Marcus O’Dair is a writer, consultant and academic with an interest in enterprise education and innovation management. With a PhD in collective authorship, Marcus is interested in creativity as an emergent phenomenon and set up the Blockchain for Creative Industries research cluster at Middlesex University in 2016. He went on to identify the opportunities of what is now called Web3 for fields such as art and music in Distributed Creativity: How Blockchain Will Transform the Creative Economy (Palgrave 2019), written as researcher in residence at Digital Catapult before the recent explosion in non-fungible tokens. His previous book, Different Every Time (Serpent’s Tail 2014), tells the story of the British musician Robert Wyatt through a distributed networks of collaborators from Brian Eno to Bjork. A book of the week on BBC Radio 4, it was also shortlisted for the Penderyn prize.
As a consultant, Marcus has delivered projects around the world from Accra to Amman, including delivering training to music industry figures in West Asia, creative hub leaders from West Africa and cultural leaders from Mexico; and writing industry reports on emerging technologies such as blockchain and machine learning. He also developed an entrepreneurship e-learning platform for Microsoft. He has worked for clients including the British Council, Music Managers Forum, IE Music, Linux Foundation, Red Bull Music Academy, European Jazz Network, Domino Records, Serious, Somethin' Else, University of Brighton, Institute of Coding and Blockchain Research Institute (Accenture, IBM, Microsoft, Deloitte, Tencent, KPMG etc). He also has a background in coaching, working with a range of clients from MBA students to fashion entrepreneurs.
Marcus has written for The Guardian, Times, Financial Times, Independent and Irish Times and appeared on Radio 1, Radio 3, BBC 6 Music, the World Service and CNN. As well as giving keynotes at Falmouth University and the University of Manchester, he has spoken at the Southbank Centre, the V&A, the Barbican and Edinburgh International Book Festival. He has also spoken to industry audiences in the UK and internationally at locations including KPMG in London, Thompson Reuters in New York and the King Fahed Cultural Centre in Riyadh.
As a musician, Marcus spent a period on retainer with Passenger before signing to Ninja Tune as one half of Grasscut. Grasscut went on to release four acclaimed albums and perform across Europe at venues including the Pompidou Centre, Tate Britain and the Royal Albert Hall. Their music has been featured by companies including Mazda, Nespresso, K-Mart and HSBC, as well as appearing on the BBC, HBO and Netflix.
Marcus is currently Associate Dean of Knowledge Exchange at University of the Arts London (UAL), consistently named the best university in the world for undergraduate art and design education. In this role he leads knowledge exchange for 200 academics, working with partners from the NHS to Nike, Microsoft and IBM. He is a Fellow of Enterprise Educators UK and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Marcus has been awarded over a million pounds in funding for his own academic work, from funders including Office for Students, Research England, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and Enterprise Educators UK. Marcus is co-editor of Mute Records: Artists, Business, History (Bloomsbury 2019). He has also published in peer-reviewed academic journals including Popular Communication, Strategic Change, Popular Music, IASPM@Journal, Life Writing, Journal of Risk Finance and International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He has also published in edited collections including Jazz and Totalitarianism (Routledge 2017), Punk Pedagogies (Routledge 2018), Business Transformation Through Blockchain (Palgrave 2019), Life Writing and Celebrity (Routledge 2019), The Canterbury Sound in Popular Music (Emerald 2021), Music by Numbers (Intellect 2021) and Pataphysics Unrolled (Penn State University Press, 2022).
Marcus is also a non-executive director of two organisations: the Featured Artists Coalition, a non-profit that supports, promotes and protects musicians, and Enterprise Educators UK, the UK’s leading membership network for enterprise educators.