School of Social and Political Science

Dr Orian Brook

Job Title

Chancellor's Fellow

Photo of Orian

Research interests

Research interests

My research focuses on social and spatial inequalities in the creative economy, particularly how space and class interact are implicated in both cultural participation and creative careers. I am an AHRC Creative and Digital Economy Innovation Leadership Fellow, exploring how places can shapes social disparities in cultural consumption; dual jobholding and precarity in creative careers; and the relationship between racially minoritised audiences and White-run venues. 

My doctorate at the University of St Andrews used spatial modelling of cultural participation to explore how access to cultural opportunities (such as museums and performing arts venues) intersects with education and ethnicity, in particular, in explaining attendance at these venues. More recently I have been exploring social mobility in the creative economy, in a mixed methods project which used both the ONS Longitudinal Study of England and Wales and 235 semi-structured interviews with creative workers, and worked with colleagues to deliver the report "Panic! Social Class, Taste and Inequalities in the Creative Industries". I am co-author of the book Culture is Bad for You with Manchester University Press.


I joined Social Policy in 2021 as a Chancellor's Fellow, having spent the previous three years working in Edinburgh College of Art, first as a Research Associate, then as an AHRC Creative and Digital Economy Leadership Fellow. I research social and spatial inequalities, and how they intersect, with a focus on the cultural sector, creative economy and creative occupations. I have particular interest in the use of administrative data, data linkage and digital methods.

Before coming to Edinburgh I was a Research Fellow on the Scottish Civil Society Data Partnership, taught advanced quantitative methods at University of Glasgow, and undertook my PhD at University of St Andrews, supervised by Profs Chris Dibben and Flowerdew. Prior to my PhD, I was Research Director at what became The Audience Agency, and worked in marketing and audience research for a number of arts organisations in London.

Works within

Publications by user content

Publication Research Explorer link
Brook O, Miles A, O’Brien D, Taylor M. Social mobility and ‘openness’ in creative occupations since the 1970s. Sociology. 2022 Nov 17;1-22.
Brook O, O'Brien D, Taylor M. Culture is bad for you: Inequality in the cultural and creative industries. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2020. 384 p.
Brook O, O'Brien D, Taylor M. 'There's no way that you get paid to do the arts’: Unpaid labour across the cultural and creative life course. Sociological Research Online. 2020 Feb 4.
Brook O, O'Brien D, Taylor M. Inequality talk: How discourses by senior men reinforce exclusions from creative occupations. European Journal of Cultural Studies. 2019 Dec 12;N/A:1-16.
O'Brien D, Brook O, Taylor M. The Creative Economy, The Creative Class, and Cultural Intermediation. In Jones P, Perry B, Long P, editors, Cultural Intermediaries Connecting Communities: Revisiting Approaches to Cultural Engagement. Policy Press. 2019
O'Brien D, Brook O, Taylor M. Panic! Social Class, Taste and Inequalities in the Creative Industries. 2018. 41 p.
Brook O. Spatial equity and cultural participation: how access influences attendance at museums and galleries in London. Cultural Trends. 2016 Jan 18;25(1):21-34.
Brook O. Editorial. Cultural Trends. 2016 Jan 2;25(1).
Brook O. Explaining cultural participation in the UK: a geographical approach. 2015.
Brook O. Reframing models of arts attendance: Understanding the role of access to a venue. The case of opera in London. Cultural Trends. 2013 Jun 1;22(2):97-107.
Brook O. International comparisons of public engagement in culture and sport. Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2011.
Brook O, Boyle PJ, Flowerdew R. Geographic analysis of cultural consumption. In Spatial and Social Disparities: Understanding Population Trends and Processes. 1 ed. Vol. 2. Springer. 2010. p. 67-82