I am an Associate Professor in the world leading School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester and have made significant contributions to shaping the field of cultural policy studies over 20 years. My 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. Since 2005 I have authored 2 books: Monumental Queensland: Signposts on a Cultural Landscape, (coauthored with Joanna Besley, 2004); and, The Uses of Art: Constructing Australian Identities (2001), 18 peer reviewed articles, 6 reports for the cultural sector, is editor of a book Valuing Historic Environments (with John Pendlebury, 2009), and of 5 special journal issues (Miles and Gibson 2016 & 2017; Gibson and Stevenson 2004; O’Regan, Gibson, Jeffcutt, 2004; and, Gibson and O’Regan 2002). Since 2005 I have been a member of the editorial committee of the International Journal of Cultural Policy and am a member of the AHRC ‘Care for the Future’ Steering Group.
In addition to leading work in the Gateshead and Peterborough ecosystems, I am also leading the mapping of assets and participation data across the ecosystems. A report on part of this work was published in 2018 Understanding Everyday Participation: the effect of place and space on patterns of participation in libraries and leisure centres (co-authored with Varina Delrieu). Another piece reporting on work undertaken in the Gateshead ecosystem with girls in care was published in 2016 Valuing Participation- The cultural and everyday activities of young people in care (co-authored with Delyth Edwards).
Alongside Dr. Eleonora Belfiore I am co-leading the histories part of the UEP project and we are currently putting the final touches to the edited book from this part of the project Histories of Cultural Participation, Values and Governance (Palgrave, forthcoming).
With Dr. Andrew Miles, I am also co-edited the two Understanding Everyday Participation issues of Cultural Trends (2016 & 2017). I supervised two of the PhD projects attached to UEP, those of Sarah Hughes and Ruth Webber (the latter working with Victoria Hollows at Glasgow Life) both of whom were based at Leicester.
I have a number of trajectories of interest in UEP’s emergent findings, but am above all committed to the project’s focus on the everyday and seeking to understand what it is that people do and the values and effects that attach and follow these activities. In particular, my frames of interest are in exploring the relationships, attendant values, stakes and effects as these are played out within individuals lives where they are involved in ‘facilitated participation’ (programmes which enable the participation in cultural activities of groups deemed to gain benefit from such access) and in relation to those same individuals’ ‘everyday participation’. I am also interested in adding location and place to the theorisation and analysis of the relationality of cultural consumption and cultural resources (cultural capital, cultural field and social group). Bennett, Savage, Silva, Warde, Gayo-Cal and Wright (2009) argued that recognizing the intersection of age, gender and ethnicity with class is useful in understanding social relations in contemporary Britain, in UEP the mapping work, alongside the other methods, seeks to establish whether we can understand place as an important addition to this frame.
Like most people my age who work and have kids there is no ‘everyday’ participation; however, on the weekends some activity outside of work and child ferrying does occur. Cooking- I do a good line in dinner parties and jam, and recently baked Samuel Pepys’ recipe for the cakes that led to the Great Fire of London; my NY resolution is to take on brewing- elderflower liquor is the next post- Winter project. Holidays have led to me rediscovering the charm of the British coast, although I’m never adverse to a quick trip to Australia!
Everyday Participation and Cultural Values in Glasgow (left, image Hugh Hood)