Margaret is a Professor and founding director of the Creative Collaboratorium at the Univeristy of Queensland. She served as the Head of the School of Music from 2008 - 2018. Prior to this, she held appointments at the University of Tasmania Faculty of Education (1988-2008) including Director of Research, Deputy Head of School, Director of Post-Graduate Studies, and convenor of Music Education.

Margaret currently holds positions as a Director of the Australian Music Centre, the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, and the Queensland Music Festival.

Margaret has served as President of the International Society for Music Education (2012-2014), Chair of the World Alliance for Arts Education (2013-2015), Chair of the Asia-Pacific Symposium for Music Education Research (2009-2011), board member of the International Society for Music Education (2008-2010), and National President of the Australian Society for Music Education (1999-2001). Margaret has been an advisor for arts and educational bodies nationally and internationally, including the Australia Council for the Arts, the Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority, and the United Kingdom Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.

Margaret's research encompasses the investigation of the role of Music and the Arts in human cognition and social and cultural development. Her research has addressed problems in the areas of aesthetic decision-making, the meaning and value of Arts engagement for young people, young children's musical thinking, young children's identity work in and through music, teaching and learning practices in the arts, and the pedagogy and practices of creativity. A key aspect of her work has been the development of innovative arts-based inquiry and expertise in music and music education.

Her work has been recognised through Fellowship of the Australian Society for Music Education (2011), Excellence Awards for Teaching (UTas 2003), Research Higher Degree Supervision (UQ 2016), and Research Engagement (UQ 2016). Most recently she has been awarded a Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship to further her research into children’s singing and song-making (2017-2018) and is elected Beaufort Visiting Fellow at St. John's College, Univeristy of Cambridge (2019).