Dr. Jaleesa Wells is an Assistant Professor of Arts Administration at the University of Kentucky, where she teaches courses on the arts and artists in society, sustainable leadership in the arts, and management and organization in the arts and culture sector across the BA, MA, and PhD programs. Prior to joining the UK faculty, Dr. Wells taught in the areas of arts and festivals management and international cultural policy, as well as entrepreneurship, venture planning, and creativity and innovation at higher education institutions in Scotland and England (“the other UK”).
Dr. Wells’ research focuses on the hybrid intersections between culture and enterprise, such as the emergence of social enterprise in the arts and culture sector, of which she was awarded the ‘President’s Award for Best Paper by an Early Career Researcher’ at the 39th Annual Conference for the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship in Paris, France. Concurrently, she conducts creative and collaborative scholarship that investigates the experiences of Black women in cultural institutions, as well as scholarship exploring the making, unmaking, and use of institutional data as an creative practice. Dr. Wells also maintains an arts practice and embeds her research with creative methods such as poetry, performance, and visual art.
Professionally, Dr. Wells worked as an arts administrator in the performing arts: serving as the finance manager of a spectacle theatre company in Chicago, and working in public relations, marketing, and ticket office management in opera houses throughout the country such as Central City Opera and Glimmerglass Opera. Dr. Wells also served as an AmeriCorps member with the Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky and Habitat for Humanity of Metro Louisville, where she was awarded the honor of joining the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels.
Dr. Wells earned her Ph.D. in Entrepreneurship at Strathclyde Business School in Scotland, U.K., a Master of Arts in Arts Administration and Policy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a Bachelor of Science in Theatre Management with a minor in Business Administration from the University of Evansville.