Dean of the School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management


Tel: 0131 474 0000

Professor Stevenson (BA, MA, PhD, FRSA, FHEA) is the Dean of the School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management and a Professor of Arts Management and Cultural Policy. He is also the Director of the Centre for Communication, Cultural and Media Studies.

David is the Dean of The School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management. David’s PhD was awarded for his thesis entitled: Understanding Cultural Non-Participation: Discursive structures, articulatory practice and cultural domination. David’s qualifications also include an MA (Distinction) in Arts and Cultural Management, and a BA (First Class) in Art History. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and the Royal Society of Arts. David is on the editorial board of the international journal, Cultural Trends, and acts as external examiner for arts management and creative entrepreneurship programmes at Central St Martins, London and Aberdeen University. David has served as a board member of a number of arts organisations, and is currently on the board of the Out of the Blue Arts Education Trust. David has particular expertise in the following areas:

Cultural Policy, Cultural Participation, Cultural Value, Arts Management, Third Sector Governance, Strategic Management, Fundraising and Development, Qualitative Research Methods and Discourse Analysis 

David is open to undertaking PhD and Professional Doctorate supervision in any of these areas, and will also consider proposals in relation to the other, related topics.

Affiliations/Memberships to Other Organisations:

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Fellow of the RSA

Research/Knowledge Exchange Centre Membership:

David’s research is concerned with two distinct, but interrelated areas of enquiry. The first focuses on relations of power and the production of value within the cultural sector. His current, AHRC funded project in partnership with Leeds University explores the absence of failure within the dominant narrative of cultural participation policies. Previous research has considered power relationships within the cultural sector, cultural participation, and cultural value. David’s second strand of research seeks to provide insight and understanding about the contingent and context dependent nature of organisational success in the arts and cultural sector. The dominant narrative about organisational management in this sector is often one of crisis, and yet there are numerous individuals and organisations that have achieved ‘success’ through effectively managing their resources relative to both the environmental context in which they work and the inherent risks of the cultural production they take part in.

Active Research Interests:

  • Cultural policy, Cultural value, Cultural participation, Sustainability and resilience of subsidised arts organisations, Success and failure in the cultural sector, Participatory policy making, Relations of power in the cultural sector, Equality and diversity in cultural production and distribution

Research Methods:

  • Interpretative Policy Analysis, Discourse Analysis, Qualitative Content Analysis, Thematic Analysis, Qualitative Interviewing

Doctoral Supervision: 

David is interested in supervising PhDs and Professional Doctorates related to Arts Management and/or Cultural Policy. Live projects include:


  • Annetta Latham: What it means to fail, and is the bidding process enough? A case study of failure in bidding for the UK City of Culture.
  • Nicola Kane: Making Art & Making a Living: The role of festivals in contemporary arts careers (AHRC CES Scholarship in partnership with the University of Edinburgh)
  • Miriam Matthews: Digital Doctrines in Glasgow Museums: Digital interactive technologies and their influences on the relationships, networks and practices of Glasgow Museums (AHRC ARCS Scholarship in partnership with the University of Glasgow)
  • Adrian DeBattista: The constructions of Malta’s music scenes from the perspective of its members and that of national cultural policy imaginaries.

Professional Doctorate in Cultural Leadership

  • Bryan Beattie: The possibility of cultural rights within cultural policy
  • Janet Robertson: The role of evidence in cultural policy
  • Sheila Murray: Arts managers who are artists and the barriers they face to brining their creativity to work

Previous candidates

  • Katey Warran: Communities at the Fringe: An organisational ethnography of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society (AHRC CES Scholarship in partnership with the University of Edinburgh). Completed in 2021
  • 2016-2019: Capacity Building for Arts Managers in Malta. Funded by Arts Council Malta 
  • 2017-2018: Evaluation of the Get In rural promoters project: Funded by The Touring Network, Scotland
  • 2018-2020: Cultural Participation; stories of success, histories of failure: £200,000 AHRC funded project in partnership with Leeds University  
  • 2020-2025 Associate Director of the UK Centre for Cultural Value: Funded by AHRC, Arts Council England and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Please see my research publications in eResearch-Queen Margaret University's repository 

Drawing on his academic research alongside 10 years of management experience in the public and private sector, David teaches at both undergraduate and postgraduate level in the fields of Arts Management and Cultural Policy. While believing that creative practice should not be managed, he is an advocate of the need for effective strategic management in the running of cultural organisations. As such, his teaching focuses on the knowledge and skills required by those who wish to ensure the continued availability of the spaces and resources in which cultural activity can take place. David has previously taught across a variety of modules including: Critical Issues in Cultural Policy, Strategic Management and Finance, Leadership, Governance and Strategy (not for profit), Experiential Learning, Evaluating Arts and Cultural Projects, Managing and Marketing Cultural Projects and Festivals, and Fundraising and Development.

2013 – Convener of the one day colloquium on Cultural Policy in Scotland

2016 – Convener of the one day colloquium on Equality and Diversity in Cultural Production

2016 – On behalf of Arts Council Malta, delivered training on Strategic Management to a selected cohort of Maltese arts managers

2017 – Host for the American Association of Arts Administration Educators Annual Conference