Professor Stef Pukallus

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

School of Journalism, Media and Communication

Faculty Director of Postgraduate Research

Professor of 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

Professor Stef Pukallus
School of Journalism, Media and Communication
The Wave
2 Whitham Road
S10 2AH

Stef is Professor of 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


  • PI - Stay Hotel Belvedere Limited funded research project, Perspectives on asylum-seekers and refugees. Identifying challenges, misconceptions, and potential for integration,  55K, Jan - July 2023.
  • 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. She has largely abandoned the conventional distinction of lecture/seminars and instead uses a variety of teaching elements within the same session. In this way, her teaching appeals to different kinds of learners, tests innovative and appropriate teaching techniques, provides students with ownership of their own learning, brings in external experts both academic and non-academic from across the world. 

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).
  • FCS602 Doctoral project: scope, design and management.
PhD supervision

Current PhD students 

  • 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: A study of the role of religion, religious leaders and British state actors in building sustainable peace in post-conflict Northern Ireland.

Past 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 

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

PhD study in journalism, media and communication