Professor Robert Hollands
Professor of Sociology

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  • Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7501
  • Fax: +44 (0) 191 208 7497
  • Address: Sociology
    Claremont Bridge Building
    University of Newcastle
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    NE1 7RU


Robert Hollands is a Professor of Sociology in the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology and has been lecturing at Newcastle since 1992. Specialising in Urban Sociology, Youth Studies, and the Sociology of Arts/ Culture, he is author/ co-author of 5 books (including with Paul Chatterton, Urban Nightscapes, Routledge, 2003) and over 60 published articles/ reports on subjects like the egalitarian arts, fringe festivals, smart cities, youth cultures, nightlife, and alternative urban cultures. He is a former graduate of Queen's University (Canada), and the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS), University of Birmingham, where he did a PhD via a Commonwealth Scholarship. He has been a research consultant to the Prague Fringe festival for the past 15 years.

Recently Robert has been the recipient of a prestigious Major Research Fellowship grant from the Leverhulme Trust entitled 'Urban Cultural Movements and the Struggle for Alternative Creative Spaces' (beginning September 2015 for two years). For further details see: and A new piece of co-authored writing related to this project is due out in 2016 entitled 'Urban Social Movement and the Night: Struggling for the Right to the (Party) City in Geneva' in J. Hannigan and G. Richards (eds) The SAGE Handbook of New Urban Studies. London: Sage. He has also recently published an article on the future of alternative cultural spaces in Geneva which can be accessed online:  'Creative Dark Matter Rising? Struggling Over the Future of Alternative Cultural Spaces in the City of Geneva', Driftmine, December 7, 2015 at:

Roles and Responsibilities

DPD Sociology (2013-14)

Former Head of Sociology (2009/10- 2011/12)  


P.hD Sociology and Cultural Studies, Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, University of Birmingham, U.K. (awarded December 1988). Dissertation Title: Working Class Transitions and the Youth Training Scheme (published by Macmillan as The Long Transition: Class, Culture and Youth Training, 1990).

M.A. Sociology of Leisure and Culture, Department of Physical and Health Education, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada (awarded October 1982).

B.A. B.P.H.E. (Social Psychology with distinction and Physical & Health Education), Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada (dual degree awarded April 1979).

Other Positions

Visiting Professor, Department of Sociology, Auckland University, New Zealand (autumn term), 2012

Visiting Professor, Institute of Political Economy, Carleton University,  Ottawa, Canada  2002

Visiting Professor, Institute of Political Economy/ Department of Sociology, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada 1996

Senior Lecturer, Sociology/ Social Policy, Sunderland Polytechnic, Sunderland, UK 1988-92

Research Officer, Trade Union Information Studies Unit (TUISU), Newcastle Upon Tyne, 1987

Research Interests

Sociology of Cities – including  cultural/ creative cities,  alternative urban cultures, nightlife, urban ethnography, cultural tourism; Youth Studies – including  youth cultures, youth and politics; educational/ labour market transitions; Cultural Analysis – including cultural/ creative work, egalitarian arts, cultural politics

Current Work

'Urban Cultural Movements and the Struggle for Alternative Creative Space', Major Research Fellowship, Leverhulme Trust (Sept 2015-August 2017)

Also currently producing a number of articles on the egalitarian arts, specifically concerned with an ESRC funded research project on the Amber Collective (jointly with John Vail). The include published work on art as a social movement (Poetics) and alternative cultural work (Journal of Cultural Economy), rules for cultural radicals (Antipode), democratic creativity (Cultural Sociology), arts and place imprinting (Local Economy). An article on the Newcastle student occupation came out in 2013 in Journal of Youth Studies, and a paper on alternative nightlife struggles in Geneva is also in preparation for the SAGE Handbook of New Urban Studies.     

Additionally, I have just finished producing 14 audience profile for the Prague Fringe Festival (for links to this and various research reports on the fringe click on, and I have previously published articles on the fringe as an alternative form of cultural tourism in Journal of Cultural Economy (3 (3), 2010) and on cultural struggles in Prague during the 'days of unrest' in 2008 (City, 13 (1) 2009).  

My previous work on youth and nightlife came out of an ESRC project in 2002 (with Paul Chatterton) and includes amongst many other publications, 2 books  focusing around youth cultures and identities in the night-time economy (Urban Nightscapes, Routledge, 2003 and Changing Our Toon, 2001, following on from my previous work Friday Night, Saturday Night (1995) (see for the project website). Citations of this work on nightlife as a whole is over 1000 on Google Scholar. More recently, aspects of this work have been revisited and will soon be published in a variety of book chapters in such titles as:  Shane Blackman and Michelle Kempson (eds) The Subcultural Imagination: Theory, Research and Reflexivity in Contemporary Youth Cultures (London: Routledge, forthcoming);Thomas Thurnell-Read (ed) Drinking Dilemmas: Space, Culture and Identity (London: Routledge, forthcoming); A. Furlong (ed), Handbook of Youth and Young Adults: New Perspectives and Agendas (2nd edition) London: Routledge, forthcoming. 

I've also previously published a joint paper (with Liz Stanley) on critical sociology, Gouldner and the 'current crisis' in sociology in Sociological Research Online (, and a paper on 'obesity entrepreneurs' (with Lee Monaghan and Gary Pritchard), and a critique of smart cities (in City 12 (3) 2008), the latter of which has now generated over 325 citations on Google Scholar. A follow-up article called 'Interventions Into the Corporate Smart City' is now out in a special issue of the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society.

Before this, I previously published research (with Tracey Greener) on a global youth internet dance culture (psytrance) which has been re-published in a Hungarian journal, and produced and a study of Canadian Mohawk youth cultures and hybrid identities in 2004.

Future Research

Future work includes a possible book on Amber and the transformative arts, as well as a possible book on alternative urban cultures. Further research on the World Fringe Alliance is envisaged, as is some future research on alternative youth cultures in the Czech Republic preceding the Velvet Revolution.   

Postgraduate Supervision

Currently supervise/ co-supervise 4 PhD students:

Kerry Lowes, AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Studentship Social Value in the Arts: The Case of the Amber Collective (5 years, PT); Graham Gaunt Expectations and aspirations: the transition to adulthood for working class young men in the de-industrialised North East region (ESRC+3); Lauren Powell 'NE1 Here? Incoate Public Spaces in Newcastle'  (ESRC 1+3); Will McGovern 'Self-Help Groups for Alcohol and Drug Users'. In the upcoming year I will be co-supervising (with Robin Humphrey) a DTC Collaborative PhD with PUCS Brazil entitled 'Violence and Fear in Homeless Careers: A Biographical Investigation of Young Adult Female Homelessness' (PhD student Clare Vaughan). Previously supervised an ESRC funded post-doctorate on 'Work, self-employment and enterprise in the cultural sector: the case of musicians'(Susan Coulson).

Esteem Indicators

Recipient of a peer evaluation grade of ‘outstanding’ on last two ESRC awards (2000-2) and 2004-5 (with Lee Monaghan).



Robert Hollands, 'Urban Cultural Movements and the Struggle for Alternative Creative Space', Major Research Fellowship, Leverhulme Trust (Sept 2015-August 2017)

Robert Hollands* (with John Vail) The Promise of a Transformative Arts: A Political and Cultural Analyses of the Amber Collective (December 2008-January 2010) (£99,000)

Robert Hollands* (with Lee Monaghan) Male Embodiment, Fatness and Risk: Exploring Social Meanings and Practices, Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, September 2005- November 2006 (£31,022).

Robert Hollands*, The Role of Cultural Festivals in Urban Regeneration: The Case of the Prague Fringe Theatre Festival. Consultancy funded by the Prague Fringe Theatre Festival, Prague, June 2003-08 (£3000 payment in kind, flights/ hotels etc).

(Diane Richardson*, Robert Hollands and Jane Wheelock) Assessment of Local Need for Drug Services. Funded by the Northumberland Health Authority, Oct 2001-January 2002 (£11,000).

(Diane Richardson*, Robert Hollands and Elaine Campbell) Drug Prevention Programme for Vulnerable and At Risk Young People: An Evaluation Study. Funded by the Northumberland Health Authority, December 2000-Sept 2001 (£43,000).

(Diane Richardson*, Elaine Campbell, Robin Humphrey and Robert Hollands) Pathways to Youth Crime Reduction. Funded by the Youth Justice Board, April 2000-March 2002 (£171,000).

(Robert Hollands* and Paul Chatterton) Youth Cultures, Identities and the Consumption of Night-life City Spaces. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, January 2000-March 2002 (£123,044). See project web-page for further details.

Robert Hollands,* Native Canadian Youth Identities and Cultures. Funded by the Canadian High Commission, London, February 1999-2000 (£2000).

Robert Hollands,* Drugs, Prevention Initiatives and Young People: A Comparative Study of the U.K., the Netherlands and Israel. Funded by Public Management Associates, Warwickshire, October 1998-2002 (£8000).

(* denotes principal investigator of grant)


Undergraduate Teaching

SOC 1027 Comparing Cultures

SOC 2O41 Issues in Urban Sociology: Conflict and Culture in the City
SOC 3046 Youth in Transition

Postgraduate Teaching

SOC 8046 Cities, Economies, Cultures (bi-annually)