Accessibility statement

Dr Jon Swords
Senior Lecturer in Creative Industries



Jon is senior lecturer in creative industries. His background is in economic geography and has research interests in three main areas: working practices; geographies of creative work; funding and local and regional policy interventions.

After an undergraduate degree in geography from the University of Portsmouth, Jon headed north to Newcastle University for an MA and PhD in the Centre for Urban and Regional Development. In 2009, he joined the Department of Geography and Environment at Northumbria University.

In 2019, Jon moved to the University of York to work on XR Stories, an AHRC-funded project which sought to foster the screen industries in Yorkshire and the Humber through innovations in immersive and interactive storytelling. Jon led the research workstrands of XR Stories until 2023 and on the Screen Industries Growth Network (SIGN) from 2020.  

As part of SIGN, Jon oversaw the development and execution of over 40 research projects involving academics at the University of York and institutions in the UK and overseas. 

Jon’s work on XR Stories and SIGN builds on 20 years of experience researching the creative industries. This has included work on the film and TV industry, videogames, heritage sector and crowdfunding platform economies. This research has involved collaborations with industry organisations and policymakers. 



Jon contributes to BA (Hons) Business for the Creative Industries. He leads the Individual Project module and Research and Data in the Creative Industries. He also supports the Group Project module.

Previous teaching includes: field trips in the UK and Spain, and modules focusing on data visualisation, regional development, economic geography, and philosophy.



Jon has undertaken a range of research relating to the creative industries. His most recent explores the emergence and evolution of virtual production. With Dr Nina Willment, this project has included work with industry partners to understand how virtual production is changing how and where film and television is produced. This work has a particular focus on the potential environmental and diversity and inclusion impacts of virtual production. 

Jon has also undertaken research on working conditions for workers in television, leading the Time Project to understand working time in the UK television sector and working with Professor Jennifer Johns (Bristol) to explore the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions on TV freelancers. 

While at Northumbria University, Jon and colleagues undertook research with young people and skateboarders to understand the city. This work drew on ideas from participatory cartography and included the curation of six exhibitions, working with schools and youth groups, and the creation of artworks. 

Jon’s work on creative industries spatial policy has led to engagement with policymakers at local, regional and national scales. 


Selected publications

Swords, J. And Prescott, R. (2023) ‘Creative Industries Spatial Policy in the UK, 1995 to Present’ Local Economy, 38(2) 177-186

Stockley-Patel, S and Swords, J. (2023) ‘Cultural and innovation intermediation in the cultural-creative industries’ Creative Industries Journal 10.1080/17510694.2023.2218635 

Swords, J. and Johns, J. (2023) Deepening Precarity - the Impact of COVID-19 on Freelancers in the UK Television industry. Cultural Trends DOI: 10.1080/09548963.2023.2247375

Swords, J., Laing, M. and Cook, I. (2023) “Platforms, sex work and their interpenetration” Sexualities, 26(3) 277–297

Swords, J., Nally, C., Rogage, K., Charlton, J., Watson, R. and Kirk, D. (2021) “Colliding Epistemologies, Productive Tensions and Usable Pasts in the Generation of Heritage-Led Immersive Experiences” International Journal of Heritage Studies, online first: 

Swords, J. (2020) “Interpenetration and intermediation of crowd-patronage platforms”, Information, Communication & Society, 23:4, 523-538. 

Swords, J. (2017) "Crowdpatronage – Intermediaries, Geographies, and Relationships in Patronage Networks." Poetics, 64, 63-73. 

Contact details

Dr Jon Swords
School of Arts and Creative Technologies
University of York
YO10 5GB

Tel: +44 (0)1904 32 8324