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Jonathan Gross

Dr Jonathan Gross

Dr Jonathan GrossTeaching Fellow and Researcher

Room 2.02 Chesham Building
Strand Campus
King's College London




Dr. Jonathan Gross is a Teaching Fellow and Researcher with expertise in questions of cultural participation, management and policy. Jonathan has recently co-authored two reports, Towards Cultural Democracy and Caring for Cultural Freedom, which together provide a new approach to understanding ‘cultural opportunity’ - identifying new directions for cultural practice and policy in the UK.

Jonathan has previously held research and teaching positions at the Universities of Leeds, Liverpool and Sheffield. At the University of 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 the Sheffield Performer & Audience Research Centre (SPARC), Jonathan led the research activity on the collaborative project Understanding Audiences for the Contemporary Arts, working with cultural organisations and their participants across Birmingham. 

Jonathan studied Social & Political Sciences at Trinity College Cambridge, European Culture at University College London, and Humanities & Cultural Studies at the London Consortium. His PhD thesis 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, 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 enable and constrain ‘everyday creativity’ around the UK. This led to the publication of Towards Cultural Democracy: Promoting Cultural Capabilites for Everyone.

Building on the findings of that research, Jonathan worked with Dr. Nick Wilson and A New Direction to investigate the ‘cultural learning ecology’ in the London borough of Harrow, resulting in the publication of Caring for Cultural Freedom: An Ecological Approach to Young People’s Cultural Learning.
Selected publications
  • Gross, J. 2018 [In press.] ‘Creativity Off The Clock: Re-Conceptualizing Creative Careers’, in Wilson. N & Martin. L (Eds.) Handbook of Creativity at Work. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
  • Wilson, N. & Gross, J. 2017. Caring for Cultural Freedom: An Ecological Approach to Supporting Young People’s Cultural Learning. A New Direction.
  • Wilson, N., Gross, J. & Bull, A. 2017. Towards Cultural Democracy: Promoting Cultural Capabilities for Everyone. King’s College London.
  • Pitts, S & Gross, J. 2017. ‘Audience Exchange: Cultivating Peer-to-Peer Dialogue at Unfamiliar Arts Events’. Arts and the Market. Volume 7, Issue 1
  • Gross, J. & Pitts, S. 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. 

Jonathan is currently teaching on the module ‘Cultural Management: In Small Arts and Cultural Organizations’. He has previously 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 is a regular contributor to events within the cultural sector, as well as within academia. He has shared his research with cultural practitioners at many locations across the UK, including events held at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, the Cheltenham Music Festival, the Barbican Centre, and Theatre Royal Dury Lane.

Jonathan’s research typically explores possibilities for affecting change, working with organisations and publics to explore 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 specific cultural projects.

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


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