Dr Stephen Dobson

Dr Stephen Dobson


I am an Associate Professor of Creativity and Enterprise at the School of Performance and Cultural Industries, University of Leeds.  My PhD in Urban Planning is from the Department of Landscape, School of Architecture at the University of Sheffield and I am interested in the linkages between urban space and the performativity of the city through cultural practices and that of urban policy/planning practices, to support entrepreneurship and creative ecosystems. 

Research spans several areas relating to cultural and creative industries and entrepreneurship including; entrepreneurial identity and creative enterprise, the creative workplace and leadership for fostering innovation and creativity, critical management, cross-disciplinary creativity, cultural and creative industries policy, and digital enterprise. I regularly deliver entrepreneurship policy and creative leadership executive programmes for global partners including the West Kowloon Cultural District AUthority (WKCDA) and the Ghanaian Government (National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme).

I’ve worked extensively with international partners including British Council funded programmes with Hanoi University of Science and Technology (HUST) via the SEASON 2023 grant programme and previously through the British Council Higher Education Partnerships Programme (HEPP).

Board Positions:

2020-2023 Institute for SMall Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE)

2010-2015 European Academy of Management (EURAM)


  • Director for International Activities

Research interests

My research explores creative enterprise and innovation with a particular emphasis on developing country and global majority contexts as well as entreprenruship and tourism. Key publications exploring these areas include a three part special issue on Entrepreneurship in Africa in the Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development – the issues explored,  entrepreneurial dynamics in Africa, entrepreneurship education, and entrepreneurial eco-systems. In 2018 I lead the editorship of the Routledge book ‘Enterprising Africa: Transformation through entrepreneurship’. My work in entrepreneurship education is explored in the Journal of Business Research article ‘Entrepreneurial implementation intention as a tool to moderate the stability of entrepreneurial goal intention: A sensemaking approach’ as well as the Industry and Higfher Education article ‘Fail fast, fail often… but don’t fail this course! Business and enterprise education through the lens of theatre and the creative arts’.

Creative ecosystems are a significant part of my work and reflected in the two-volume book series ‘Creative (and Cultural) Industry Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century’ as well as ‘Challenges of building entrepreneurial ecosystems in peripheral places’ published in the Journal of Entreprenruship and Public Policy.

Work in urban development and culture spans numrous publications including ‘Urban development and complexity: Shannon entropy as a measure of diversity’ in Planning Practice and Research, ‘Diverse geographies of power and spatial production: Tourism industry development in the Yamal Peninsula, Northern Siberia’ Annals of Tourism Research, and ‘The embodied city and metropolitan landscape’ which is part of the  Routledge Handbook of Landscape Character Assessment.  The cultural landscape (urban/rural/micro/meso/macro) as a nexus for creativity, enterprise and development is a central thread to my work.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • BA (Hons)
  • MSc
  • PhD

Professional memberships

  • Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE)
  • Higher Education Academy (HEA)

Student education

Programme Leader for the MA Culture, Creativity and Entrepreneurship https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/courses/f018/culture,-creativity-and-entrepreneurship-ma

Module Leader for:

MA Creativity and Innovation Management

MA Entrepreneurship and Cultural Industries

MA Sustainability in the Arts and Creative Industries

BA Enterprise Project

BA Starting-up in the Cultural Industries

Academic Director for:

Executive Leadership Programme in Arts and Cultural industries https://business.leeds.ac.uk/faculty/news/article/646/new-executive-leadership-programme-in-arts-and-cultural-industries

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Cultural Policy

Current postgraduate researchers

<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="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>