Professor Kate Oakley

  • Head of School/Professor of Cultural Policy (School of Culture & Creative Arts)

Research interests

My research, which is the broad area of cultural industries and the cultural economy, falls into three categories, which in shorthand I describe as: policy, place and labour. I have published widely in cultural policy including two books Cultural Policy, with David Bell in the Routledge Key Ideas in Media and Cultural Studies Series and Culture, Economy & Politics: the case of New Labour, co-authored with David Hesmondhalgh, David Lee and Melissa Nisbett.

On cultural labour, I am currently working with colleagues Greig de Peuter, Nicole Cohen and Enda Brophy on an SSHRC-funded project entitled, ‘Pathways beyond precarity in the cultural and creative industries: sustainable livelihoods and cultures of solidarity’. See for more details. I have published on cultural labour over many years including work on: inequality in cultural labour markets; the changing work practices of fine art graduates; the labour market for festivals and events, and the links between community arts, informal education and work.

I am also currently working on an ESRC research project, the Centre for Understanding Sustainable Prosperity ( The Centre, which is highly inter-disciplinary, has a work programme organised around five core themes: meaning and moral framings of the good life; the role of the arts and culture in developing visions of prosperity; political and organisational dimensions of sustainable prosperity; social and psychological understandings of the good life and systems analysis to explore narratives of sustainable prosperity.  I am directing the arts and culture theme of the project.


List by: Type | Date


  • Co-Investigator, Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP) 2016-2020. ESRC. £430,000.
  • Co-Investigator, Cultural Workers Organize, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 2017-20121.
  • Co-Investigator, Culture and Inequality, AHRC Cultural Value Project Critical Review, November 2014. £16,000.
  • Principal Investigator, Improving Cultural Work, AHRC network grant (with Kings College London). 2014-2016. £32,000.
  • Principal Investigator, Creating Space, a re-evaluation of the role of culture in regeneration. AHRC Cultural Value Project Critical Review. March – July 2014. £30,000.
  • Co- Investigator, Cultural Policy Under New Labour, with PI, Prof Hesmondhalgh and Ci-I, Dr Lee. AHRC. £200,000.
  • Co-investigator (with Prof Sara Selwood), ‘Conversations and Collaborations,’ a project on collaboration between higher education and the cultural sectors, Council for Leadership in Higher Education, 2009. £50,000.
  • Principal Investigator, ‘The Art of Innovation’ NESTA. £110,000, in collaboration with Central St Martins, UAL. 2008.
  • Co-investigator, (with Duncan O’Leary, Demos), ‘The Skills Paradox, a study of inequality in adult learning,’ City and Guilds, 2008. £100,000.



I can supervise students across broad areas of cultural policy but am particularly keen to work with students on creative labour, diversity and inequality and on the environmental aspects of cultural production.

Past Projects

  • Videogame work in Poland. Investigating creative labour in a post-socialist cultural industry.
  • Making a creative city with Chinese characteristics: perspectives from Shanghai, Hong Kong and Taipei.
  • The cynics’ guide to shopping for morals. On the commodification of morality in consumer culture.

Additional Information

  • Member AHRC Strategic Review College, 2017-2018
  • Member, Advisory Board, CAMEo, University of Leicester, 2017-
  • Member Creative Industries Council, Regions Sub-Group 2016 -
  • Member AHRC Advisory Group, Cultural Value project 2013 to 2015
  • Visiting Professor, University of the Arts London, 2008 – 2014
  • Adjunct Professor, Creative Industries Faculty, Queensland University of Technology, 2003-2006
  • Associate at Demos the independent think-tank ( 1998-2011
  • Member NWDA Creative Industries Advisory Panel 2001-2004
  • Associate BOP Consulting, cultural and creative industries consultancy (
  • Member of the Mayor of London’s Cultural Observatory Steering Group, 2009 to 2012.
  • Member of the New Era Economics Panel Institute for Public Policy Research, 2010- 2012.
  • Member of the Advisory Group for Intellectual Property and the Public Sphere Project and the Emerging Local Media and Citizenship Project, both at Institute for Public Policy