Photo of Alia Weston
Photo of Alia Weston
Alia Weston
Assistant Professor
Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Graduate Studies

Area(s) of Expertise

Creativity and Entrepreneurship, Social Enterprise and Informal Economy, African and Latin American Management Practices.


Dr Alia Weston has an expertise in the areas of creative design and business management. She has an undergraduate degree in Jewellery design as well as postgraduate degrees in business management and in business studies research. She consolidated her expertise in these areas by completing a cross-disciplinary PhD which bridged the areas of creativity and management. Her research and teaching interests focus on the intersection between these disciplines. Alia's research is focused on understanding how people creatively respond to challenges in their social and organisational environments. In particular, she studies creative engagement and related practices such as innovation, entrepreneurship, art and design to explore how these can contribute to social transformation. Key themes in Alia's research include exploring creative work practices within resource constrained environments, such as the informal economy, and exploring how creative business models can contribute to solving key challenges in society. Alia has published research about the organisational and creative/entrepreneurial experiences of individuals who live in marginal contexts. She undertakes her research in this area by engaging in narrative ethnography in streets and townships, collecting personal stories and video-graphic material to highlight the voices of those who live and work in marginal spaces. An example of this is her research about creativity in the Zimbabwean informal economy, which is summarised in the following animation: In conjunction with this research she runs practical workshops which engage with issues related to creative and sustainable work practices. In addition to her research, Alia teaches across the areas of creativity and management. She currently teaches creative and business enterprise to art and design students at OCAD University. Subjects taught include Entrepreneurship, Leadership in the Digital Economy and Mobile and Social Media. Prior to this, she taught business and creativity to management students in business schools in the UK. Here she taught topics including Organisation Theory, Enterprise, Leadership in the Creative Economy and Creative Research. She is also experienced in supervising Post-graduate and PhD students. In addition to her academic activities Alia runs her own business designing and making a range of unique jewellery. She also has previous experience of running summer school and jewellery workshops in the not-for-profit sector, with the aim of widening access of disadvantaged groups into education.


  • 2004. BA (Hons) Silversmithing and Jewellery Design (London Metropolitan University, UK)
  • 2006. MA Business Management (Kingston University, UK)
  • 2007. MSc in Management and Business Studies Research (Kingston University, UK)
  • 2012. PhD in Creativity and Management: 'Creativity in the Informal Economy of Zimbabwe' (Kingston University, UK)
  • 2014. PGCert in Advanced Academic Studies (University of Strathclyde, UK)

Professional Experience

  • 2014 - Present. Assistant Professor, OCAD University, Toronto.
  • 2012 - 2014. Lecturer, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.
  • 2013 - 2012. Teaching Fellow, Royal Holloway University of London.
  • 2007 - 2013. Part-time/ Visiting Lecturer, Kingston University, London.
  • 2005 - 2009. Project Coordination on Aim Higher Projects, London Metropolitan University.
  • 1998 - Present. Jewellery Design Business.

Awards \ Grants

  • 2014. RECODE Catalyst Grant. Funded by J.W.McConnell Family Foundation.
  • 2014. Seed Grant. Funded by OCAD University.
  • 2014. SSHRC Connections Grant. Funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
  • 2013. Researcher Links Grant. Funded by British Council. 
  • 2013. Emerald African Management Research Fund Award, Highly Commended.
  • 2012. Bridging the Gap Grant. Funded by University of Strathclyde. 
  • 2008. Director of Research Award. Doctoral Program, Kingston University. 
  • 2004. Goldsmiths’ Craftsmanship and Design Award, Winner of Silver Award in Fashion Jewellery.
  • 2004. British Jewellers Association Award, Commendation for Jewellery Design.
  • 2002-04. South Square Trust Scholarship.

Selected Publications

  • Weston A. and Imas J.M. (Forthcoming). Creativity: Transformation in Adversity. In Palgrave Handbook of Creativity at Work. Eds. N.Wilson and L.Martin. Palgrave.
  • Simpson B. and Tracy R. and Weston A. (Forthcoming). Travelling Concepts: Performative Movements in Learning/Playing. Management Learning.
  • Weston A. and Imas J.M. (2018). Resisting Colonization in Business and Management Studies: From Postcolonialism to Decolonization. In SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Business and Management Research Methods (Vol 1), 119-137. Eds. A.Cunliffe, C.Cassell and G.Gandy. Sage.
  • Weston A. (2017). Creating Social Value. In Educating Social Entrepreneurs: From Idea Generation to Business Plan Formulation (Vol 1), 72-76.  Eds. P.Miesing and M.Aggestam. Business Expert Press.
  • Weston A. and Imas J.M. (2017). Towards a Barefoot Community-based Entrepreneuring. In Critical Perspectives on Entrepreneurship: Challenging Dominant Discourses, 73-90. Eds C.Essers, P.Dey, D.Tedmanson and K.Verduyn. Routledge.
  • Tranum S. and Weston A. (2016). Are We Living in a Social Economy or a Precarious One? Globe and Mail/OCAD University: Summer Series Highlighting Design Thinking, Issues and Innovation. globeandmail
  • Imas J.M. and Weston A. (2016). OrgansparkZ Communities of Art/creative Spaces, Imaginations, & Resistance. In Precarious Spaces: The Arts, Social & Organizational Change, 131-151. Eds. K.Kosmala and J.M.Imas. Intellect Books.
  • Weston A. and Clough V. (2016). Digital Publication Documenting (Re)² Reconstructing Resilience. SSHRC Funded Conference and Art Exhibition.
  • Weston A. and Clough V. (2016). Reconstructing Resilience @ OCAD University. RECODE Blog Post. re-code
  • Weston A., Weston M.A and Booth E. (2013). Exploring the Creativity of Informal Workers During Crisis. Animated Short Storyvimeo
  • Imas J.M., Wilson N. and Weston A. (2012). Barefoot Entrepreneurs. Organization, 19(5): 563-585. 
  • Imas J.M. and Weston A. (2012). From Harare to Rio de Janeiro: Kukiya-favela Organisation Narrative of the Excluded. Organization, 19(2): 205-227.