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Professor Graeme

Job title
Professor of Creative and Cultural Economy
College name
London College of Fashion
Email address
Professor Graeme Evans


Graeme is Professor of Creative and Cultural Economy, a University-wide position with a focus on collaborative, cross-disciplinary research and opportunities arising from the London College of Fashion’s Stratford ‘East Bank’ development. He holds a PhD & MA from City University, Department of Culture & Creative Industries and several professional qualifications and memberships. For the last 20 years Graeme has held the position as director of research centres and institutes in a range of culture, design and urban fields and was founder director of the Cities Institute and most recently director of the Art & Design Research Institute. He has held chairs/professorships in Brunel, Maastricht and Middlesex universities and was formerly head of research at Central Saint Martins, UAL. His 30 year academic career followed work as musician and arts centre director, including directing a design & cultural management practice. He is a founding editorial board member of the Creative Industries and Street Art and Urban Culture journals and publishes in a wide range of international journals with work translated into Chinese, German and Turkish and contributions in over 100 books and journals. He has completed several major studies for the UK Cultural Ministry, Arts Councils and overseas cultural agencies, including the OECD and the Council of Europe. He convenes the RSA Mega-Events research network and has undertaken research on European Capitals of Culture, Olympics and EXPOs (with a forthcoming book: Mega-Events, Routledge). For 6 years he held the Special Chair in Culture and Urban Development at Maastricht University establishing the Centre for Urban & Euregional Studies for the city and Limburg Province, including research projects on the Knowledge Euregion, Science Technology Society interface, industrial heritage and cultural city initiatives.


Research Interests

  • Inclusive Design
  • Sustainable Design
  • Urban Design & Cultural Planning
  • Cultural Policy & Management
  • Creative Industries, Clusters and Innovation
  • Science Technology Society (STS) Studies

Students and thesis titles

Graeme has supervised to completion over 20 research students across a range of subjects and topics including fine art and product/industrial design, city planning, architecture, cultural tourism, social policy and heritage - both practice and text-based, and has examined numerous theses in UK and overseas universities.

Exhibitions and festivals curated

(2017) Re-Use of Industrial Heritage, Exhibition and Water Wheel installation, May-July, Three Mills, Bow [launch, National Mills Weekend, London Festival of Architecture], with artist Dr Loraine Leeson and The Geezers, Age UK, Bow

(2016) Community Futures and Utopia, AHRC Festival [London Festival of Architecture], Hornsey Town Hall, June, with Dr Francesca Murialdo, Middlesex Interiors and POLIMI, Milan (AHRC festival grant)

(2015) Boundaries: the Edge Condition, Exhibition, Hackney Wicked Connecting Communities Festival, June, AHRC 10th Anniversary Festival (AHRC festival grant)

Other resources


Research Statement

The focus for much of my work is Cities and Urban Culture and in particular the social production and design of space in relation to human agency, economy, experience and movement (‘Body & Space’). This has been manifested in major longitudinal research projects on urban sustainability, inclusive design, creative economy, and sustainable design. My first book Cultural Planning: An Urban Renaissance? is the standard reference for the study of the place of the arts and culture in cities over time, whilst Designing Sustainable Cities (Wiley-Blackwell) incorporates in depth, empirical analysis of sustainable urban design solutions based on EPSRC project VivaCity, which was followed by a 6 year study of urban design, mobility and social inclusion, AUNT-SUE. Visual outputs from my work have been exhibited at several London Architecture Festivals; and at the Building Centre, Royal Geographical Society, German Gymnasium King's Cross, URBIS Manchester, and in recent AHRC-funded festivals arising from Connected Communities research projects. Future publications include a monograph, The Social Production and Consumption of Cultural Space (Bloomsbury), drawing together over 20 years of research into urban culture and space.

This sustainability research theme has also been extended to EU-funded projects: Cities for People; Climate Change and Coastal Cities; E-Mobility, and most recently, Towards Hydrocitizenship, funded by the AHRC. Here the essential hybridity between 'nature' and 'society' is explored through a range of creative and visualisation methods and co-designed interventions from a community/user perspective. This work explores the Science-Technology-Society (STS) and art & design interface, countering both the technological determinism that drives policy and research responses to global climate change, material design and waste (products, engineering, industrial, architecture, fashion etc.), and the design cultures that have formed and fragmented the field. Recent contributions to this debate include articles: 'Ageing and Climate Change: A Society-Technology-Design discourse’ in the Design Journal 16(20), and ‘Inclusive & Sustainable Design of the Built Environment’ in Built Environment special issue on Inclusive and Socially Equitable Design prompted by the Grenfell Tower disaster. I also co-convene an AHRC-funded inter-disciplinary research network on waste, bringing together artists, environmental, material and social scientists with waste authorities.

Another strand of my work, drawing on my earlier work as arts centre director and in community arts/ education, is Arts and Cultural Policy and the equitable distribution of resources through participatory cultural planning and access to cultural experience and expression. This includes ongoing research into arts participation and social inclusion, comparative creative city strategies, and the role/impact of culture (including street art and urban festivals) in place-making and regeneration. Here I have developed key guidance and toolkits for national government and cultural agencies on Culture & Regeneration; Cultural Mapping; Creative Industry Clusters; Culture & Place-Shaping; and Heritage re-use, with articles arising in Cultural Trends and Urban Studies journals and in several edited books on the subject. In depth case studies have been located in UK cities, in North America and Europe, including the Lee Valley, the Olympic regeneration area, Thames Gateway and City Fringe, with ongoing research on creative and digital clusters, collaborative workspaces, and innovation/knowledge transfer arising.

Project Awards

Graeme has been awarded an extensive number of research grants (totaling over £30m) from research councils (AHRC, EPSRC, ESRC), the EU, cultural agencies and government (Arts Councils, British Council, Department for Culture Media & Sport), regional and local authorities, international organisations such as the Council of Europe, UNESCO and overseas research councils (Netherlands, Korea, Turkey, Sweden, China, Canada, USA). He also is a grant assessor for these and other funders such as NERC and overseas research councils in The Netherlands, Sweden, Canada, USA and Hong Kong.

Successive research grants have been awarded under the EPSRC Sustainable Urban Environment programme (SUE); AHRC Connected Communities programme, EU Framework Programme (FP4-7, Interreg), and research commissions from the Arts Council, Department for Culture Media & Sport, Creative London, as well as design practices. Graeme is currently Principal Investigator (PI) for a major new research project funded through the AHRC under the Creative Industries Cluster Programme which is developing a range of R&D projects for the Fashion, Textiles and related Technology sectors with a range of university, industry and local government partners, centred on the Stratford Cultural & Education hub.

Current & recent grants include:

Business of Fashion Textiles & Technology (BoFTT) Collaborative R&D Partnership (Director/PI). Funded by the AHRC/UKRI (Industrial Challenge Fund), 2018-23, £5.5m

Inter-disciplinary Research Network on SmART Cities and Waste Innovation. Funded by the AHRC, 2017-19 (with Dr Alex Plows, Bangor University), £45k

Towards Hydrocitizenship (Co-I). Funded by the AHRC Connected Communities programme, 2016-18 (with Bath Spa et al.), £1.5m

Community Futures and Utopia. Festival grant funded by the AHRC (PI), 2016

Contribution of Heritage to Place-making (PI). Funded by Historic England (PI) £48k, 2016

Culture and Place-Shaping, Culture & Arts Evidence (CASE) programme (PI). Funded by DCMS/Arts Council, £110k, 2015

Cultural Planning for Sustainable Communities (PI). AHRC-funded Follow-On grant, £40k

Research Outputs

  • Blackwell Companion to Contemporary Design - (2018) Designing Contemporary Mega Events. In: Anne Massey (ed) Blackwell Companion to Contemporary Design (forthcoming) ()
  • Built Environment - (2018) Inclusive and Sustainable Design of the Built Environment: Regulation or Human-Centred?, Built Environment, 44 (1): 79-93 ()
  • Handbook of New Urban Studies. - (2017) Creative Cities: An International Perspective. In: G.Richards & J.Hannigan (eds) Handbook of New Urban Studies. Sage: 311-329 ()
  • Interior Architecture, Intervention and Adaptive ReUse (Int/AR) Journal - (2017) The Edge Condition: Re-Use of Industrial Heritage on Urban Waterfronts, Interior Architecture, Intervention and Adaptive ReUse (Int/AR) Journal 8: 26-33 ()
  • Handbook on Graffiti and Street Art - (2016) Graffiti, Art and the City: from Piece-Making to Place-Making. In: A.Ross (ed) Handbook on Graffiti and Street Art. Routledge: 164-178 ()
  • Cultural Trends - (2016) Participation and Provision in Arts & Culture – Bridging the Divide, Cultural Trends 25(1): 2-20 ()
  • Architectural Review Quarterly - (2015) Designing Legacy and the Legacy of Design: London 2012 and the Regeneration Games, Architectural Review Quarterly, 18(4): 353-366 ()
  • Municipal Engineer - (2015) Accessibility and User Needs: Pedestrian Mobility and Urban Design, Municipal Engineer: 168(1): 32-44 ()
  • Rethinking place branding - Critical accounts - (2014) Rethinking Place Branding and Place Making through Creative and Cultural Quarters. In: M. Kavaratzis, G. Warnaby and G.J. Ashworth (eds) Rethinking place branding - Critical accounts. Vienna, Springer: 135-158 ()
  • Handbook of the London2012 Olympic/Paralympic Games - (2013) Dressing Up London, In: Girginov, V. (ed) Handbook of the London2012 Olympic/Paralympic Games, Vol.2. Routledge: 19-35, with Özlem Edizel ()