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Personal profile


Jessica Symons is an urban anthropologist working at the University of Manchester. Her research interests focus on creativity and idea development, particularly how organisational structures affect people’s ability to realise their ideas.


She is currently in an academic post in the Institute for Cultural Practices at the University of Manchester as an AHRC Creative Economy Engagement Research Fellow. This is part of a large AHRC Creative Economy Programme exploring how to connect research to the creative industry sector.


Jessica is collaborating with Cheshire East Council and representatives from the cultural sector in Cheshire to explore how to connect rural areas to the creative economy focusing in particular on Virtual Reality (VR). She is in the process of setting up a VR research cluster at the University of Manchester. 


Previously Jessica was Research Fellow on the flagship multi-disciplinary and cross-sectoral AHRC-funded research project, Cultural Intermediation: Connecting Communities in the Creative Urban Economy at the University of Salford


Jessica speaks at conferences and publishes articles on themes around the urban, cultural strategies and futures thinking. Her research connects closely to policy makers and practitioners and focuses on activity with impact beyond the academic community.


Her work as a consultant in the digital, community and sustainability sectors before entering academia provide good links for increasing impact. She is founder of Visioning Lab which explores ways of imagining.


Jessica is active in developing research funding. She has developed many funding applications for research, third and private sector contexts.  

External positions

Member of Cultural Strategy Working Group, Salford City Council

1 Nov 2016 → …

Areas of expertise

  • GN Anthropology
  • Creativity
  • urban development
  • culture
  • innovation
  • organisational theory
  • NX Arts in general
  • virtual reality
  • N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures


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