Dr Ian Somerville



Dr Ian Somerville

Reader in Media and Communication

Department of Media and Communication,

University of Leicester,

0.01D Bankfield House, 132 New Walk,

Leicester, LE1 7JA, UK.


Email: ijas1@le.ac.uk

Phone: 0116 252 3865


I recently joined the department (May, 2015) after working for 10 years at the University of Ulster in Belfast and before that for 12 years at Queen Margaret University College in Edinburgh. My research in the areas of political public relations, lobbying, terrorism and public relations, public relations ethics and public relations pedagogy has been published in journals such as Public Relations Review, Public Relations Inquiry, Journal of Communication Management, Corporate Communication: An International Journal and in various edited collections. Current research interests include public relations in conflict and post-conflict societies, government public relations, public relations/political lobbying in human rights activism and sport, communication and social exclusion. Recent grants include: June 2013 – an award of £5,700 by ConnectED Fund and the University of Ulster’s Institute for Research in Social Sciences (IRiSS) to host a European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA) expert conference on ‘Public Relations and Divided Societies’; June 2012 – an award of £243,000 by the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister for Northern Ireland to conduct a three year research project for the Delivering Social Change initiative. Project title: ‘Social exclusion and sport in Northern Ireland’; November 2010 – an award of £15,000 by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and Irish Football Association (IFA). Project title: ‘Identifying and Addressing Barriers to Inclusion for Young Players in Northern Ireland International Football’. As a member of the management team of the Organisational and Strategic Communication Section of ECREA I have, with my management team colleagues Gisela Concalves and Ana Melo, recently edited two volumes of selected papers from the main conferences in 2013 Istanbul and 2015 Lisbon. With Owen Hargie, Maureen Taylor and Margalit Toledano I am currently editing a book for Routledge’s New Directions in Public Relations Research series entitled International Public Relations: Perspectives form Deeply Divided Societies.

Publications: See this link


I will be acting Programme Director MA Public Relations (2016, Semester 2)

I coordinate the following modules:

MS7307 Promotional Cultures

MS7310 Strategic Communications Management (for 2016)

Supervision of undergraduate and Masters research projects.

I am interested to hear from prospective students who wish to undertake doctoral research related to the following interests:

-       Public relations in conflict, transitional or deeply divided societies.

-       Activist public relations and lobbying (human rights, gender equality, celebrity intermediaries and humanitarian campaigns)

-       Political public relations in the MENA (Middle East North Africa).

-       Government communication

-       Sport and promotional culture

Other activities

I was External Examiner for the BSc Communication, Advertising and Public Relations, Napier University 2008-12 and for the BSc Public Relations, Bournemouth University 2006-2010.

I am currently a member of editorial board of the Journal of Public Relations Inquiry and of the Public Relations Review. I review for the following academic journals: International Journal of Press/Politics, Journal of Public Relations Research, International Studies Review, Journalism: Theory, Practice and Critique, International Journal of Communication and Journal of Communication Management. I also review for the following international academic conferences: International Communication Association (ICA) and European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA)

In 2012 I was elected (re-elected 2014) Vice-Chair of the ‘Organisational and Strategic Communication’ Section of ECREA.

Recent awards include: 2014 National Communication Association PRIDE Award for Somerville, I. and Aroussi, S., (2013) ‘Campaigning for “Women, Peace and Security”: Transnational advocacy networks at the United Nations Security Council’ in Gender and public relations: critical perspectives on voice, image and identity, C. Daymon & K. Demetrious (Eds.) London: Routledge;

2012 'Outstanding Paper’ Winner Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence  for Somerville, I and Purcell, A. (2011) ‘A history of Republican public relations in Northern Ireland from Bloody Sunday to the Good Friday Agreement’ Journal of Communication Management;

2012 National Communication Association PRIDE Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Public Relations Education’ for Somerville, I., Purcell, A., and Morrison, F. (2011) ‘Public relations education in a divided society: PR, terrorism and critical pedagogy in post-conflict Northern Ireland’, Public Relations Review.

I am currently a member of the Management Board and the REF Environment Co-ordinator for the Department of Media and Communication.

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