Les Johnson

Visiting Research Fellow and Convenor of Black Popular Culture Research Group

Birmingham School of Media

Dr Les Johnson is a Visiting Research Fellow in the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media at Birmingham City University. He was awarded his PhD for research into cultural visualisation, entrepreneurship and innovation. He is an alumnus of the Royal College of Art and was CEO of multi-award winning design, media, marketing and management consultancy firm Equator International. He has worked for; BBC, Channel 4, Carlton Television,The Arts Council, The Tate, the South Bank Centre, Design Museum, IBM, BPI, Clydesdale Bank, Virgin and Sony among many other culturaldevelopment organisations including local, regional and central government.

Dr Johnson has served on a range of Boards, has been a Non-Executive Director and consultant for public and private sector organisations at local, regional and national levels in the U.K. He also works internationally as counsel, lecturer and a consultant in business development and culture sectors.

His academic interests, cultural studies, entrepreneurship and philanthropy are channeled through his foundation where he supports a range of projects, research and enterprise.

Dr Les Johnson is founder and Chair of the National Windrush Museum set up to research, document, exhibit, and preserve the legacy of the Windrush generation and their successors.

Born in Jamaica, he is a part of the second wave of Windrush migrants to Britain in the 1960s. His design pedagogy experience has been applied to learning and teaching in a variety of education institutions. His expertise in practice-based and practiced led research have been combined to innovate a practice-driven methodology.

He initiated Reggae Music Archive research at BCU, and co-produced his Reggae and Sound System Innovation research to implement his doctoral analysis. Dr Johnson established a partnership to develop a MOU between BCU and the University of West Indies, Institute of Caribbean Studies.

He has been co-convenor of major international conferences such as; Reggae Innovation and Sound System Culture at Birmingham City University, Royal Birmingham Music Conservatoire, and University of West Indies. He initiated, then co-produced a successful funding bid with colleagues for international exchanges between the Birmingham City University and the University of West Indies and has delivered the prestigious Bob Marley Lecture at UWI. His research innovation led to the development of a new genre-Reggae Futurism and new knowledge resulting from study. The research will culminate in the establishment of a Reggae Music Archive. His research model is being used to establish other Black popular culture/music innovation projects. These include symposiums, new media, exhibitions, music and publications conceptualised in his doctoral research.

Dr Les Johnson serves as co-Chair of an international advisory group for the Jamaican Museum and Cultural Centre (Atlanta). He is working on a series of projects to study tangible and intangible Jamaican cultural heritage. This innovation research aims to promote cultural heritage tourism, and a major international Jamaica festival inspired by the Jamaica 60-celebration of Jamaican independence, 

Dr Johnson is a member of the Royal Society of Arts. He is a practising visual artist, musician and community development activist. He spends his time between research and consultancy bases in the U.K and Jamaica, West Indies.

Areas of Expertise
Postgraduate Supervision
Work With Industry