About City
  1. Schools and departments
  2. Education
  3. Rector and President
  4. Governance and leadership
  5. Working at City
  6. History of City
  7. More about City
  8. Campus map
  9. Contact us
  1. Arts and Social Sciences
  2. Sociology
  3. Culture & the Creative Industries
  4. Research in Culture & the Creative Industries
  5. Research students
About City

Kathy Williams

PhD Student

Department of Culture & Creative Industriesnull

E: kathy.williams.1@city.ac.uk

PhD title: Making Space, Making History: Cultural Work, Heritage and The Production of Space at Southbank Centre

Dr. Jo Littler

Summary of current doctoral research

Kathy's PhD provides a theoretically-informed ethnographic analysis of how cultural workers at Southbank Centre relate to the layered histories of cultural work and to the complex historical legacies which co-exist at this organisation. The research identifies some of the key moments and different phases of cultural work connected to this organisation and examines in what ways awareness of these is used, recycled and reframed by cultural workers today.

In the process the research brings together theorisations of cultural work, the production of cultural space and the subjective experiences of cultural workers, enriching understandings of all three realms and the imbrication between them. It generates insight into the ways in which contemporary cultural work is produced in relation to historical and cultural geographies and how these histories can be mobilised - ignored, commodified, and represented - in the present.

By telling some of the stories of cultural work at Southbank Centre it unpacks tensions between the creation of a ‘sense of place’ and the diverse histories which coalesce at this institution. In a wider sense, then, the research aims to extend knowledge on the lived experiences of cultural workers in renowned cultural institutions and the ways in which the production of historicised cultural space is integral to their work.

Research interests

Cultural workers, creative Industries, cultural studies, cultural geographies, space, immaterial and affective labour, cultural ethnography, cultural institutions, heritage studies, sociology

Higher education background

Kathy holds an MA in Cultural and Creative Industries from King’s College, London and a BA in English from the University of Sussex. She also holds an Introductory Certificate in Academic Practice, a Secondary English PGCE and a Trinity TESOL Certificate.

Awards and Grants  

2011- 2018 Labour Markets in the Cultural Sector: City University Bursary

Public Presentations and Conference Papers Given

  • 25/04/2018 Research reflections roundtable: Work, class and gender ‘Work and Exploitation’ City, University of London Department of Sociology
  • 06/09/2017 ‘Spatial Mediation: Democratic Access and the Production of Space at Southbank Centre’ CAMEo Research Institute for Cultural and Media Economies CFP: Mediating Cultural Work: Texts, Objects and Politics
  • 03/02/2016 Cultural and Creative Industries Seminar Group City, University of London Department of Sociology
  • 30/11/2012 Urban Geography Research Group Conference: Mobile    Urbanisms, King’s College, London Pecha-Kucha Presentation.


  • Williams, K. and O’Brien, D. (2017).  ‘Building the Creative City: London's Southbank and the Archaeology of Creative Spaces’ in Unlocking the Creative City. Re-assembling Why Cities Are Agents of Change and Innovation. London: Routledge.
  • Williams, K. (2016). Review of Greg Hearn, Ruth Bridgstock, Ben Goldsmith and Jess Rodgers (eds) (2014) Creative Work Beyond The Creative Industries: Innovation, Employment and Education. UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, in Work, Employment and Society. Vol. 30. Issue 6. Pp. 1053-1055


  • Feb 2019 and 2018 Guest Lecture, Southern Spaces Seminar, BA English SOAS, University of London
  • Dec 2017 Guest Lecture on characteristics and varieties of organisations and management of cultural production, MSc Media Management, Middlesex University London
  • 2013- 2016 Visiting Lecturer for BA Cultural and Creative Industries, City University London. Co-designer of module content, lecturer and seminar tutor on core Cultural and Creative Industries, the Arts and Popular Culture module.
  • Feb 2013 Creative Cities Lecture and Cultural Value Workshop, City University London Workshop tutor for Contemporary Cultural Policy in the UK module, MA Culture, Policy and Management.
  • Feb 2013 Sector Professionals Workshop, City University London Participation and Learning in the Cultural Sector, MA Culture, Policy and Management.
  • Nov 2012 Guest Lecture, King’s College London Gentrification and the Creative Class Core Module, MA/MSc Creative Cities
  • Mar 2012 Research in the Real World Workshop, City University London Researching People and Events in the Creative Industries, Cultural and Creative Industries Foundation Degree
  • Mar 2012 London as a Creative City, City University London Lecture and workshop session for Contemporary Cultural Policy in the UK, MA Culture, Policy and Management