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The University of Southampton
Winchester School of Art
(023) 8059 6910

Dr Daniel Ashton  BA, MA, MA, PhD, SFHEA

Associate Professor of Cultural and Creative Industries, Co-Director: Transforming Creativity Research Group, Programme Leader: MA Global Media Management

Dr Daniel Ashton 's photo

Dr Daniel Ashton is Associate Professor of Cultural and Creative Industries and the Programme Leader for MA Global Media Management within Winchester School of Art at the University of Southampton.

I teach and research in the fields of media, communication and cultural studies. I have published my research on topics including digital media technologies, creative industries labour and policy, and participatory cultures. I have taught on undergraduate and postgraduate course and am a PhD supervisor. I have also worked in partnership with a range of cultural organisations on public exhibitions, teaching initiatives, and research bids.

Research interests

My research on cultural production focuses on several thematic areas:

Cultural Work

I have a long-standing interest in diverse career pathways and transitions into cultural work. This was first developed in my PhD on digital games design and was subsequently developed in relation to several media industries.

In 2013 I co-edited Cultural Work and Higher Education (with Dr Catriona Noonan). Solo authored articles in this área examined “cultural workers-in-the-making” (2013) and pathways into working in the creative economy (2015).

Recent research and publications with Dr Karen Patel have examined vlogging careers. Aspects of this were developed with Dr Emma Agusita in the 2018-19 “Unexpected Enterprises” project funded by Enterprise Educators UK. A book chapter on this project will be forthcoming in 2020.

Place and Space

I have presented my research on cultural entrepreneurs and culture-led urban regeneration at conferences in Nanjing and Suzhou in China. Connecting with my interests in higher education and the creative economy, I co-authored a chapter with Dr Roberta Comunian on universities as creative hubs.

I am currently part of the research team for Arts Council England supported “Connecting Culture” research project examining young people’s engagement with Southampton’s Cultural Quarter. This connects with my wider research being undertaken with Dr Toby Bennett on the UK city of culture competition.

Cultural Engagement and Participation

My research in this area has examined participation in crowdsourced documentary films, and notions of professional and amateur media (with Professor Paul Long).

More recently I have been undertaking research on practices of audience profiling and segmentation and co-authored an article in 2019 with Dr Ronda Gowland-Pryde.

Funding Culture

I recently completed a project supported by the Winchester School of Art Strategic Research Fund examining the funding cultures and practices of arts and cultural organisations. The findings from this project were shared in a workshop with participating partners and invited academic and policy contributors. A short video of the project and workshop can be accessed here on YouTube. This research has been presented at several conferences and is the basis for collaborations with colleagues from Laboratory Adelaide: The Value of Culture (Dr Tully Barnet and Professor Julian Meyrick). It is currently being written up for publication.

PhD Supervision

I am currently on the supervisory team for four Postgraduate Researchers at the University:

  • Raxi Dixit (with Dr Yasmin Sekhon)
  • Stuart Francis (with Dr Nik Mahon and Dr Megen de Bruin-Molé)
  • Samantha Schäfer (with Dr Seth Giddings)
  • Linda Mackie (with Dr Valentina Cardo)

Supervision to completion:

Dr Aurelia Ayisi (2018) A Different Kind of Creative Work: A Case Study of Visual Artists in Bath and Bristol

I have also participated in PhD admissions interviews, upgrade panels, and thesis examinations (as internal and external examiner in the UK and as external examiner by distance in Australia).

I welcome hearing from those interested in undertaking research at WSA/University of Southampton in the following areas: creative and cultural industries; digital cultures; media industries, organisations and production; participatory cultures.

Research group

Transforming Creativity Research Group

Affiliate research group

Works Futures Research Centre

At the University of Southampton, I undertake the following roles and responsibilities:

  • Chair – Board of Examiners: Postgraduate Taught (Winchester School of Art)
  • Co-Director – Transforming Creativity Research Group
  • Member – Research Ethics Committee (Faculty of Arts and Humanities)
  • Member – Research and Enterprise Committee (Faculty of Arts and Humanities)
  • Member – Enterprise and Creative Economy Working Group (Faculty of Arts and Humanities)
  • Member – Steering Committee for Work Futures Research Centre
  • Mentor for Professional Recognition of Educator Practice (Centre for Higher Education Practice)
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Book Chapters


I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) and hold a MA in Professional Practice in Higher Education. I have led two HEA funded research projects in relation to working in the creative and cultural industries, and published pedagogic research in journals including Journal of Further and Higher Education and British Journal of Sociology of Education. I have undertaken roles as an external examiner and on validation panels for several UK universities.

From 2008 to 2015 I was a Senior Lecturer at at Bath Spa University (UK) teaching on the Media Communications and the Creative Media Practice degree programmes. I joined WSA as the MA Programme Leader for Global Media Management in April 2015.

MA Global Media Management explores critical understandings of the technological, social, cultural and political implications of changes associated with the global development of the Internet, social networks and mobile media. There is strong focus on media practice and applying academic debates and industry perspectives to the investigation of media organisations, consumers and audiences, and digital innovation. Case studies and research explored with students examine strategies and management techniques employed by commercial, non government (NGO) and community based (CBO) organisations, how creative ideas are developed, and how audiences and users respond to them, or generate their own media material.

Distinctive parts of the programme include study visits, guest speaker lectures, and research-informed learning and teaching linked to the Winchester Centre for Global Futures in Art, Design and Media. Each year there is an annual symposium in which students on the programme join with invited academic researchers and industry practitioners to explore a specific theme. GMM has so far hosted five annual symposiums: ‘Ludic Economies’ (2015), ‘Creative Organisations’ (2016), ‘Data Visualisation’ (2017), ‘The Work of Storytelling’ (2018), and ‘Technologies of Gender’ (2019).

In July 2018, the teaching team received a Vice Chancellor’s Teaching Award. The nomination highlighted how ‘the teaching team have distinguished themselves through a collegiate approach and a commitment to developing innovative ways to engage students through research-informed and technology-enhanced learning.’ Importantly, the award and recognition extended to Postgraduate Researchers who had contributed as Visiting Lecturers.

For more information please visit the MA Global Media Management course page

For updates please visit the GMM blog.

Dr Daniel Ashton
Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton, Park Avenue, Winchester SO23 8DL, Hampshire, United Kingdom

Room Number: 63A/1035

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