Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Media and Communication


Professor Kate Oakley

Professor of Cultural Policy

0113 343 5810

Clothworkers' Building North, 1.09

BA (Newcastle), PhD (City)

Kate Oakley is Professor of Cultural Policy at the School of Media and Communication, University of Leeds. She was previously Head of the Centre for Cultural Policy and Management at City University and a Visiting Professor at the University of the Arts.


 Kate Oakley is Professor of Cultural Policy at the School of Media and Communication, University of Leeds. She was previously Head of the Centre for Cultural Policy and Management at City University, London and a Visiting Professor at the University of the Arts London.


Her research interests include the politics of cultural policy, work in the cultural industries, and regional development.  She came into academia following careers as a journalist, market researcher and civil servant and for 15 years she ran a successful consultancy and research business in the cultural sectors. Her portfolio of projects included: work on cultural and creative industry strategies; work on the social impacts of culture and the arts; work on skills and employment in the cultural industries and cultural policy advice at a variety of spatial levels.


Recent books include Cultural Policy with David Bell (Routledge, 2015) and Culture, Economy and Politics: the case of New Labour, with David Hesmondhalgh, David Lee and Melissa Nisbett (Palgrave, 2015). She is currently researching the role of arts and culture in sustainable prosperity as part of the CUSP Project (http://www.cusp.ac.uk/).

Research Interests

Politics of cultural and media policy

Cultural labour and labour markets

Worker organization in the cultural industries

Cultural industries and place: cities, regions and neighbourhoods

Culture and creative industries


I teach the core module, ‘Media Production Analysis’ on the MA in Media Industries.



  • Aiello G; Tarantino M; Oakley K (eds.) (2017) Communicating the City: Meanings, Practices, Interactions. New York: Peter Lang.
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/114110/

  • Hesmondhalgh D, Oakley K, Lee D, Nisbett M (2015) Culture, Economy and Politics: The Case of New Labour.
    DOI: 10.1057/9781137426383

  • Bell D, Oakley K (2014) Cultural Policy.

  • Andersen L, Oakley K (2008) Making meaning, making money. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Journal articles

  • Oakley K, Ward J (2018) “The art of the good life: culture and sustainable prosperity”, Cultural Trends. 27.1: 4-17.
    DOI: 10.1080/09548963.2018.1415408, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/123614/

  • Oakley K, Laurison D, O Brien D, Friedman S (2017) “Cultural Capital: Arts Graduates, Spatial Inequality, and London’s Impact on Cultural Labor Markets”, American Behavioral Scientist. 61.12: 1510-1531.
    DOI: 10.1177/0002764217734274, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/117253/

  • Oakley K, Ward J, Christie I (2017) “Engaging the imagination: ‘new nature writing’, collective politics and the environmental crisis”, Environmental Values. (Accepted)
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/121524/

  • Oakley K (2016) “Whose creative economy? Inequality and the need for international approaches”, Les Enjeux de l’information et de la communications. 17.2: 163-171.
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/104836/

  • Oakley K, O Brien D (2016) “Learning to labour unequally: understanding the relationship between cultural production, cultural consumption and inequality”, Social Identities. 22.5: 471-486.
    DOI: 10.1080/13504630.2015.1128800, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/92581/

  • Banks M, Oakley K (2016) “The dance goes on forever? Art schools, class and UK higher education”, International Journal of Cultural Policy. 22.1: 41-57.
    DOI: 10.1080/10286632.2015.1101082, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/84297/

  • Hesmondhalgh D, Nisbett M, Oakley K, Lee D (2015) “Were New Labour’s cultural policies neo-liberal?”, International Journal of Cultural Policy. 21.1: 97-114.
    DOI: 10.1080/10286632.2013.879126

  • Lee D, Hesmondhalgh D, Oakley K, Nisbett M (2014) “Regional creative industries policy-making under New Labour”, Cultural Trends. 23.4: 217-231.
    DOI: 10.1080/09548963.2014.912044, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/80972/

  • Hesmondhalgh D, Nisbett M, Oakley K, Lee DJ (2014) “Were New Labour’s cultural policies neo-liberal?”, International Journal of Cultural Policy.
    DOI: 10.1080/10286632.2013.879126, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/80973/

  • Oakley K, Hesmondhalgh D, Lee D, Nisbett M (2014) “The national trust for talent? NESTA and New Labour’s cultural policy”, British Politics.
    DOI: 10.1057/bp.2013.34, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/79076/

  • Oakley K, O'Brien D, Lee D (2013) “Happy Now? well-being and cultural policy”, Philosophy and Public Policy Quarterly. 31.2: 17-25.
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/76878/

  • Lee DJ, Oakley K, Naylor R (2011) “'The public gets what the public wants'? The uses and abuses of 'public value' in contemporary British cultural policy”, INT J CULT POLICY. 17.3: 289-300.
    DOI: 10.1080/10286632.2010.528834

  • Oakley K, Lee D, Naylor R (2011) “The Public Gets What the Public Wants? The Uses and Abuses of ‘Public Value’ in Contemporary British Cultural Policy.”, The International Journal of Cultural Policy. 17.3: 289-300.

  • Oakley K (2011) “In its own image: New Labour and the Cultural Workforce”, Cultural Trends. 20.3-4: 281-289.

  • Oakley K (2009) “The politics of cultural work”, Cultural Trends. 18.3: 273-274.
    DOI: 10.1080/09548960903065428

  • Oakley K (2009) “The disappearing arts – creativity and innovation after the creative industries”, The International Journal of Cultural Policy. 15.4: 403+.

  • Oakley K (2009) “From Bohemia to Britart – Art Students over 50 years.”, Cultural Trends. 18.4: 281+.

  • Oakley K (2008) “The Art of Education: New competences for the creative workforce”, Media International Australia Incorporating Culture and Policy: quarterly journal of media research and resources. 128

  • Oakley K (2006) “Include Us Out—Economic Development and Social Policy in the Creative Industries”, Cultural Trends. 15.4: 255-273.
    DOI: 10.1080/09548960600922335

  • Oakley K (2006) “Include us out - economic development and social policy in the creative industries”, Cultural Trends. 14.4: 283-302.

  • Oakley K (2004) “Not So Cool Britannia”, International Journal of Cultural Studies. 7.1: 67-77.
    DOI: 10.1177/1367877904040606

  • Oakley K (2004) “Not so Cool Britannia, The Role of Creative Industries in Economic Development”, International Journal of Cultural Studies. 7.5-7: 67+.

  • Oakley K (1995) “Professionals and the New Knowledge Workers: The Case of Management Consultancy”, Policy Studies. 16.1: 14-22.
    DOI: 10.1080/01442879508423670

  • Oakley K (1995) “Professionals and the New Knowledge Workers”, Policy Studies. 16.1

  • Oakley K (1994) “How Organisations Learn to Learn – The Need for Consultancies to adopt a brains approach”, Journal of Management Consulting. 8.2

  • Oakley K, Berry A (1993) “Consultancies, Agents of organisational development”, Leadership and Organisational Development Journal. 14.5


  • Aiello G, Tarantino M (2017) Introduction: Communicating the city between the centre and the margins. xiii-xxviii
    DOI: 10.3726/978-1-4539-1902-6, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/116022/

  • Oakley K, Aiello G (2017) Afterword: Communication and the city. 201-205
    DOI: 10.3726/978-1-4539-1902-6, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/114112/

  • Banks M, Oakley K (2015) “Uk art workers, class, and the myth of mobility”, In: The Routledge Companion to Labor and Media. 170-179

  • Oakley K, O'Connor J (2015) “The Cultural Industries - an Introduction”, In: Oakley K; O'Connor J (eds.) The Routledge Companion to the Cultural Industries. Routledge Media and Cultural Studies Companions. London, UK: Routledge. 1-32
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/127407/

  • Oakley K (2015) “Culture and the city”, In: Oakley K; O'Connor J (eds.) The Routledge Companion to the Cultural Industries.

  • Oakley K (2014) “Creativity is for people, arts for posh people”, In: Miller T (eds.) Routledge Companion to Global Popular Culture. Abingdon, Oxon, UK: Routledge.
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/119861/

  • Oakley K (2014) “Good work? Rethinking cultural entrepreneurship”, In: Bilton C; Cummings S (eds.) Handbook of Management and Creativity. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. 145-160
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/78872/

  • Oakley K (2013) “Making Workers: Higher Education and the Cultural Industries Workplace”, In: Ashton D; Noonan C (eds.) Cultural Work and Higher Education. Palgrave Macmillan. 25-44
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/76511/

  • Oakley K (2013) “Absentee workers: representation and participation in the cultural industries”, In: Banks M; Taylor S; Gill R (eds.) Theorizing Cultural Work. Labour, Continuity and Change in the Cultural Industries. CRESC. London: Routledge. 56-67
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/75864/

  • Oakley K (2012) “Not the new, new thing: innovation and cultural policy in the EU”, In: Elam I (eds.) Artists and the Arts Industries. Stockholm: Konstnarsnamnden: The Swedish Arts Grants Committee. 56-66

  • Oakley K (2012) “Rich but divided...the politics of cultural policy in London”, In: Anheier H; Isar YR (eds.) Cities, Cultural Policy and Governance. The Cultures and Globalisation series. Sage. 204-212

  • Oakley K (2011) “Good enough jobs and good enough workers”, In: Wright S; Holden J; Keiffer J; Newbigin J (eds.) Creativity, Money, Love. London: Creative and Cultural Skills.

  • Oakley K (2008) “Making meaning, making money”, In: Andersen L; Oakley K (eds.) Making meaning, making money. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

  • Oakley K (2008) “Citizenship in the Information Society”, In: Cunha MA; Frey K; Duarte F (eds.) Governança local e as tecnologias de informação e comunicação. Curitiba: Champagnat. 149-157

  • Oakley K (2008) “Any answer as long as it’s right: evidence-based cultural policymaking”, In: Oakley K; Andersen L (eds.) Making Meaning Making Money: directions for the arts and cultural industries in The Creative Age. Newcastle on Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press.

  • Oakley K (2003) “Local Knowledge, The Development of Policy as a Shared Narrative”, In: Bentley T; Wilsdon J (eds.) The Adaptive State. London: Demos.

  • Oakley K “A different class: politics and culture in London”, In: Grodach C (eds.) The Politics of Urban Cultural Policy: Global Perspectives. Routledge.

  • Oakley K “The Real Deal Project, Young People as Policy Consultants”, In: Clarke J; Dyson A; Meagher N; Robson E; Wootten M (eds.) Young People As Researchers: Possibilities, Problems, and Politics. Youth, Citizenship and Social Change. Youth Work Press.


  • Oakley K, O'Brien D (2015) “Cultural Value and Inequality: A Critical Literature Review”, In: Cultural Value and Inequality: A Critical Literature Review. Arts and Humanities Research Council.
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/88558/

  • Oakley K (2015) “Creating Space: A re-evaluation of the role of culture in regeneration”, In: Creating Space: A re-evaluation of the role of culture in regeneration.
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/88559/

  • Oakley K (2010) Brick Lane: Community-driven innovation?. London:

  • Oakley K, Selwood S (2010) Conversations and Collaborations: The Leadership of Collaborative Projects between Higher Education and the Arts and Cultural Sector. London:

  • Oakley K (2009) Art Works. London:

  • Oakley K, O'Leary D (2009) The Skills Paradox. London: Demos.

  • Oakley K, Pratt A, Sperry B (2008) The Art of Innovation.

  • Oakley K, Naylor R, Pratt A (2007) The Cultural Competitiveness of London. London: London Development Agency.

  • Oakley K (2007) Educating for the Creative Workforce: Rethinking Arts and Education. Australia Council for the Arts.

  • Oakley K (2007) Better than working for a living? Skills and Labour in the Festivals Economy. London: City University London.

  • Oakley K, Knell J (2007) London’s Creative Economy: An Accidental Success?. London: Work Foundation.

  • Oakley K, Naylor R (2005) New Directions in Social Policy, Developing the Evidence Base for Museums, Libraries and Archives in England. London: Museums and Libraries Archive.
    Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/76509/

  • Oakley K (2004) Developing the Evidence Base for support of cultural and creative activities in South East England. South East England Cultural Consortium.

  • Oakley K, Ninan A (2004) Queensland Music Industry Trends: Independence Day?. Queensland University of Technology.

  • Oakley K (2003) Highway to democr@cy: The Council of Europe and the Information Society’. Council of Europe.

  • Oakley K (2001) Surfing the Long Wave, Knowledge Entrepreneurship in Britain. London: Demos.

  • Oakley K (1999) The Real Deal. What young people really think about government, politics and social exclusion. Demos.

  • Oakley K, Leadbeater C (1999) The Independents. London: Demos.

  • Oakley K Spin-offs and start-ups in UK Universities. Universities UK.

  • Oakley K, Naylor R, Chouguley. U, Mantella L “Assessment of the Social Impact of Participation in HLF funded projects”, In: Assessment of the Social Impact of Participation in HLF funded projects. London:

Research Projects & Grants

I am currently working on a five year ESRC research project, the Centre for Understanding Sustainable Prosperity (www.cusp.ac.uk). 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.

Together with a fully-funded PDRA (plus two PhD studentships), I am directing the arts and culture theme of the project. Working in Stoke on Trent, North London and mid-Wales, our theme has two key research questions. The first is a focus on ‘culture and the good life,’ the role of arts and culture in communicating, not just living less materially, but living better. The second is ‘culture and good work,’ which looks in detail at localised cultural economies and at cultural labour. It interrogates the geography of the local cultural economy, its networks and the organisational forms that people adopt in order to negotiate the precarious nature of cultural work.

This project builds on long-standing interests of mine in the relationship between culture and place and in cultural labour. This is the subject of my recent AHRC network, ‘Improving Cultural Work’, which I have been running together with Dr Bridget Conor from Kings College London and the SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) grant, ‘Pathways beyond precarity in the cultural and creative industries: sustainable livelihoods and cultures of solidarity’ with Greig de Peter, Enda Brophy and Nicole Cohen.

Research Centres & Groups

Cultural Production and Media Policy

Centre for Understanding Sustainable Prosperity (www.cusp.ac.uk)

PhD & Postdoctoral Supervision

Currently supervising students working on creative cities in China, ethical consumption, film policy and soft power and the videogames sector in Poland. I am interested in working with students on any aspect of cultural labour.

Under my supervision are:

Kristina Karvelyte

Carly O’Neill

Anna Ozimek

Yanling Yang

Jaroslava Tomanova

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