in an aesthetic and intercultural experience that follows a cycle of experience, action and reflection. It is based on the premise that all teaching can be seen as an art form and that, conversely, performative teaching implies artistry. If so, what does this artistry involve when teaching a foreign language? I'm interested in performative language pedagogy, teacher education and particularly how we learn through embodiment. Within this area, my research has focused on the language learning experiences of refugees and migrants and their teachers.


  • Title
    • Lacunae: Embodying the Untranslatable
  • Summary
    • Lacunae's vision is channelling the disorientation brought about by the pandemic into an aesthetic dimension, through a performative exploration of Untranslatable Words.
  • Funding Agency
    • Trinity Long Room Hub
  • Date From
    • 08-2021
  • Title
    • Sorgente: Engaging asylum seekers, refugees and their teachers in performative language pedagogy
  • Summary
    • Sorgente's objective is to collaborate with City of Dublin Education and Training Board (CDETB) through two of its services, the Youth and Education Service (YES) for Refugees and Migrants, and the Adult Education Service, to develop a second language learning programme based on Performative Language Pedagogy.
  • Funding Agency
    • Irish Research Council
  • Date From
    • 2019
  • Title
    • Embodiment in Arts-based Language Learning for Students with Intellectual Disabilities: Integrating Visual arts and Italian
  • Summary
    • This project focuses on exploring embodied learning working with first-year students enrolled in the Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities (TCPID). We aim to consider the effects that embodiment can have on language learning processes, by specifically combining the syllabi of two modules of the ASIAP program in Term 2, 2018: Exploring Art, taught by John Kubiak, and Italian for Beginners, taught by Erika Piazzoli.
  • Date From
    • January 2017
  • Date To
    • ongoing


Aesthetics; Arts Education; classroom second language learning/acquisition ; Drama and theatre in education; Educational Psychology; Neuroscience; Teacher Education