Let me highlight highlight my key strengths in international cross-disciplinary scholarly practice and leadership with a focus on communicative ecologies.
I have a strong international academic background with over two decades of experience in Europe, the Asia-Pacific and former Soviet Union regions. This has resulted in a rich and diverse research portfolio covering regional and thematic issues with a major focus on communication for development and social change, migrant/ethnic media, social media and activism and my most current interest in island communicative ecologies that builds on over 20 years of engagement in the Pacific Islands and indigenous focused research and practices.
After completing my media industries and policies focused studies in Europe which gave me access to various European research networks and practices, I concentrated on developing my career through the practice of international development that involved positions in Higher Education Institutions in very diverse educational, research and professional media and communication contexts. This early part of my career enabled me to develop an expertise in communication for development and journalism and media education in countries in transition. Subsequently, I took this specialization to an indigenous context, while adding visual ethnography and participatory communication practices into my research approaches. My current interests engage all these previously developed research practices within the increasingly important area of island studies. My extensive publications record which includes three well cited edited volumes on Pacific communication issues provides evidence of my rich scholarly activities.
As a result of this diverse career, I have developed extensive networks through memberships in editorial boards of international journals; international and regional organizations like IAMCR and AMIC; associations with Research Centers like the Pacific Media Center in NZ and the Center for Pacific Islands Research in Japan; international organizations like UNESCO (as a former UNESCO Media Freedom Chair for PNG); alumni and program networking through the NZAid scholarships program in the ASEAN region and Open Society Institute in Central Asia and Caucasus.
I have been involved in managing, evaluating and developing academic programs including two positions as Head of Department. I have demonstrated strong leadership through my substantial involvement in institutional research structures through positions such as Dept. Research Chair, Faculty and institution wide Research committees’ membership, including the responsibility of designing and implementing research strategies and overseeing research funding allocations at faculty and institutional levels, along with providing research mentoring to research funding applicants. As a result, I have developed the ability to work in diverse institutional teams.
I have acted as a consultant for program evaluations, training advisor and chief research investigator in major collaborative projects. The AusAID funded State of the Media and Communication baseline research project in 14 Pacific Islands countries is a good example of my ability to work with an international research team and manage a large project that involved developing the capacity of the local researchers we worked with. This research informed the AusAID’s media and communication policy, training and overall support for the Pacific and led to several publications.
My research fellowship in Japan, part of my island studies network engagement, provided me the opportunity to explore and theorize, through my fieldwork on mapping the communicative ecologies of Amami and Okinawa Islands, the concept of indigenous ‘island communicative ecologies’. SAGE USA commissioned a chapter on this topic for an international multi-volume publication on media and communication practices.
At a local level, my passion for social change has brought collaboration with NGOs like Generation Zero and NZ Progress on issues of online media, political engagement and climate change and framing of inequality and poverty in NZ; and a partnership with the Ethnic media association of NZ in the organization of an Ethnic Migrant Media Forum that aimed to engage different stakeholders in the debate of migrant representation in NZ and attended by the current Prime Minister of NZ. While I was leading the DWU journalism program in Papua New Guinea, I developed a strong connection with local communities and NGOs leading to a greater commitment by the journalism students to their reporting on social and developmental issues of their country.
One of my most recent achievements includes establishing and managing an open access scholarly publishing house. As the founding and managing editor of ePress that promotes academic and creative types of QA publications, I have created a space that showcases the institutions research capabilities and encourages early career researchers to take their first publishing steps.
I have also developed a strong record in teaching, curriculum development and research supervision and mentoring. In my role as the founding Program Lead at the University of Central Asia, I oversaw the curriculum development with UTS, our international partner, recruited faculty, set up state of the art media facilities and developed an extensive regional and international network. As the Head of the Communication Arts program in PNG, I left a research legacy of increased research skills and locally produced research by both students and colleagues through curriculum development and intensive mentoring. In my Unitec role, I oversaw the postgraduate research methods course delivery with emphasis on alternative and indigenous practices and theses supervision of a very diverse student body with a heavy involvement as a primary supervisor and mentor to new supervisors. I developed and taught very successfully over the years the Communication for Social Change course that attracted NZAID scholarship students and resulted in impactful research projects.
I am passionate about my teaching and doing research on issues that matter to wider society and I bring knowledge of different communication practices and points of view that reflect regional and international trends in the field. I have well-established media and communication networks and I thrive living and working in different cultural and institutional contexts.
My career is a testimony of my ability to contribute positively to the teams I have been involved with.