Dr Stef Pukallus

BA (Potsdam/Paris XII), MA (Paris III), MA (Paris XII), PhD (Sheffield), SFHEA

Department of Journalism Studies

Senior Lecturer in Public Communication and Civil Development

A profile photograph of Stef Pukallus.
Profile picture of A profile photograph of Stef Pukallus.
+44 114 222 4256

Full contact details

Dr Stef Pukallus
Department of Journalism Studies
9 Mappin Street
S1 4DT

Stef is Senior Lecturer in Public Communication and Civil Development and the Faculty of Social Sciences Director of PGR studies. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and the founding Chair of the HCPB Hub which is a network that brings together academics and practitioners that are interested in the communicative conditions of peaceful cooperation within civil societies and counts nearly a hundred active members.

Stef’s research focus is the role of public communication in civil society in the development, strengthening, rebuilding, diminishment or destruction of it. She has been involved in a variety of funded research projects, undertaken consultancy for the UN, the European Commission and the European Parliament. Stef is also Academic Director of the Global Listening Centre and is a close collaborator of the Centre for Freedom of the Media (CFOM).

Research interests

Stef’s research interests centre around the role public communication can play in the development, strengthening, rebuilding, diminishment or destruction of civil society.

Currently, Stef is working on her fourth monograph which focuses on the significance of listening in civil society.

Her third book was concerned with  communicative peacebuilding in post-civil war settings. More specifically, she is interested in to what extent communicative activities in the factual and fictional mass media and the performative and visual arts can help to achieve peaceful cooperation among citizens in such settings. She argues that communicative activities have the potential to help achieve civil peace if they are underpinned by what she calls discursive civility and happen in safe spaces. Based on this work, Stef has provided training in a variety of contexts and countries including Kenya. Together with peacebuilders in Kenya she has created an informal association called East Africa Peace Ambassadors.

Previously, Stef has explored her research interests by investigating the ways in which the European Commission has publicly communicated European citizenship, attempted to communicate with its citizens and tried to stimulate the building of a civil Europe through civil initiatives in the areas of media, education and culture since 1951. She has published two research monographs and various papers in this area.



Journal articles


  • Co-I (academic project lead), British Council funded research project ‘Digital Media Arts for an inclusive Public Sphere (Digital MAPS). Collaboration with BuildUp and the data analysis company called datavaluepeople, American University of Kurdistan and the University of Manchester. The project works in eight countries and has local researchers in each of them. Total award £299, 776.000, 6 months, 2021-22.]
  • Co-I, Newton RCUK-Colciencias Research Partnership funded research project 'Improbable Dialogues: Participatory Research as a Strategy for Reconciliation' collaboration UoS, CINEP and the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Colombia. Winner of the ESRC Impact Prize 2021. Total award £489,962, 2018-2021.
  • Co-I, Expert contributor (public communication and civil policies); European Commission funded, The European Commission – History and Memories of an Institution 1986-2000 (HISTCOM3). Total award: €1.000.000, 2015-2019, PI: Professor Piers Ludlow, LSE, UK.
Teaching interests

Stef strongly believes that students should be able to develop a capacity for analytical thought which spans both practical and theoretical outlooks. To that end she deploys a variety of teaching methods ranging from lectures, dynamic seminars and one-to-one discussions to designing communication strategies and political campaigns with small groups.

She says: "My view is simple and straightforward: we should engage with students via a variety of teaching strategies and encourage and value their contribution to complex debates and intellectual discussion at all times. Above all I enjoy teaching and the opportunity it provides me with to interact with very smart undergraduates and postgraduates, both inside the 'classroom' and outside formal settings."

For her module Reporting the European Union she won the 2016-17 Teaching Excellence in Social Sciences award for Outstanding Practice in Learning and Teaching.

Teaching activities

Currently Stef is module leader for:

  • JNL617 Doctoral Training in Communication and Journalism (PhD).
  • JNL61004 Communication in Peacebuilding (MA International Public and Political Communication).

She also leads FCS6100, the compulsory Ethics module for Faculty of Social Sciences PGR students.

PhD supervision

Current PhD students 

  • Jean-Claude Kayumba: The role of radio in post-conflict society: the example of Radio Okapi in DR Congo and its coverage of the first democratic elections of the country (2006, 2011 and 2018) - White Rose DTP/ESRC Collaborative PhD studentship 
  • Victoria Baskett: Community Radio Soap Opera as a Peacebuilding tool: Atunda Ayenda and the rebuilding civil society through democractic elections in Sierra Leone (White Rose DTP/ESRC Collaborative PhD studentship)
  • Yichun Dou: How can social media be used to prevent hate speech in a post-civil war context? A study of #defyhatenow South Sudan.
  • Kailyn Hilycord: How have journalists Martha Gellhorn, Stanley Karnow, and David Halberstam expressed their (changing) attitudes toward the Vietnam War between 1964 and 1974?
  • Tom Parkin (starting Feb 2023): Faith In Failed States: The relationship between local religious leaders and British state actors in Sudan and South Sudan.

Future candidates are particularly welcome in Stef's principal research areas.

PhD study in journalism, media and communication