Research projects


My most recent research is centring on a project funded by EU Horizon 2020 - titled Developing Inclusive and Sustainable Creative Economies (DISCE). This is a three-year study with partners, including the University of Turku, Finland (as Principal Investigator), Gran Sasso Science Institute in Italy, Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, Latvia, the Brussels-based culture and media agency Cumediae, and the network of cultural centres across Europe: Trans Europe Halles, based in Sweden. There are 6 work packages in total, including identification and mapping of the CCIs across Europe, a focus on earning logics and business models – and in respect of our team from King’s College London, we are particularly focusing on the creative workforce, skills and education, and re-thinking inclusive and sustainable growth. I am leading Work Package 5 - on 're-thinking inclusive and sustainable creative economies'. In particular, this is challenging notions of what counts as the 'creative economy', as 'growth' and as 'cultural development'. Re-thinking Inclusive & Sustainable Growth for the Creative Economy: A Literature Review (Wilson et al., 2019) is available to download on the DISCE.EU website.

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Human Development and Capability

Supporting my research in DISCE and elsewhere, I've drawn on Amartya Sen's and Martha Nussbaum's extensive work on capabilities. In 2017 I made 'The case for cultural capability' at the HDCA conference in Cape Town, South Africa. More recently, I gave a paper at the 2019 HDCA conference, London (September 9-11, 2019), titled: 'Connecting Capabilties: A Reason to Value (Aesthetic) Experience'. This is available to read here.

Towards Cultural Democracy: Promoting Cultural Capabilities

Towards cultural democracy: promoting cultural capabilities for everyone is the final report of King’s fourth Cultural Enquiry. On the basis of a 15-month research project, it presents a timely and distinctive vision of how to build a cultural life for the UK that is valuable for everyone, and made by all.  

At the heart of the report is a call for a radical but pragmatic new approach to understanding and enabling cultural opportunity. It is argued that cultural opportunities are comprised of a far broader range of freedoms than access to already existing publicly funded arts – the primary focus of current cultural policy.


Download a One Page Summary Here

Cultural Learning Ecology in Harrow

A New Direction (AND)  commissioned this  piece of research looking into children and young people’s engagement with arts, culture and creativity in Harrow. This project involved a range of fieldwork designed to help AND & local stakeholders better understand the borough’s cultural learning ecologies.

Network for Art-Based Learning & Education (nABLE)

The research network for Art Based Learning & Education responds to the growing interest in art(s) based and creative practice assessment, and what has been termed ‘arts based research’ – described as “an effort to extend beyond the limiting constraints of discursive communication in order to express meanings that otherwise would be ineffable” (Barone & Eisner, 2011:1). By drawing attention to ‘learning & education’ as opposed to ‘research’ per se, we seek to widen the scope of the network’s activities and interests beyond a re-evaluation of the research process itself, embracing the experience of all those studying, teaching and researching in the Higher Education sector. 

nABLE hosted The Pedagogy of Ambiguity conference at King's College London in December 2015.

64 Million Artists

I worked with 64 Million Artists (formerly 53 Million Artists) on a number of research projects since 2014. These have included an innovation project '33 Thousand Everyday Artists' in 2015-16, and Wilson et al., (2014) 53 Million Artists White Paper, King's College London