Personal profile


Following a BSc Sociology, my doctoral research project at the University of Leicester investigated popular music, cultural policy and local cultural management.  My research trajectory has remained focused on policy-related projects, including an AHRC funded study of the Millennium Dome, an ESRC study of Local Music Industries and Economic Development in Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield, and the development of local cultural strategies and creative industries mapping. For five years (between 2004 - 2009) I worked outside of HE in research leadership for the cultural sector with non-departmental bodies in the North West, and was the founding Director of the Northwest Culture Observatory based at the regional cultural consortium, before returning to HE in 2009.

Research, knowledge exchange and public engagement activities concern the role and value of the arts and relationships between culture, place and policy. I regularly speak on these topics at academic conferences and sector symposia. Within the University, I work closely with Policy@Manchester, am on the advisory board for Creative Manchester and am affiliated to the Manchester Urban Institute, leading the Creative Placemaking theme. I am also an affiliate of the AHRC Policy and Evidence Centre for Creative Industries (the PEC).   Other governance and advisory roles for arts and cultural organisations include trustee and chair roles with Brighter Sound, the Macclesfield Barnaby Festival, and Abandon Normal Devices. I am currently non-executive director with Creative Addo, North Wales. 

Research interests

I am a collaborative researcher whose research focus and strategy concern the relationships between culture, policy and place governance. Research projects  in which I have been involved and led favour collaborative, practice-based and interdisciplinary research drawing on mixed methods.

Between 2012 - 2018 I was Co-Investigator on the AHRC Connected Communities large-grant project Understanding Everyday Participation - Articulating Cultural Values which led to research outputs including a monograph on the role of the public park within local cultural policy. From 2020 - 2022 I was Co-I on the national UKRI urgent call project 'Covid-19 impacts on cultural industries and implications for policy', a partnership project between the Centre for Cultural Value and AHRC Policy and Evidence Centre for Creative Industries (the PEC). I currently lead a research network Beyond the Creative City, with partners in Manchester, Melbourne and Toronto, which built on research as a Co-I on the PEC. I am also a Co-I on the ESRC Strategic Hub for Local Policy Innovation Partnerships, leading the cultural recovery strand. 


Postgraduate Programmes

I founded the Masters in Arts Management, Policy and Practice which joined  the long-standing MA Art Gallery and Museum Studies in 2009 when I joined the Institute for Cultural Practice (ICP).  More recently, I have led the development of new programmes, such as MA Heritage Studies, and Creative and Cultural Industries. I also lead the PhD by Professional Practice in Arts and Cultural Management, which is co-convened with sister programmes in Museum Practice and Arts and Social Pratice.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Social Science, Popular music in the city: An Examination of Scenes, Popular Music Practice and Cultural Policy in Leicester, University of Leicester

Sept 1995Dec 1999

Award Date: 7 Jul 2000

Bachelor of Social Science, BSc Sociology, University of Leicester

Sept 1992Jul 1995

Award Date: 6 Jul 1995

External positions

non-executive Director, Addo

Jun 2023 → …

External Examiner, Lasalle / University of the Arts, Singapore

1 May 2021 → …

Chair / Trustee, Macclesfield Barnaby Festival Ltd

1 Sept 201631 Dec 2021

External Examiner, MA Arts Management and Heritage Studies, University of Leeds

Sept 2016Sept 2018

Trustee, Abandon Normal Devices

21 Jun 20161 Nov 2022

External Examiner, MA Arts Project Management/Curatorial Studies, Birmingham City University

Jun 2016Sept 2018

Chair of Trustees, Brighter Sound

20 Feb 201230 Sept 2019

Areas of expertise

  • HT Communities. Classes. Races
  • sociology of culture
  • GV Recreation Leisure
  • local cultural policy
  • JS Local government Municipal government
  • cultural policy
  • M Music
  • popular music
  • AM Museums (General). Collectors and collecting (General)
  • museum management

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Policy@Manchester
  • Digital Futures
  • Manchester Urban Institute


  • cultural policy, arts management, cultural planning, locality, place, participation


Dive into the research topics where Abi Gilmore is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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