Professor David Hesmondhalgh


I did my PhD in the 1990s at Goldsmiths, University of London, on independent record companies and their links with punk, post-punk and rave culture, supervised by Georgina Born. My first full-time teaching and research job was also at Goldsmiths. I worked in the Sociology department at the Open University from 1999 to 2007 where I chaired the production of a major course, Understanding Media, including five books. I've been at Leeds since 2007, and was Head of the Institute of Communications Studies from June 2010 to December 2013 - this was the name of the School of Media and Communication prior to August 2014.

Much of my research has been about music. My book, Why Music Matters (published in September 2013), was about the ways in which music might enhance people's lives, individually and collectively, and what often stops it from doing so. It's been translated into Spanish and Russian.

I'm also known for my research on media industries and media production. My book The Cultural Industries (Sage) is an analysis of changes and continuities in television, film, music, publishing and other industries since the 1980s, and of the rise of new media and cultural industries during that time. The fourth edition, published in December 2018, is a thoroughly revised, updated and expanded version of the third, published in 2012. It's now unrecognisable from the first edition of 2002, and has grown to over 600 pages. It's been translated into various languages, including Chinese, Russian and Italian.

Another widely cited book is Creative Labour: Media Work in Three Cultural Industries, (co-written with Sarah Baker), and published in 2010, examined work in the contemporary media and cultural industries.It was based on research funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council from 2006 to 2009. Various articles and chapters have also appeared based on this project. I set up the ECREA Media Indsutries and Cultural Production Working Group in 2010 (ECREA is the European Communication Reseach and Education Association) and chaired it through its transition to a successful Section, stepping down in 2018.

Culture, Economy and Politics: The Case of New Labour, published by Palgrave in September 2015, and co-written with three colleagues: Kate Oakley, David Lee and Melissa Nisbett, was a critical study of the cultural policies of the British 'New Labour' government of 1997 to 2010. It covered arts and 'creative industries' policies, heritage, regional cultural development, and various other issues, and was based on research funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council from 2011 to 2013. 

I've also edited various books and a special journal issue on 'Race, ethnicity and cultural production', jointly with Anamik Saha.

I'm often asked how,my name is pronounced. Here's my attempt to transcribe it: 'Hez-mun-dalch' with the stress on the first syllable. But nearly everyone gets it wrong, and I really don't mind. The name comes from East Lancashire, and so do I, but I live in Yorkshire now.

Research interests

My research interests include the following, and I welcome PhD enquiries in these and other areas:

  • Media industries/cultural industries/creative industries
  • All aspects of media and cultural production, contemporary and historical
  • Music, society and culture, including popular music
  • Social theory and theories of media, and the relations between them
  • Media work, employment, careers etc.
  • Media and cultural policy
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • BA Oxford, MA Northwestern, PhD London
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>