Global Experts Discuss COVID-19: Learning & Consequences for Crisis Communication Research, Practice

ECREA Crisis Communication Section, Leeds Beckett University Host Global Crisis2021 Public Event Series

(Leeds, United Kingdom, February 5): On 5 February, 2021 four global experts in crisis communication and a live audience of practitioners and academics from countries around the world reflected on the lessons learned in crisis communication based on the last year of COVID-19 crisis and the importance of the convergence of research and practice. All speakers highlighted shared critical challenges of communicating during the COVID-19 as including managing ‘fake news’, inequalities in the effects of the pandemic, global disruption and the challenges of recovery from the pandemic, and how we can use strategic communication to serve the public good.

Watch the presentations here

Both International Public Relations Association (IPRA) President, Philippe Borremans (Portugal) and Professor Yan Jin, University of Georgia (USA) reflected on crisis learning and pandemic communication management highlighting the value of such collaborations. Borremans points out that the critical goal of emergency communication is to empower community and individuals to make decisions to protect themselves. Jin provided examples of research collaborations and findings in applied settings.

Dean and Professor Matthew Seeger, Wayne State University (USA) focused on the role of crisis communication in managing uncertainty to help communities to interpret information and risk surrounding COVID-19. Both Seeger and Dr. Andreas Schwarz, Ilmenau University of Technology (Germany) highlighted the pandemic’s disruption of higher education. Schwarz focused on developing a stronger understanding about message creation from the organisational perspective and improving communication recommendations for university educators.

This live panel and discussion was the kick-off event for the European Communication Research and Education Association’s (ECREA) Crisis Communication section Crisis2021 monthly series of live panels bringing together global experts in crisis communication to present research, discuss critical themes, and identify opportunities for developing knowledge and practice. The series is hosted by Leeds Beckett University’s Business School, coordinated by Dr. Audra Diers-Lawson, a Senior Lecturer at Leeds Beckett, the Crisis Communication section Chair, and editor of the Journal of International Crisis and Risk Communication Research. The series is also endorsed by the IPRA.

Diers-Lawson said, “We have an active and engaged international crisis and risk communication community, so the leadership team for the [ECREA Crisis Communication] division wanted to make sure we had a way to stay engaged with each other and sharing our experience, research, and practice through this pandemic.” Diers-Lawson is joined in section leadership by Dr. Florian Meissner of Macromedia University of Applied Sciences in Germany and Dr. Silvia Ravazzani of IULM in Milan, Italy. For more information, to view the recordings after the events, or to register to attend the Crisis2021 Series go to: https://ecreacrisis.com/call-for-participation-crisis2021/


Event Announcement: 5 February – Covid-19 Learning & Consequences Live Panel

On behalf of the ECREA Crisis Communication Section and endorsed by the International Public Relations Association, we are pleased to announce that on February 5, 2021 (Friday) from 4-6pm CET (10am-12pm EST) we will host our first live panel of our Crisis2021 series – Covid-19: Learning and Consequences for International Crisis Communication Research and Practice. The event is free to attend, all are welcome, but advance registration is required.

The coronavirus pandemic has been a disruptive and tragic experience for societies around the world. For the crisis communication community, the pandemic doubtlessly is an issue of overwhelming importance, calling for academic and professional exchange and new research initiatives that reach beyond national borders. In order to create an opportunity to come together at this important point in the ongoing crisis, we would like to invite you to an online session involving keynotes and discussions on the following questions:

  1. What have we learned from our observations of crisis communication during the pandemic by governments, organizations, health experts, media, and stakeholders around the world?
  2. What are the consequences crisis researchers and practitioners need to draw from this pandemic? What is—or should be—on the research agenda for the next years?

These overarching questions will be addressed by four keynotes:

  • Philippe Borremans, Emergency Risk and Crisis Communication Consultant, President-elect of IPRA: “Crisis & Emergency Risk Communication – the need for an integrated approach”
  • Yan Jin, Professor, University of Georgia: “Gaining Insights from a Multi-methodological Approach to Crisis Learning and Pandemic Communication Management”
  • Matthew W. Seeger, Professor, Dean of the College of Fine, Performing & Communication Arts, Wayne State University: “Communicating Death and Dying During Crises:  Uncertainty, Equivocality and Strategic Ambiguity”
  • Andreas Schwarz, Chair of the Department of Public Relations & Communication of Technology, llmenau University of Technology: “Internal Risk and Crisis Communication on the COVID-19 pandemic: Global experiences of higher education institutions”

Click here for a more detailed summary of each of the presentations.

The series includes online sessions every first or second Friday from February through July. The first session will be chaired by Dr. Florian Meissner, Macromedia University of Applied Sciences. All keynotes will be followed by an open discussion with the audience.

Please find updates on the panel and on the Crisis2021 virtual series on our website: https://ecreacrisis.com/virtual-event-dates-and-themes/

Of course, this panel can only be a starting point for discussion of the short- and long-term implications the current crisis has for our field of research. We would therefore like to point out that the further online sessions within our virtual series, too, can be used to present thematically related research—while also being open for other research topics. Our Crisis2021 series is virtually hosted and coordinated by Leeds Beckett University in the UK. Submissions for our full live and pre-recorded series are open with priority for live sessions going to those presentations and/or panels submitted before 15 January, 2021. See our call for abstracts for more information.