Professor Lisanne Gibson

  • Dean of Social Sciences and Humanities
  • Professor of Culture and Society

Lisanne is the Dean of the School of Social Sciences and Humanities at Loughborough University and Professor of Culture and Society.

She is a specialist in the study of the relations between culture and 'the social'. Lisanne researches, publishes and teaches across the fields of heritage and museum studies, cultural and cultural policy studies, cultural geography, and sociology. Her research advances understanding of the societal effects of historic and contemporary cultural investment, especially in relation to urban development; policy and value; and vernacular cultural heritage. Lisanne has published many high impact publications including 4 books and 18 high impact articles.  Those with particularly high impact (top-10 cited) include articles on policy and value (Miles & Gibson 2016; Gibson 2008; Gibson 2002; Gibson 1999) and urban development (Gibson & Stevenson 2004). Her book on the history of cultural policy, The Uses of Art (Gibson 2001), was reviewed as ‘a major contribution’ (top-20 cited from this Press) and on cultural policy and heritage, Valuing Historic Environments (Gibson & Pendlebury 2008), as ‘definitely among my top titles for any new secretary of state or minister of culture to read’. Gibson 2008 was republished in a collection of the 22 most important publications in the cultural policy field. These and other publications were part of 2 x top UK RAE/ REF unit returns.

Lisanne has been Principal Investigator (PI) for over £1million (equiv.) in externally funded research projects in the UK, USA and Australia. She has been awarded Research Fellowships at research centres including: Australian National University (2010); The Center for Arts and Cultural Policy, Princeton University (2004-5); The Australian Centre, University of Melbourne (2001-3) The Australian Key Centre for Cultural and Media Policy, Griffith University (1999-2000); American Studies, New York University (1998). She joined the small team in the School of Museum Studies at Leicester in 2005, contributing to it becoming the world’s leading Museum Studies unit.

Lisanne's expertise has been recognised by invitations to act as 1 of 2 expert witnesses at the 2016 Parliamentary Select Committee Enquiry on UK cultural funding, keynote for a 2009 Department of Communication, Media and Sport event on cultural value for national portfolio organisations, and keynote on art and citizenship at the National Gallery of Victoria (Australia) alongside the Director of the Hermitage Gallery (2015).

Since 2005, Lisanne has been a member of the editorial committee of the field leading International Journal of Cultural Policy and is frequently used as a referee for other journals and book series in the cultural policy and heritage studies fields. She is co-editor of the Palgrave 'Studies in Cultural Participation' book series (Gibson and Miles). She has been a member of Steering Groups and Funding Panels for a range of research funders including the AHRC, British Council, HERA, Norwegian and Dutch Research Councils. From 2011 to 2019 she was a member of the Advisory Committee for the AHRC major theme ‘Care for the Future: Thinking Forward through the Past’.

Lisanne has been an external examiner for Master's in Cultural Management and Cultural Policy at Northumbria University, and the Universities of Warwick and Brighton as well as for PhD examinations at universities in Australia and the UK.

From 2016 to 2019 Lisanne was the University of Leicester College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities Dean of Research and from 2019 to 2021 was Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor Research for the University.

Lisanne has authored high impact publications and won substantial funding for her research on a range of cultural policy issues including gallery and museum histories, monuments and public art, cultural heritage, creative industries, cultural development, culture-led urban development and cultural values. The overarching argument in her work generally is that cultural ‘pump-priming’ of any kind must be clear-eyed not only about its economic and cultural effects but more importantly its social and political effects.

Lisanne is currently working on a monograph 'Understanding Everyday Participation- Culture, Place and Inequality' (Miles and Gibson, Palgrave, 2022). This discusses the findings of the AHRC funded £1.5 million project 'Understanding Everyday Participation- Articulating Cultural Value' which ran from 2012 to 2018. In addition to this monograph she co-edited the two 'Understanding Everyday Participation' special issues of the journal Cultural Trends (Miles and Gibson, 2016 and 17). Alongside Professor Eleonora Belfiore, Lisanne co-led the histories part of this project published as 'Histories of Participation, values and governance' (Palgrave, 2019).

You can find out more about the project online.

  • University of Leicester PI (£565,000) 'Understanding Everyday Participation- Articulating Cultural Values', AHRC Connected Communities funded £1.5 million project, 2012-2018 (PI Prof Andrew Miles, University of Manchester).
  • PI, 'Museums and the Politics of Urban Development in Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong', British Academy, 2010-201
  • PI, (John Pendlebury- Co-I), 'Valuing Historic Environments: Concepts, Instrumentalisations and Effects', EPSRC, Universities of Leicester and Newcastle, 2006-7.
  • PI, ‘Culture Circuits: An Examination of the International Movements and Influence of Ideas and Personnel Shaping Contemporary Cultural Policy’, Princeton University, 2004- 5
  • Co-I (Tom O'Regan-PI), ‘Cultural Policy and “The Independents” in Australia and Britain’, Australian Research Council, 2002- 2004
  • PI, ‘Tropical Creative Cities’, University of Melbourne, 2003
  • PI, ‘Public Art and Heritage - History, Practice, Policy’, Australian Research Council, 2001- 2003
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, The Australian Key Centre for Cultural and Media Policy, 1999-2000
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, 'The Privatisation of Culture Project', New York University, 1998

Lisanne is available to supervise PhD projects in fields related to her interests and expertise:

Approaches: Cultural Policy Studies (inc. histories of), Heritage Studies, Leisure Studies, Sociology

Subjects: Urban Heritage, Culture-led Regeneration, Cultural Tourism, Cultural Value, Cultural Participation, Foucault culture and society, Bourdieu culture and society

PhD projects supervised as Primary Supervisor:

  • Daniel Turetsky: Living religion, lifeless Judaica: decoding the relationship between curator, narrative and ritual objects at Israel’s faith-based heritage exhibitions (submitted 2021)
  • Sumi Kim: 'Curating Culture, Exhibiting Nation: The Development of South Korea’s Cultural Diplomacy and Korean Exhibitions in ‘Universal’ Museums' (awarded 2020)
  • Louisa Kramer: 'Museum Management Supporting Sustainable Development in the German Art Museum' (awarded 2020)
  • Yeung Yeung Fok:(awarded 2020) 'Understanding Heritage Policy and Politics in Hong Kong from 1970 to 2018’
  • Elena Settimini: (awarded 2020) 'The preservation of cultural landscape and the enablement of living heritage in the Vineyard Landscape of Langhe-Roero and Monferrato'
  • Katy Bunning: (awarded 2019) 'Addressing Race at the Smithsonian: Exploring the implications of the new 'culturally specific' museums'
  • Ruth Webber (AHRC funded Collaborative Doctoral Award with Glasgow Life): 'Picturing Home: exploring the everyday home-making practices of migrant, refugee and asylum-seeking women in Glasgow' (awarded 2018)
  • Sarah Hughes (AHRC funded studentship in the 'Understanding Everyday Participation' project): 'Understanding Cultural Participation and Value in Barnsley' (awarded 2018)
  • Geuntae Park, 'The Role of Cultural Institutions in Urban Rebranding: Newcastle-Gateshead in the UK and Gwangju in Korea(awarded 2015)
  • Anna Woodham, 'Museums and the Geography of School Visits' (ESRC funded studentship Joint-supervised with Prof Martin Phillips, Geography, awarded 2009)

PhD projects supervised as Second Supervisor:

  • Ashild Brekke: ‘Changing practices: a qualitative study of drivers for change in Norwegian museums and archives’ (awarded 2018)
  • Ariane Karbe: ‘Learning from Hollywood? Narrating exhibitions with suspense’ (awarded 2018)
  • Victoria McGuinness: ‘Projects, people, and purpose – agile-frameworks for museum capital projects’ (awarded 2018)
  • Mercy Trent: ‘Networks, relationships, and social change: reimagining the museum as a key actor in a system of social progress and responsibility.  A case study of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’ (awarded 2018)
  • Anna Mikyailova: ‘Spatial Evolution of a Museum Building:the Case of the State Historical Museum in Moscow (1875-1997)’ (awarded 2017)
  • Da Kong: ‘Imaging China: China's cultural diplomacy through loan exhibitions to British museums’ (awarded 2016)
  • Mona Ali: ‘Rethinking Visitors Studies for the United Arab Emirates: Sharjah Museums as Case Study’ (awarded 2016)
  • Serena Iervolino: ‘Ethnographic Museums in Mutation Experiments with Exhibitionary Practices in Post/Colonial Europe’ (awarded 2014)
  • Donna McFarlane: ‘Representing Blackness: Marcus Garvey and the Politics of Museology in Post-Colonial Jamaica@ (awarded 2013)

Research Project Supervision:

  • Clore Fellowship, Sarah Stannage, ‘21st Century Society: Exploring community, leadership and connectivity in small museums in local settings’, 2010-13

External PhD Examinations:

  • Kershaw, Anne 2017, 'Coproduction in museums: a study of museum work with culturally diverse communities', Department of Marketing, Deakin University.
  • Rimi Khan, 2011, 'Reconstructing Community-Based Arts: Cultural Value and the Neoliberal Citizen', School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne
  • Chi-Jung Chu, 2010, ‘The changing relationship between the state and museums: a case study of Taiwan (1908-2008)’, Department of Geography and Environment, London School of Economics
  • Nicole Porter, 2009, 'The promotion and production of contemporary landscape', Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, University of Melbourne
  • Janine Sager, 2008, ‘The contemporary visual art audience: space, time and a sideways glance’, Faculty of Visual and Performing Arts, University of Western Sydney
  • Belinda Jane Nemec, 2006, 'The Grainger Museum in its Museological and Historical Contexts', Australian Centre, University of Melbourne.
  • Tania Cleary, 2006, ‘The new museum function, form and politics’, Faculty of Arts, Griffith University

Selected publications