Dr Les Johnson gained his PhD from Birmingham City University for his research in black popular culture, new media and design. He uses new media design processes and practice to explore and archive black music phenomena developing new research with colleagues for example in: jazz, reggae, hip-hop, blues, gospel, new forms and traditional music culture. His scholarly interests in these and other areas focus on creativity, innovation and praxis through collaborations, partnerships and peer review.
As a practicing artist, new media designer, musician and cultural entrepreneur he is well placed to offer practical insights into practice-driven scholarship. His PhD research is original and innovative in a number of different ways.
First, it has presented an innovative combination of practiced-based and practiced-led doctoral research as a means to explore and analyse tangible and intangible visual-sonic black cultural heritage to produce a new media prototype artefact that recontextualises and reorders the standard meanings applied to these materials.
Second, it provided a fresh approach to design and new media research by using cultural entrepreneurship as a methodological tool and critical element of what Johnson termed a ‘practice-driven’ doctoral design research approach.
And finally, it presented cultural visualisation as an important concept and new media design approach used to re-think, re-vision and re-present the black music subject, particularly reggae alongside other rhetorical vernaculars as forms of cultural heritage that highlight the importance of visual-sonic design and enterprise philosophy in Jamaican, British and black Diaspora cultures.