Crowdsourcing a community of public relations practice at BledCom

Crowdsourcing a community of public relations practice at BledCom

A workshop at an upcoming conference will explore ways to improve collaboration between academics and practitioners in public relations. We’d welcome your contribution.


The potential for collaboration between academia and practice in public relations has yet to be realised.

Public relations academics and practitioners are isolated from each other. It shouldn’t be this way.

Public relations is practical. We should learn from the body of knowledge that academic colleagues are investigating and apply it to our day jobs.

Academic colleagues are enabling greater understanding in every area of practice.

Meanwhile practitioners challenged by the pace of innovation are reaching out to theory to help make sense of the changes in practice.

A close working relationship between academia and practice is a hallmark of any professional discipline – enhancing real-world practice with research, reflection and theory.

In public relations this relationship is limited – if not, unfortunately, sometimes restricted from both sides – and without the historical perspective and insight provided for by academics, practitioners lack rigour and are limited to trading in simple crafts and tactics.

As a business in the midst of rapid fundamental change, bringing these two communities closer together will be crucial to us realising our future potential.

A workshop at BledCom in Bled, Slovenia on 2 July will discuss the potential and opportunity for engagement between the two parties.

BledCom is an annual international public relations research symposium, now in its 23rd year.Engagement is the topic of this year’s conference, so it’s fitting and timely.

I pitched the session to BledCom organisers after completing a project exploring this issue last year as Past President of the CIPR.

I sought to explore the potential for mutual cooperation between public relations academics and practitioners.

The plan for a neatly curated conversation quickly broke down as people joined a Facebook discussion and noisily debated the opportunity for cooperation.

We identified three areas of potential cooperation. You can read the full report on my personal blog.

  1. Research accessibility and opportunity for shared media
  2. Professional journey from theory into practice
  3. Best practice and potential areas for mutual cooperation

At BledCom, Sarah Hall, Dr Jon White and I will lead discussions exploring practical ways to improve collaboration in each of these three areas.

Sarah runs an agency in the UK and is the founder of #FuturePRoof, a community led project exploring the future of public relations. Dr Jon White is a Visiting Professor at Henley Business School, UK.

Ahead of the session we’re inviting contributions from academics, teachers and practitioners for suggestions in any of these areas.

We’re looking for 300 to 500 word suggestions in the form of a letter to the conference by Friday, 24 June.

We’ll publish this content on my blog and the BledCom website and share it with participants at the conference.

We’re also report on the outcome of the discussions at BledCom after the event.

If you’d like to participate please either email me directly or leave your contribution as a comment.

I’m hoping that we’ll be able to be able a positive contribution that lies are the heart of our profession, and move the conversation forward.

Performance public relations: new AMEC framework, free tools

Performance public relations: new AMEC framework, free tools