This year’s student dissertation conference was chaired by Dr Jill Nash. The event was opened by a key note from Adam Greenwood, the CEO of Greenwood Campbell, a technology-focused creative agency based in Bournemouth. Adam’s inspiring and, given the profile of his business, futuristic opening key note, provoked some thinking early in the morning – his key arguments focused on artificial intelligence (AI), brands as technological creations, as well as the pros and cons of artificial intelligence in people’s everyday life.
In a short interview after his keynote, Adam shared insights about the developments in corporate communications, and argued that the future of marketing communications lies at the intersection of AI, technological solutions such as Google Glass, and voice operated hardware (e.g. Google Home or Alexa), which will get increasingly sophisticated. The speed of technological changes will, according to Adam, be so fast that students will have to take a greater responsibility for commercial and technological education. For him, reading, involvement in placements, and pro-active search for professional inspirations at events and conferences is the only way, in which corporate communication students can find their way forward in this new brave world.
Adam’s keynote nicely set the tone for the day. Subsequently, in all panels, CMC’s UG students had an opportunity to share the findings of their projects. The presentation topics focused on themes ranging from cultural intelligence and social media usage, to ethics of influencers marketing in video gaming, to gruesome images of war in Western media. As well as presenting their work, students did a great job discussing and defending arguments put forward. The conference presentations were accompanied by a lively discussion during the launch and coffee breaks.
The intellectual efforts of all students were recognised with the best presentation award, which this year went to Dominic Stephens of BA (Hons) Public Relations for his work on the politicisation of late night talks shows. The award for the presentation of a day was sponsored by Greenwood Campbell. The presented dissertations of seven students is going to be recognised with an opportunity (or perhaps privilege, depending on ones’ epistemological stance) to publish with their supervisors in the ‘Journal of Promotional Communications’. The closing remarks by Dr Richard Scullion, not only offered the imagination-capturing summary of the conference, but also the demonstration of how to whole-heartedly embrace AI technology, and to be “one step-ahead-of-the-future”.
Students, lovely parents and friends such as Liam Toms, who simply can’t get enough of CMC, enjoyed the conference, as it was well put together thanks to organisational skills of Dr Chris Miles and Dr Jill Nash. Dr Pawel Surowiec and Dr Andrew Kear were conference co-organisers.