ProfessorSteve Dixon


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.

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.

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. As Head of School, he was responsible for a significant growth in external income, postgraduate student numbers and the international profile of the School’s research. As Pro Vice Chancellor, he spearheaded initiatives to develop business partnerships, secure multi-million pound research contracts and to maximise the external impact of the University’s portfolio of research and teaching programmes.

Career Profile

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 attentions 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 (Drama Centre, NUS, NTU), Brazil and the USA, and an immersive Virtual Reality drama Virtually No Exit, in collaboration with Paul Sermon and Khalid Al Mkhlaafy.

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. Prof Dixon oversaw the development of the University’s Strategic Plan and led major external initiatives including securing multi-million pound grants, research collaborations with companies such as Jaguar Land Rover, and three awards for business excellence.

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 field 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.

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 (2006-10), 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 Prue Dixon, a fine artist; they have three daughters who are all involved in the arts.