Professor Rachel Granger

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About me

Rachel joined the College of Business and Law at UWE in August 2023, and worked previously at Leicester Castle Business School (Chair of Urban Economies) and De Montfort University (Research Director, Creative and Heritage Industries). Rachel is a professor in urban economies and a college dean for research and enterprise. 

Her research is naturally hybrid, drawing together the fields of cities, economics, innovation, economic growth, and regeneration. Rachel conducts normative research on the performance of creative industries in urban economies, and engages in practice-based research and policy design on creative and digital industries, innovation, and smart cities. 

Current research includes investigations into the performance and impact of creative cities, digital-led and technical innovation, and the role of design leadership and collaborative governance in smart cities. Through this research are core questions of the changing nature and impact of creative economies as knowledge-intensive businesses, innovative processes, and collaborative and trans-disciplinary innovation.

Rachel's recent monograph, Myths and Catalysts in the Creative Industries (Routledge) provides a critical review of current thinking in the creative economy; developing a new '6 Models of the Creative Industries' as a major pillar for developed economies. Collaboration with the Asia Pacific University in Malaysia is exploring how creative activities can act as a calalyst for building sustainable societies (Springer), while earlier work on value construction in the creative economy (Palgrave) has enabled exploration of several research projects on Hidden Culture (AHRC), Rural Creative Industries (AHRC/Creative UK), and outsourcing.   

Area of expertise

Rachel is especially interested in the role of networks in developing knowledge transfer and innovation in cities, new business models and spaces for promoting creative and digital industries, and the role of cities as a catalyst for creative, knowledge, and smart industrial growth.

Rachel has worked previously with Creative Scotland, the Western Ireland Development Commission, Province of British Columbia, individual theatre companies, regional development agencies and LEPs, and several London boroughs to examine value impacts of creative and digital sectors, creative workers, and value chains. Rachel's work on developing new techniques in 'spatial-relational mapping' of creative industries has led to new economic approaches and software development, using data sourcing (https://FLOKK.online whilst her recent work on innovation has supported Leicestershire's work on MIT REAP, textiles restructuring in the East and West Midlands, and design as a major pole for economic growth. 

Rachel works closely with national and international stakeholders on the Create Growth Programme (DCMS), Community Improvement Districts (Power to Change/urban high streets), innovation labs (Underbroen Copenhagen, Civic Lab Derby), and design-led growth (Design Council, England, Society for Local Council Clerks).  

Rachel welcomes PhD enquiries in the following areas:

  • Creative and Smart Cities
  • Economic and Social Impact of Cultural and Creative Industries
  • Knowledge Transfer and Innovation, including Quintuple Helix and Creative Hubs
  • Urban Innovation and Learning Labs in Disruption
  • Collaborative Innovation
  • Urban Regeneration


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