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Worth checking out this opportunity for PR and communication researchers – please circulate:

Leeds Beckett University has a sponsored PhD vacancy available. This is funding for a corporate responsibility and communications based PhD bursary. http://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/research/research-degrees/research-studentships-and-fees-only-bursaries/ Each studentship will have a bursary of £14,296 per annum (pro-rata into 12 monthly payments) plus UK/EU Fees paid for a period of three years. The University has recently won a major contract worth £18 million over five years, to deliver a new and highly innovative Integrated Healthy Lifestyles Service in the UK. This PhD is part of this programme. Applications close on the 5th June 2016, for an October 2016 start. Specifically this call is for PhD proposals exploring the role of State and Commerce in the healthy eating debate(s): Businesses recognize their role and responsibility in the healthy eating debate. They, like state actors, spend much time, effort and resource attempting to respond to the issue and to get their message across. Frequently this fails, is confused or is perceived as distrustful and self-interested marketing of the corporate brand by consumers, government, the media and NGO groups. This research will explore the role of the state at both a national and local level on the debate as well as the important but often misdirected and misunderstood attempts by business to respond appropriately to government as well as consumer and pressure group demands and expectations for a ‘responsible’ approach. The research may explore the efforts of business to respond to this agenda to build a framework of understanding from a local level and potentially in partnership with actors on the ground. Processes of communication will be analysed and evaluated to support and build deeper and more meaningful engagement with stakeholders at all levels. For further details please contact Professor Ralph Tench tel:+44(0)113 81 27539, email: r.tench@leedsbeckett.ac.uk

On the move

Delighted to announce that I have accepted the post of Principal Research Fellow at the University of Huddersfield, Yorkshire, where I will be leading the project to develop a new capabilities framework for use by public relations practitioners, professional bodies and academics around the world. This part of my post is supported by the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management (GA) and I’m thrilled to be working again with the redoubtable Anne Gregory , Professor of Corporate Communications at Huddersfield.

I will also be pursuing my own research projects, papers and books proposals.

I leave Charles Sturt University on February 25, to allow time for packing and starting the complex process of moving residences and possessions around the planet, before taking up the new position on March 21.

It’s been a wonderful four and a half years in Australia, working with a creative and engaging group of communication educators, who have become good friends. I’ve also learned how to manage doctoral supervision in an online programme and seen two students collect their doctorates – with more to follow. Thanks to a CSU Research Fellowship I was able to complete my book on PR professionalism and ethics, an achievement which I will be building on in the new role.

It really is rather marvellous to be offered a job that brings together so many strands of previous work – including research into PR education for the CIPR – and creates a space in which it may be possible (particularly with Anne in the picture) to make a real difference.

So, homeward bound.

New publications

I have two (!) papers in the latest edition of Public Relations Review (one has been online since 2014 but now gets full publication) and two online chapters to share.

Fawkes, J. (2015a) A Jungian Conscience: self-awareness for PR practice, Public Relations Review,  Vol 41, pp 726–733. Doi:10.1016/j.pubrev.2015.06.005

PRR Jungian conscience

PRR1

 

Fawkes, J. (2015b) Performance and Persona: Goffman and Jung’s approaches to professional identity applied to public relations. Public Relations Review,  Vol  41, pp 675–680. Doi: 0.1016/j.pubrev.2014.02.011

Persona performance, PR ID

PRR2

My chapter on PR ethics for practitioners, in the pioneering #FuturePRoof book is available here (the rest of the book is also well worth reading):

PR ethics for professionals

futureproof

Finally, delighted that my chapter has been included in the free selection from the excellent Routledge New Directions in Public Relations Research series

 

Routledge1Routledge2

Delighted one of the chapters from my book is included in the 85-page booklet showcasing work from Routledge’s New Directions in Public Relations Research series, edited by the redoubtable Kevin Moloney.

Full text here: PR booklet

http://b2l.bz/2TwlLl

 

Leipzig (II)

Reflecting on two days’ discussion of PR/Strat Comms as a research field, I observe a profound tension between

a) scholars who wish to constrain the research objects to something manageable, measurable and scientific which will help define the field for reserchers and enhance understanding of practice – theories which are observable in the material world. The strength of this desire is the search for core concepts/models through rigorous scientific method; the weakness is that it tries to put vagaries of human communication into boxes too small to contain them; and

b) scholars who embrace multi perspective/interdisciplinary approaches and consider pursuit of Truth as futile or phantastical – they have a more playful sense of research which undermines the foundational claims commonly made in PR/SC research. Their strength is the richness of ideas and imagination they bring to traditionally rather applied research; the weakness is that as perspectives multiply, the field itself could easily scatter beyond recognition or identification.

I belong to group b – with its roots in critical thinking and engagement with postmodern theory – but am aware that this has dangers.

My book proposal illustrates this: I presented ideas for a volume that combines social theory, PR theory, cultural studies, psychologies of persuasion, Jungian concepts and current PR practice. There is a central argument that weaves these strands together which, phew, was comprehensible to those present who gave the ideas a very warm welcome. So the weakness could be that the macro-level discussion of PR’s impact on society becomes too abstract; the strength lies in my experience of practice and ability to ground wilder theories in the everyday.

I greatly appreciated the opportunity to test these ideas and their relevance to the question of where PR research is going – it may have taken a lot of airmiles and a massive drop in Centigrade to get there, but I reckon one hour’s discussion has saved me 6 months’ solitary head banging. So, thanks to Howard Nothhaft and Sara von Platen from Lund University and Jens Seifert from U of Vienna for organising this event.fdf_ss24522

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leipzig symposium (I)

Privileged to have been invited to participate in this small research symposium concerning the future research directions of PR/strategic communication. The emphasis on sharing developing ideas & emerging thoughts not just presenting finished work was irresistible. I am bringing half-formed ideas for my next book to this gathering and look forward to their feedback later this morning.

We are a small, select group, mainly from German and Scandinavian universities – and an unusually youthful gathering. It is exciting to see a new generation of researchers coming through with a completely different academic and practice background from my generation. They may not have the grounding in practice common to my lot but they bring a new agenda informed by contemporary research in sociology, applied science and philosophy.

So, yesterday’s highpoint was a passionate conversation between those who embrace a post structural world of unknowable uncertainties and those who want to know that the plane will fly. I observed that these are not entirely incompatible in that science agrees that time cannot be linear but I still need to be at the airport tonight. The bridge is our reliance on stories to manage the complexities of the quantum universe.  Which brings us back to PR/strat comms.

Much of the discussion centred on – what stories do we tell in our conceptualisation of the field, in our teaching, in our selection of methods?? Are we just telling ourselves comforting lies or can we embrace something more robust. Is progress as illusory as linear time?

I was v taken by Peter Winkler’s (U of Vienna) presentation of competing paradigms in social thought and PR, highlighting the tropes and fallacies of each before identifying new combinations which might frame emerging researching directions – we plan to return to this at the end of the symposium this pm.

Spent an interesting hour today talking through approaches to PR ethics with a wide range of practitioners in the PRIA and PRINZ. Good attendance (nearly 60) and excellent questions suggest a real interest in the topic. Well done PRIA for opening this space.  http://www.pria.com.au/training/event/webinar-bad-barrels-public-relations-and-professional-ethics

Slides are here: PRIA final

This presentation was loosely based on a paper just published online by Public Relations Review, A Jungian Conscience:Self-Awareness for Public Relations Practice which can be accessed via doi:10.1016/j.pubrev.2015.06.005

Really great that I’m now making consistent contact with practitioners on these issues –  last year chairing the panel at Euprera, the WPRF practice/academic research colloquium in Madrid, a contributed essay to Betteke Van Ruler’s Nu magazine and more in the wings….