Professor, Arts Management and Cultural Policy


Tel: 0131 474 0000


Professor Rebecca Finkel (PhD, MA (Merit), BA (Hons) is a Professor of Critical Event Studies in the Media, Communication and Performing Arts Division and a full member of the Centre for Media, Culture and Communication. She is Director of the Research Centre for Communication, Cultural and Media Studies.

Professor Rebecca Finkel is a Professor of Critical Event Studies in the School of Arts, Social Sciences & Management as well as Senior Fellow of Higher Education Academy. She is committed to equality, diversity, and inclusion in education through her teaching practices and research focus, which frames critical event studies within conceptualisations of social justice, gender in/equality, and cultural identity. By utilising theory-driven approaches to generate interdisciplinary social science knowledge, her research addresses urgent societal issues.

Affiliations/Memberships to Other Organisations:

  • Organisational Committees & Boards
  • Association of Events Management Educators (AEME): Executive Committee, Treasurer (2009-2015)
  • Association for Tourism and Leisure Education (ATLAS): Executive Board, Treasurer (2012-2014)
  • Feminist and Women's Studies Association (FWSA):
  • Executive Committee, Publications Officer (2014-2017)
  • Scottish Feminist Academic Network: Co-Founder & Co-Executive (2012- )
  • Critical Events Studies Network: Founding Member (2014- )
  • Organisational Memberships: Leisure Studies Association (LSA), Tourism Society, British Sociological Association (BSA), Royal Geographical Society (RGS-IBG), Higher Education Academy (HEA)

Professional Social Media:

Research/Knowledge Exchange Centre Membership:

Rebecca is co-Editor of Routledge Critical Event Studies Research Book Series as well as Transforming international leisure in the pandemic (2022, Routledge); Multispecies leisure: Human-animal interactions in leisure landscapes (2021, Routledge); Gendered Violence at International Festivals (2020, Routledge); Accessibility, Inclusion, and Diversity in Critical Event Studies (2018, Routledge); Research Themes in Events (2014, CABI). She has published in gender studies, cultural management, urban geography, media, leisure, tourism, and events journals and books, including co-editing special issues in highly rated journals. Also, she is on the Editorial Boards of Leisure Studies; Frontiers in Sport, Leisure and Tourism; Journal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events; International Journal of Event and Festival Management; Festival Culture Research and Education; and Interdisciplinary Perspectives in Equality & Diversity.

Active Research Interests:

  • Critical event studies, cultural identity, gender in/equality, social inclusion, feminist post-humanism, community festivals

Research Methods:

  • Qualitative approaches: ethnography, participant observation, in-depth interviews, focus groups, participatory research, action research, visual methods, content analysis including social media analysis

Rebecca has consulted for the Hong Kong Government and London Development Agency about investment in creative industries, and most recently consulted for Police Scotland about gendered perceptions of safety in festival spaces and Edinburgh St James Centre about accessibility and inclusion outreach and engagement. Additionally, she has been invited to deliver keynotes, workshops, seminars throughout the UK, Europe, Trinidad & Tobago, Chengdu (China), Austin (USA) on festivals and cultural events.

Her current SFC-funded project entitled, 'Film festivals, audiences, and COVID-19: Crisis, community, and digital comeback', centres on the changing cultural landscape in Scotland through a focus on film festivals and digitalisation. The project, co-investigated with Dr Lesley-Ann Dickson, focuses on how COVID-19 has had a strategic impact on film festivals in Scotland and seeks to understand the changes caused by a rapid shift to digital for both festival producers and audience communities.

Other funded projects include: 

  • Place Specific Approaches to Sustainable Prosperity in the Arts & Cultural Sector (PI; 2021) funded by The Royal Society of Edinburgh's Saltire Research Award
  • Film festivals, audiences and COVID-19; Crisis, community and digital comeback (PI; 2021) funded by The Scottish Funding Council
  • Accessibility, Inclusions, Diversity Outreach (Co-PI; 2019) funded by Edinburgh's St James Centre
  • Constructions and Commodification of Masculinity at Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo (PI; 2014) funded by The Carnegie Research Grant

Rebecca believes in research-driven teaching, and, thus, draws from interdisciplinary literatures to inform her approaches. She delivers modules on both the BA (Hons) Events & Festival Management programme and the MA Arts Festivals and Cultural Management programme.

She supervises PhD students on a broad range of media, culture, communication, and critical event studies topics, and has internally and externally examined doctoral Vivas across the UK and internationally.

She was Programme Leader for the BA (Hons) Events Management programme for eight years and module co-ordinator for the Business School's Honours Dissertations for six years, where she project managed supervision, marking, and research ethics as well as taught classes to guide students through the research and writing up processes.

Rebecca created and developed the majority of modules she delivers, which allows for research-informed teaching and constructive alignment. External Examiner and student feedback is extremely positive overall, as evidenced by her QMU Student Union STaR Best Research Supervisor Award and Engaging & Inspiring Teaching Award and nominations for Best Distance Teaching Award and twice for the Graduate's Award. Along with traditional instruments, innovative assessment developments include the latest digital and technological advancements to enhance employability and accessibility.

Rebecca has been awarded numerous research grants, including from SFC, ESRC, Carnegie Trust, Santander, Urban Communication Foundation, Maureen Harrington Fund, Racing Foundation, Leisure Studies Association, and has large grants from RSE, CHANSE, and AHRC currently under review.

Additionally, she was awarded Best Paper in Research in Teaching and Learning with Dr Majella Sweeney by CHME about their work on international collaborative knowledge exchange in Trinidad & Tobago.