Job title: Chancellor's Fellow in Cultural and Creative Industries, History of Art


Office address: Room 1.004, Fire Station

Contact time: Wednesday, 11am - 12pm Semester 2 (By appointment only in semester 1)

Research outputs: Dr Dave O'Brien on Edinburgh Research Explorer

Dave O'Brien is Chancellor’s Fellow in Cultural and Creative Industries, based in the School of History of Art, but working across several areas of study. Cultural and Creative Industries represent an important area of social, economic, and academic concern, posing research questions and engagement opportunities that range across a number of Art, Humanities and Social Science disciplines. These questions and opportunities are reflected in Dave’s inter-, multi- and cross-disciplinary approach to studying Cultural and Creative Industries. He is the host of the new books in critical theory podcast and you can follow him on twitter: @drdaveobrien.​​​​​​

Academic Biography and Research Interests

Dave did his PhD in Sociology at the University of Liverpool, looking at European Capital of Culture. He has a BA in History and Politics and an MA in Philosophy, both from Liverpool. He has published widely on all areas of Cultural and Creative industries, including cultural policy, urban regeneration, cultural work, public policy, and cultural consumption. Following his PhD and before coming to Edinburgh he worked as a Senior Lecturer in Cultural Policy at ICCE, Goldsmiths, and has also been a lecturer at Leeds Metropolitan University and City University London. He was also an AHRC/ESRC placement fellow at the UK Government's Department for Culture, Media and Sport, writing the Measuring the Value of Culture reportHe is currently an ESRC IAA fellow seconded to Parliament's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee inquiry on the social impact of participation in culture and sport.

His research currently covers five areas: cultural policy, urban policy, public administration, cultural value, and cultural work. These themes are captured by a range of recently completed and on-going projects, including: the role of cultural intermediaries in the creative economythe impact of visual arts on people living with dementiaa literature review of cultural value and inequalitya social network analysis of early career artists; social mobility and class in the acting profession; Panic! Whatever happened to social mobility in the arts? urban regeneration policy; and the experiences of early career researchers. His main focus over the next year is writing up the results of a project on cultural work, which included interviews with over 200 cultural workers, as well as editing The Routledge Companion to Global Cultural Policy and The Routledge Critical Concepts in Culture and Media Studies: Cultural Policy.

Current PhD students

  • Making art and making a living: the role of festivals in contemporary art careers

PhD Supervision Topics

Accepting applications.

PhD supervision

Recent PhD students have studied public art in East London; Audience development and cultural policy; Urban cultural policy and Oil Culture in Venezuela; and the stratification of cultural consumption in Ireland. He welcomes inquires in any area of his expertise.