Faculty of Performance, Visual Arts and Communications

School of Media and Communication


Professor Kate Oakley

Professor of Cultural Policy. Director of Research and Innovation.

0113 343 5810

Clothworkers' Building North, 1.09

BA (Newcastle), PhD (City)

Kate Oakley is Professor of Cultural Policy at the University of Leeds. Her research interests include the politics of cultural policy, work in the cultural industries, and regional development.  Her latest book is Cultural Policy, co-written with David Bell.


Kate Oakley is Professor of Cultural Policy at the University of Leeds. Her research interests include the politics of cultural policy, work in the cultural industries, and regional development.

Following a career as a journalist, Kate worked for a number of  years in information society policy. This included researching management consultancy as a knowledge-based industry, while a Research Fellow at Manchester Business School and Head of the Information & Communications Policy Group at the Policy Studies Institute. This covered research on intellectual property, the commercialisation of public sector information, and the growth of information work and workers.

In 1997, she became a self-employed consultant/researcher working for a variety of public agencies, think tanks and research organisations. In this role, having worked on a large number of localised creative industry strategies, Kate developed an influential policy-informed critique of creative industries.

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 and ‘Creative Work in the Cultural Industries’ a third year, undergraduate optional module.


Director of Research and Innovation



  • Hesmondhalgh D, Oakley K, Lee D, Nisbett M (2015) Culture, Economy and Politics: The Case of New Labour. New Directions in Cultural Policy. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

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

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

Journal articles

  • Oakley K, O'Brien D (2016) “Learning to labour unequally: understanding the relationship between cultural production, cultural consumption and inequality”, Social Identities. : 1-16. (Accepted)
    DOI: 10.1080/13504630.2015.1128800, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/92581/

  • Banks M, Oakley K (2015) “The dance goes on forever? Art schools, class and UK higher education”, International Journal of Cultural Policy. (Accepted)
    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) “From Bohemia to Britart – Art Students over 50 years.”, Cultural Trends. 18.4: 281+.

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

  • 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. 14.4: 283-302.

  • 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”, 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


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

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

  • Oakley K (2009) Art Works. London:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Research Projects & Grants

I am have just completed an AHRC-funded review of the literature on cultural and urban regeneration and and currently working on one on culture and inequality with Dr Dave O’Brien at Goldsmiths.  I am also working on an AHRC-funded network looking at inequality in cultural labour markets with Dr Bridget Conor at Kings College London.

Research Centres & Groups

Cultural Production and Media Policy

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

© Copyright Leeds 2016