About the speakers

Scroll down to learn about the guest speakers at the International Public and Political Communication conference.


Special Keynote address 

Owen Jones

Portrait of Owen Jones

Owen Jones is a British journalist, political commentator, left-wing and LGBT activist and social media influencer. He is the author of four books, including Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class (2011), The Establishment: And How They Get Away With It (2014) and most recently This Land: The Story of a Movement (2020), and has written extensively for The Guardian, The New Statesman and The Independent newspapers. Owen also hosts his own weekly podcast “The Owen Jones Show” on YouTube.

Guest speakers 

James Ball

Portrait of James Ball

James Ball is a British journalist and author. He has worked for The Guardian, WikiLeaks, BuzzFeed, The New European and The Washington Post and is the author of several books, including WikiLeaks: News in the Networked Era, with Charlie Beckett (2012), Post-Truth: How Bullshit Conquered the World (2017) and the System: Who Owns the Internet, and How it Owns Us (2020). He is the recipient of several awards for journalism and has won the Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism.

Václav Štětka 

Portrait of Václav Štětka

Václav Štětka is Senior Lecturer in Communication and Media Studies at, Loughborough University (UK), and Principal Investigator of “The Illiberal Turn” project. His research interests encompass political communication, the role of media in the rise of populism and polarization, and the relationship between media and democracy in Central and Eastern Europe. He regularly contributes to the Digital News Report (Oxford University), Media Pluralism Monitor (European University Institute in Florence) and Network of European Political Communication Scholars (NEPOCS), and is member of the Committee for Editorial Independence of the Czech media house Economia.

Caitlin Roper 

Portrait of Caitlin Roper

Caitlin Roper leads the digital campaigns team for the UK Labour Party - focusing on content creation that is designed to persuade, mobilise and engage with the electorate. She has worked for the Labour Party since 2018 on numerous by-elections, a General election, local elections, and most recently as Sadiq Khan's Head of Digital for his re-election campaign as London Mayor. She has a degree in History and Politics from the University of Sussex and an MA in “Media and Strategic Communication” from George Washington University. During her MA, Caitlin worked for a political digital advertising agency which ran the advertising buys for the Hillary for America campaign.

Laura Wileman 

Portrait of Laura Wileman

Laura Wileman is Head of Communications at Sheffield City Council. She has an MA in Print Journalism from the University of Sheffield, and worked as a Multimedia Production Journalist at the Press Association before joining the Daily Mirror in London, where she became Assistant Chief Sub-Editor. Since then, Laura has worked in local government communications, leading the team as Head of News at Haringey Council in North London, before making the move to Sheffield City Council. Laura now runs the council’s team of media, campaigns, internal communications and design professionals, working alongside senior leaders and elected politicians to help drive forward both the organisation and this amazing city.

Imran Ahmed 

Portrait of Imran Ahmed

Imran Ahmed is the founder CEO of the Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH). He is an authority on the social and psychological dynamics of social media, as well as issues surrounding trolling, hate-speech, misinformation, conspiracy theories and fake news. He is a regular feature in the media as an expert in online behaviour and frequently advises politicians in the US, UK, Europe and elsewhere on policy and legislation. Imran holds an MA in Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge and tweets at @imi_ahmed

Prof. Peter Knight 

Portrait of Peter Knight

Prof. Peter Knight teaches American Studies at the University of Manchester. He is an expert on conspiracy theories, and cultural dimensions of finance. He has published widely and led major grant projects in both areas. He has also held visiting fellowships at New York University, Harvard and the Smithsonian. In the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures (SALC), he has served as Director of Postgraduate Education, Associate Director for Research Impact and Knowledge Exchange, and Head of Division for English, American Studies & Creative Writing. In the spring of 2022 he will be a fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies in Amsterdam.

Lucie Le Cointe: Extinction Rebellion (XR) 

Extinction rebellion logo
Portrait of Lucie Le Cointe

Lucie Le Cointe is a climate activist. She is working as a coordinator of Extinction Rebellion Midlands' Media & Messaging team. She previously worked as a web-marketing manager for an e-business company. She started campaigning for the environment ten years ago as a volunteer for various organisations, including a local branch of the French Green Party.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) is a global environmental movement and campaigning organisation. Their core aim is to use non-conventional direct action and civil disobedience tactics to compel governments to take seriously the threat posed by anthropogenic climate change.  


Dis/Informed poster Image

Dis/Informed (2021) is a documentary that aims to question why we are increasingly vulnerable to disinformation and conspiracy theories. Directors Katharina Gellein and Charles Kriel go in search of why women’s spaces online are being radicalised, and how the pandemic has made us all vulnerable to believing comforting lies over harsh truth. Gellein and Kriel’s previous film is entitled People You May Know (2020).

Students record in the radio suite

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