About Melanie James

Melanie James (PhD) has won international, national and state awards for her communication campaigns, innovative course design, and academic work.

Having held various academic positions at the University of Newcastle, Australia from 2006 to 2018, she now undertakes selected communication and research projects.

Her past professional senior management roles in strategic communications, public relations and media have been in the government, health and financial sectors.

Melanie James’ academic research builds on Positioning Theory, which originated in the field of social psychology, focusing on strategic communication. Her academic book (Routledge, 2014), Positioning Theory and Strategic Communications: A new approach to public relations research and practice is viewed as one of the contemporary foundational texts within Positioning Theory, and is regularly cited in multidisciplinary research contexts.

In 2022, she is an invited contributor as lead author of the chapter, Positioning Theory and Strategic Communication in the forthcoming book, International Handbook of Positioning Theory (Routledge UK, in press, edited by Mary McVee, Luk Van Langenhove, Cynthia Brock, and Bo Allesøe Christensen).

Melanie researched the application of her strategic positioning framework to the field of Science Diplomacy. The paper reporting on this exploratory research, co-authored with Dr Deborah Wise and Professor Luk van Langenhove, was accepted into the Public Diplomacy stream of the 2020 International Communications Association Conference and was presented 21-25 May 2020.

Melanie is also is a published creative writer, and has been a finalist in the Australian Vogel Literary Award and the 2016 University of New Orleans Press non-fiction/memoir competition.

Employment history and academic qualifications can be found here (opens in new window on LinkedIn).

Melanie lives in Newcastle, Australia – a city situated on a beach and a harbour!

Other Highlights include:

Melanie was an invited contributing author for the Wiley International Encyclopedia of Strategic Communication (2018) and her major entries on the subjects of “Emergent Strategy” and “Strategic Readiness” are increasingly cited in multidisciplinary contexts.

Melanie chaired the newly formed University of Newcastle’s Massive Open Online course (MOOC) steering committee and project-managed the first MOOC development for the University of Newcastle, which won the global award “MOOC of the Year” in December 2017 for Exceptional Contribution to Online Learning by Edx – global award “MOOC of the Year” for Exceptional Contribution to Online Learning by Edx.

In 2017 Melanie was a Visiting Research Fellow at UTS (July – December) and was a Visiting Researcher at the United Nations University – Centre for Regional Integration Studies, Bruges, Belgium.

She was an invited contributor as a “thought leader in social media” in both the 2017 and the original 2014 edition of Lipshultz’s book, Social Media Communication: Concepts, Practices, Data, Law and Ethics (Routledge). 

Having been awarded the National Educator of the Year Award 2015 by the Public Relations Institute of Australia, Melanie’s third year students, with technical officer, George Hyde, made this video as a tribute to her teaching: View here (30 secs).