Professor Graeme Evans

Professor of Creative & Cultural Economy

London College of Fashion


Graeme is professor of Creative and Cultural Economy, a College-wide position with a focus on collaborative, cross-disciplinary research and opportunities arising from the College’s Stratford Waterfront development. He holds a PhD and 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. He 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 St Martins, UAL.

His 30 year academic career followed work as an arts educator, musician and arts centre director, including directing a design 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. He has had work translated into Chinese, German and Turkish and has made contributions to 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, EXPOs.

For 6 years he held the Special Chair in Culture and Urban Development at Maastricht University, leading a three year research project on this theme for the city and Limburg Province, including a Fashion City initiative and Euregio Meuse Rhine Capital of Culture bid. 

Research interests

Environmental, spatial, sustainable and inclusive design and their inter-relationship; Body + Space and its social production; heritage adaptation/re-use; cultural policy and planning; cultural and innovation management; and creative cities and clusters.

Research statement

The focus for much of my work is Cities and Urban Culture and in particular the social and cultural production of art, design and space. This has been manifested in major longitudinal research projects on urban sustainability; inclusive design; creative spaces; and sustainable design - including the Wiley-Blackwell book Designing Sustainable Cities. 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. Outputs from my work have been exhibited at several London Architecture Festivals; at the Building Centre, German Gymnasium King's Cross, URBIS Manchester, and in recent AHRC-funded festivals that I have curated.

This sustainability research theme has been extended to EU-funded projects: Cities for People; Climate Change and Coastal cities; E-Mobility, and Hydrocitizenship, funded by the AHRC. Here the essential hybridity between 'nature' and 'society' is explored through a range of creative and visualisation methods and interventions from a community/user perspective. This work explores the Science-Technology-Society (STS) and Design interface, countering both the technological determinism that drives policy and research responses to global climate change and material design (products, enginering, industrial, architecture, fashion etc.), and the design cultures that have formed and fragmented the field. Recent contributions to this debate include an article: 'Ageing and Climate Change: A Society-Technology-Design discourse’ in the Design Journal 16(20).

Another strand of my work is in Arts and Cultural Policy and equitable resource distribution through participatory cultural planning (e.g. arts funding, Lottery, capital investment). This includes ongoing research on arts participation and social inclusion (in Cultural Trends), and the role/impact of culture in place-making and regeneration (including street art). Here I have developed key guidance and toolkits for national government and cultural agencies on Culture & Regeneration; Cultural Mapping; Culture & Place-Shaping. In depth case studies have been located in the Lower Lee Valley including the Olympic Park area, Thames Gateway and City Fringe, including early research on creative and digital clusters, collaborative workspaces and innovation transfer.

Projects, awards and grants

Graeme has held an extensive number of research grants (totalling £25m+) from research councils (AHRC, ESRC, EPSRC),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).

Major (and successive) research grants have been awarded under the Sustainable Urban Environment programme (EPSRC); AHRC Connected Communities programme, EU Framework programme (FP), and commissions from the Department for Culture (DCMS), Creative London, as well as regeneration and design practices.

Current & recent grants include:

Inter-disciplinary Research Network on SmART Cities and Waste Innovation. Funded by the AHRC, 2017-19

Towards Hydrocitizenship: Arts & Humanities Informed Research through citizens science and cultural ecosystems. Funded by the AHRC Connected Communities programme, 2016-18

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

Contribution of Heritage to Place-making & Business Improvement. Funded by Historic England £48k, 2016

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


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

Community Futures and Utopia, AHRC Festival and London Festival of Architecture, Hornsey Town Hall, June 2016, with Dr Francesca Murialdo, Middlesex Interiors and POLIMI, Milan

Boundaries: the Edge Condition, Exhibition and Festival, Hackney Wicked Connecting Communities Festival, June 2015, AHRC 10th Anniversary Festival


Selected research outputs