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Jonathan Gross

Dr Jonathan Gross

Dr Jonathan GrossTeaching Fellow and Researcher

Address Culture, Media and Creative Industries
King’s College London
London, WC2R 2LS





Jonathan Gross joined CMCI in July 2015 to work on the Get Creative Research Project. Previously he worked at the Sheffield Performer and Audience Research Centre (SPARC) at the University of Sheffield, and at the Cultural and Creative Industries Exchange at the University of Leeds. At Leeds Jonathan worked on an AHRC Cultural Value project investigating the relationships between participation in the arts and wellbeing; and on the evaluation of Arts Council England’s Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy programme. At Sheffield he led the research activity on the collaborative project ‘Understanding Audiences for the Contemporary Arts’. 

Jonathan studied Social & Political Sciences at Trinity College, Cambridge; European Culture at University College London; and Humanities and Cultural Studies at the London Consortium. His PhD thesis, also completed at the London Consortium, under the supervision of Georgina Born and Steven Connor, was an ethnographic study of the BBC Proms. 

Research interests and PhD supervision
  • Cultural participation & audiences
  • Cultural organisations & cultural management
  • Cultural value
  • Cultural democracy
  • Amateur and everyday creativity

Jonathan uses research methods drawn from across the humanities and social sciences - with particular expertise in ethnography and life-history interviews - to investigate the relationships between cultural participation; cultural creativity; the organisational (and non-organisational) contexts in which culture is made; and questions of value.

In 2015 – 2016, Jonathan was co-investigator on the Get Creative Research Project, (Principal Investigator – Dr. Nick Wilson), jointly funded by the BBC and the King’s Cultural Institute. The project evaluated the Get Creative campaign, and examined the conditions that motivate, enable and constrain ‘everyday creativity’ around the UK. A King’s College London Cultural Enquiry, Towards Cultural Democracy, based on this research, will be published in 2017.

Jonathan and Nick are currently working with A New Direction to investigate the ‘cultural learning ecology’ in Harrow. This research builds on the key findings and arguments of the Towards Cultural Democracy report, and will investigate the conditions that enable (young) people to make, contest and transform versions of culture.

Selected publications
  • Stephanie Pitts and J. Gross (2017) ‘Audience Exchange: Cultivating Peer-to-Peer Dialogue at Unfamiliar Arts Events’. Arts and the Market. [Forthcoming]
  • Gross, J. (2016) ‘‘Be creative: Making a living in the new cultural industries’ by Angela McRobbie’. Cultural Trends, VOL. 25, NO. 4, 302-304.
  • Gross, Jonathan and Pitts, Stephanie. (2016). ‘Audiences for the contemporary arts: Exploring varieties of participation across art forms in Birmingham’. Participations: Journal of Audience and Reception Studies, Volume 13, Issue 1. [Available online here.]
  • Gross, J. (2015) ‘‘Cultural Capital: The Rise and Fall of Creative Britain’ by Robert Hewison’, Cultural Trends, VOL. 24, NO. 4, 327-329.
  • Gross, J., Blakemore. L., Graham, H., Murray, S. & Walmsley, B. (2014) ‘Approaching Cultural Value as a Complex System: Experiencing the Arts and Articulating the City in Leeds.’ Arts & Humanities Research Council.

In the 2016/17 Jonathan is leading the module ‘Cultural Management: In Small Arts and Cultural Organizations’. Previously Jonathan has taught on MA programmes in Culture, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (University of Leeds) and Music Management (University Sheffield), and on a number of BA programmes at Birkbeck College, University of London. His teaching areas include topics in arts management, cultural studies, cultural sociology, audience studies, and qualitative research methods.

Expertise and public engagement

Jonathan’s work typically involves elements of action research: working with organisations and publics to explore changes - and new initiatives - they might implement in response to (and through) the research process. He has also conducted a number of programme evaluations, directly informing the development of cultural projects.

Following his work on the ‘Understanding Audiences for the Contemporary Arts’ research project, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group commissioned Jonathan to facilitate post-concert ‘audience exchange’ conversations in its 2015-16 & 2016-17 seasons.


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