Dr Jaleesa Renee Wells

Job: Lecturer in Arts and Festivals Management

Faculty: Arts, Design and Humanities

School/department: School of Visual and Performing Arts

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH

T: 0116 257 7196

E: jaleesa.wells@dmu.ac.uk

W: http://www.jaleesarenee.com


Personal profile

Jaleesa has a background in the arts, both as a practitioner and an administrator. Beginning her career in theatre and opera management, Jaleesa specialises in research, policy, general management, finance, and marketing across arts fields. Before joining De Montfort University, she worked as the finance manager at a theatre company in Chicago, in addition to completing a master’s degree in Arts Administration and Policy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Her research explores arts management and creative enterprise through the perspectives of organisational studies, social innovation, and hybrid entrepreneurship. Additionally, Jaleesa incorporates creative methods in her qualitative research studies. She has presented award-winning papers at international conferences on the topics of creative industries and social enterprise. Concurrently, her socially engaged arts practice incorporates poetry, performance, craft, and design to explore identity and intersectionality in an arts and culture context.

Research group affiliations

Stephen Lawrence Research Centre

Cultural and Creative Industries Research Group 

Publications and outputs 

  • Mapping the Landscape of Creative Industries Research in Scotland
    Mapping the Landscape of Creative Industries Research in Scotland Wells, Jaleesa; Bernal, M. This searchable excel database provides a summary of the current research landscape across Scotland’s nineteen academic institutions, identifying research and researchers in the field of the creative industries. The database is an output of a short-term project to review research activity in relation to the Creative Industries in Scotland. The work was conducted in Spring 2017 by two doctoral consultants Marta Bernal Valencia (University of Edinburgh) and Jaleesa Wells (University of Strathclyde) as part of a partnership between Creative Scotland and the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities. This database has been created in an attempt to identify academic works that may help us understand how Scotland's HEI explore issues of sustainability and growth in the creative industries. The works here included are accessible research outputs collected from databases, university repositories and the UK and Scottish Funding Council websites. They've been mainly written by scholars belonging to business schools and schools of arts. You will find a wide range of works consisting of academic publications, conference proceedings, workshops, working papers, festivals, exhibitions, installations, concerts, performances and any other types of research outcomes and engagements within the creative industries. All the works include their authors, universities involved, title, abstract and keywords as well as a link to the original publication source. The academic works have been clustered around the four headline aims of Creative Scotland's Creative Industries Strategy to facilitate the navigation of the database. Access to the database is via Creative Scotland website. For further information contact: research@creativescotland.com
  • Entrepreneurial axiology: hybrid values in creative social enterprise
    Entrepreneurial axiology: hybrid values in creative social enterprise Wells, Jaleesa Objectives Engaging in the lived experiences of creative social entrepreneurs, we ask what is valuable about the creative process, and how does this process advance research about hybrid values in entrepreneurship? We explore the axiology of creativity, social-value, and enterprise in the emergent area of creative social enterprise in Scotland. Prior Work Both the creative industries and social enterprise are important growth sectors in Scotland (Social Value Lab & Glasgow Social Enterprise Network 2015; The Scottish Government 2015). While traditionally separate sectors, together they create an entrepreneurial phenomenon: creative social enterprise. This paper draws from research conducted on values of creativity in business studies (Shane & Nicolaou 2015; Ward 2004; Zampetakis & Moustakis 2006). We also examine research that addresses the use of “hybridity” as a dominant theme in social enterprise research (Battilana & Lee 2014; Doherty et al. 2014). Creative social enterprise exposes a redundant supporting rhetoric spanning the logic of the socio-economic development properties of both the creative industries and social enterprise sectors. Additionally, in praxis, there is both an upsurge of social entrepreneurs using the value of creative arts engagement to achieve their missions, and an increase in creative entrepreneurs developing social agendas to achieve their respective missions. This paper focuses on exploring the hybrid values surrounding creative entrepreneurs who have developed creative social enterprises. We are concerned a possible paradoxical juxtaposition, which imposes a dominant assumption of monetary value on creative social enterprises, and reduces the understanding of creative and social values. Approach Using an interpretivist approach with roots in phenomenological inquiry and heuristic analysis, we bring a group of creative social entrepreneurs together in an exploratory setting. This space creates conversations focused on how the creative process constructs adaptive business. Furthermore, in interrogating how hybrid ideals come to create several juxtapositions, we explore the importance of failure and growth for a creative social entrepreneur; the parallels between internal purpose vs external focus; and the value of alternative space as collaboration between creativity entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship. Findings While full data-analysis is still ongoing, early results show that creative social entrepreneurs are juggling a plurality of traditional business expectations, in conflict with a desire to provide sustainable solutions to their communities and embrace an adaptive nature of creativity. Initially, this conflict is a result of the dominant “ideal hybrid organization”. This dominance exposes a space where entrepreneurial theories of creative social enterprise can expand to include issues of creative and social value. Further, it is difficult to build a creative social enterprise theory without understanding the value of creative entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship, contemporaneously. Implications The conclusion of this paper marks a beginning; the paper offers data to support agencies able to use information from participants in developing more robust programs of support. It provides broader entrepreneurial insights into the value of merging the creative industries and social enterprise sectors, and develops a discussion illustrating entrepreneurial lessons within creative social enterprise. We have found that these hybrid organizations exist in some abundance throughout Scotland, which allows us access to a place of special relevance for socio-economic development policy. Ultimately, this paper offers insights into the plurality of ownership and sustainability of hybridity spaces within creative social enterprises as it emerges, which in turn leads to more opportunities for innovation and growth. Value The immediate value is offering the participants access to the research through internal and external engagements. This allows them to engage within a reflexive space, where further feedback can be generated. We propose that these types of “living spaces” will prove to be rich opportunities for policymakers and support agencies to engage with on the entrepreneurial process.
  • Phenomenological methodology: crafting the story of Scotland’s creative social enterprises
    Phenomenological methodology: crafting the story of Scotland’s creative social enterprises Wells, Jaleesa Drawing on research that considers the contributions of qualitative methods in developing entrepreneurship theories, this paper discusses narrative inquiry, and inclusive dramaturgical devices such as storytelling, improvisation, and intention, for advancing knowledge about creative social enterprises. The paper explores the methodological pertinence of developing a creative praxis to explore the hybrid space of creative social enterprise. To date, little attention has been paid to the critically reflexive importance of engaging in a creative praxis for entrepreneurship theory building. To address this, the paper explores a nascent entrepreneurial phenomenon, creative social enterprise, by engaging in the living experiences and social interactions of a group of creative social entrepreneurs. As such, the paper embraces an embedded, creative praxis for understanding entrepreneurial phenomenon.

Research interests/expertise

Creative Industries 
Cultural Institutions
Hybrid Entrepreneurship
Organisational Studies
Intersectionality, Womanism, and Leadership
Qualitative and Creative Research Methods

Areas of teaching

Arts Management
Creativity & Innovation
Cultural Studies
Cultural Policy
Qualitative Research


PhD, Entrepreneurship, University of Strathclyde, 2019 

PgCert, Research Methodology in Business and Management, University of Strathclyde 2016

MA, Arts Administration and Policy, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 2015

BSc, Theatre and Business Administration, University of Evansville, 2011 

Courses taught

Arts and Festivals Management BA (Hons)

Honours and awards

President’s Award for Best Paper by an Early Career Researcher, 39th Annual Conference for the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Oct 2016;

Best Paper Award, Creative Industries Entrepreneurship Track, 39th Annual Conference for the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Oct 2016;

Best PhD Paper Award, 8th International Social Innovation Research Conference, Sep 2016

Membership of professional associations and societies

Institute for Small Business & Entrepreneurship, 2016-present, Creative Industries Entrepreneurship SIG

Conference attendance

"Black Academic Reflexivity: Identity, Poetry, and Digital Medium" (Working Paper); Intersections & Academia 2018 Conference, Jun. 2018; University of Sheffield

"Phenomenological Methodology: Crafting the story of Scotland's creative social enterprises" (Research Paper); 8th International Social Innovation Research Conference, Sep. 2016; Glasgow Caledonian University

"Entrepreneurial Axiology: Hybrid values in creative social enterprise" (Research Paper); 39th Annual Conference for the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Oct.2016; Paris France

Consultancy work

Creative Scotland; ScaleUp Institute

Current research students

Prospective PhD students are invited to contact me about PhD research opportunities.

ORCID number

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