Professor Steve Dixon
President, LASALLE College of the Arts Limited (Ex-Officio Director)
Prof Steve Dixon is a world-renowned academic, researcher and interdisciplinary artist with a distinguished career in both higher education leadership and the professional creative industries.
He joined LASALLE College of the Arts as its sixth President in February 2012. Under his leadership, the College has matured to become one of Asia’s leading arts institutions, and remains the only local institution to win the coveted EduTrust Star, Singapore’s highest mark of quality in private education.
Following a successful career as an actor and award-winning director of film and digital media productions, Steve became an academic in 1991. He quickly established an international reputation for his research in the use of media and computing technologies in the performing arts.
His 800-page book, Digital Performance is recognised as the most comprehensive scholarly work on the subject and won international awards including the Association of American Publishers Award for Excellence in Music and the Performing Arts. His latest book, Cybernetic-Existentialism: Freedom, Systems and Being-for-Others in Contemporary Arts and Performance (Routledge, 2020) reformulates philosophical and scientific ideas to propose an original aesthetic theory of contemporary arts and performance.
He has an accomplished record as a strategic and visionary leader. Prior to LASALLE he was Head of the School of Arts, then Pro Vice Chancellor at Brunel University, London, where he spearheaded initiatives to develop business partnerships, secure multi-million pound research contracts and maximise the external impact of the University’s portfolio of research and teaching programmes.
After graduating with a drama degree from Manchester University in 1977, Prof Dixon became an actor and worked in theatre, film and television with many leading directors including Steven Berkoff, Michael Blakemore, and two former UK National Theatre directors, Sir Richard Eyre and Sir Nicholas Hytner.
He went on to become a successful theatre director and opera producer, and then turned his attention to directing film, video and digital media. He has produced and directed a range of movies, television series and CD-ROMs for which he has won national and international awards.
Since becoming an academic in 1991, Prof Dixon has continued his creative practice, including directing multimedia stage works with his theatre company The Chameleons Group, and interactive Internet performances. His recent practice includes a one-man multimedia theatre interpretation of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, which he has performed in Singapore, Brazil and the US, and an immersive virtual reality drama Virtually No Exit, in collaboration with Paul Sermon, and LASALLE colleagues Khalid Al Mkhlaafy and Dr Felipe Cervera.
Prof Dixon began his higher education career at Salford University in Manchester, UK, where he led innovative programme developments as the University’s Head of Performance, and was responsible for academic quality assurance. In 2005, he became Head (Dean) of the School of Arts at Brunel University in London where he led strategic developments to enhance its research profile and expand its academic provision. In 2008 he was promoted to Pro- Vice Chancellor (Vice President) of Brunel University, leading the university’s strategy, development and business partnerships.
Research Profile and Advisory Positions
Prof Dixon is an internationally renowned researcher in the use of media and computer technologies in the performing arts, and was co-director of the Digital Performance Archive, which established the largest online database in the field in the 1990s. He co-founded the International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media (Routledge) and is an Editorial Board member of five peer-reviewed journals.
His 800-page book Digital Performance: A History of New Media in Theater, Dance, Performance Art, and Installation (MIT Press, 2007) is the most comprehensive study to date, providing a detailed history and analysis of the conjunction of performing arts and new technologies, and proposing bold new theoretical arguments. He has published over 50 journal articles and book chapters on subjects including theatre, film, contemporary art, virtual reality, science fiction, and artificial intelligence. His latest book Cybernetic-Existentialism (Routledge 2020) presents a radical new critical perspective on contemporary arts, by combining insights from existentialist philosophy with cybernetics’ ‘systems thinking’.
Prof Dixon has been an Arts and Humanities Research Council panel member, responsible for the distribution of UK research funding for music and performing arts (2006–2010), and has worked in advisory capacities for the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Arts Council of England and the UK Parliament. He is an Advisory Panel member for the Singapore International Foundation’s ‘Arts for Good’ programme. He holds a higher Doctorate (Doctor of Letters) and is a Fellow of the RSA (Royal Society for the Arts, Manufactures & Commerce).
Prof Dixon is married to fine artist Prue Dixon, they have three daughters who are all involved in the arts.