Professor Dave O'Brien

Management School

Professor of Cultural and Creative Industries

Co-Director of BRISTT

Full contact details

Professor Dave O'Brien
Management School
Sheffield University Management School
Conduit Road
S10 1FL

Dave O'Brien joined Sheffield University Management School as Professor of Cultural and Creative Industries in January 2022.

He is a co-investigator at the Arts and Humanities Research Council's Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (AHRC PEC), and the AHRC funded Impact of Covid-19 on the Cultural Sector research project.

He has published extensively on inequality in the creative economy, including his latest book Culture is Bad for You, which is co-authored by Dr Mark Taylor and Dr Orian Brook, and the Creative Majority report on what works to support diversity in the creative industries, published by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Creative Diversity.

Research interests

My research covers several areas specific to cultural and creative industries, along with more general sociological questions. I have published extensively on questions of inequality in the cultural and creative industries, with a particular focus on social mobility in cultural and creative occupations. Inequality connects to my interest in equity, diversity and inclusion in the creative economy, an area which I have several academic and policy focused publications and research projects.

I have also, in connection with my work on inequalities in the workforce, researched inequalities in cultural consumption, using new data sources to understand the stratification of taste in contemporary society.

Both of these areas form my current research agenda, with several current and forthcoming papers, alongside research projects including the AHRC PEC.

Previously I have worked on questions concerning cultural value, and have also published on urban regeneration, particularly focused on culture-led regeneration and cultural events, including the European Capital of Culture.


Journal articles


  • Brook O, O'Brien D & Taylor M (2019) The creative economy, the creative class and cultural intermediation, CULTURAL INTERMEDIARIES CONNECTING COMMUNITIES: REVISITING APPROACHES TO CULTURAL ENGAGEMENT (pp. 27-41). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Matthews P, Astbury J, Brown J, Brown L, Connelly S & O'Brien D (2017) Evaluating legacy: The who, what, why, when and where of evaluation for community research, Valuing Interdisciplinary Collaborative Research: Beyond Impact (pp. 45-64). RIS download Bibtex download