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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

Dr Daniel Ashton 's photo

Dr Daniel Ashton is Associate Professor of Cultural and Creative Industries at 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 focuses on the following areas:

Cultural Work

I have a long-standing interest in the diferent career pathways and transitions into cultural work. This was first developed in my PhD on digital games design titled, 'The industry of creativity: economic visions, creative subjects and innovative technologies in process' (AHRC funded at Lancaster University). This research was subsequently developed in relation to several media industries and occupations.

In 2013 I co-edited Cultural Work and Higher Education (with Dr Catriona Noonan). Solo authored articles in this area 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. Findings from this Project were published as a book chapter in Pathways into Creative Working Lives (2020; edited by Stephanie Taylor and Susan Luckman).

I am currently developing a project examining artificial intelligence and cultural work. This has included presentations at the Cultural Histories, Creative Futures conference (Winchester, July 2019) and Artificial Creativity conference (Malmo, October 2020), and a public workshop and discussion with Dr Karen Patel as part of the University of Southampton’s Human Worlds festival (November 2020). 

Place and Space

I have presented my research on cultural entrepreneurs and culture-led urban regeneration 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 in Creative Hubs in Question (2019; edited by Ros Gill, Andy C. Pratt and Tarek E. Virani).

I am currently part of the research team for the Arts Council England supported “Connecting Culture” research project examining young people’s engagement with Southampton’s Cultural Quarter. This connects with my wider research on the UK city of culture competition, including organising a roundtable with Dr Toby Bennett for the Creativity, Knowledge, Cities conference.

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. This research has been presented at several conferences and is the basis for collaborations with Laboratory Adelaide: The Value of Culture at Flinders Research. This collaboration has involved a presentation from Professor Julian Meyrick at John Hansard Gallery and I visited Adelaide in February 2020. Several publications are currently being developed with Dr Tully Barnett.

PhD Supervision

I am currently on the supervisory team for five 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)
  • Xiao Wei (with Dr Yuanyuan Yin)
  • Makanani Bell (with Professor Fraser Sturt and Dr Lucy Blue)


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 (website and blog)
  • 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
  • WSA Champion for the Centre for Higher Education Practice.
  • Mentor for Professional Recognition of Educator Practice (PREP)
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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 and held this role until September 2020. 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. The teaching team were also nominated under the “student experience” category in the 2020 Vice Chancellor’s Awards.

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: ‘Ludic Economies’ (2015), ‘Creative Organisations’ (2016), ‘Data Visualisation’ (2017), ‘The Work of Storytelling’ (2018), ‘Technologies of Gender’ (2019) and ‘Mobilities’ (2020). For more information please visit the MA Global Media Management course page. For updates please visit the GMM blog.

From 2020-21 I am module leader for the undergraduate option Business Skills for the Creative Industries and continue to teach on MA Global Media Management. I also contribute to the WSA programme for postgraduate researcher and the Faculty Orientation for Teaching and Demonstrating modules for postgraduate researchers.

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

Room Number NNN: 63A/1035

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