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Senior Lecturer in Communication and Media, University of Newcastle

Melanie James is an academic at the University of Newcastle (UON) in strategic communication and public relations.  She primarily researches the application of Positioning Theory to strategic communication. In 2017 she is a Visiting Research Fellow at UTS.

She has also recently completed a period as Visiting Researcher at the United Nations University-CRIS, Belgium, working on the application of positioning theory and strategic communication to the concept of "Science Diplomacy".

Having received the National Educator of the Year Award 2015 by the Public Relations Institute of Australia, Melanie continues to pursue innovation in teaching. In 2016, she led the new MOOC Committee for UON and project managed the first NewcastleX MOOC development, which has been recently announced as a finalist in the top ten global Edx MOOCS.

In 2016, Melanie successfully undertook the Head of School role and led a team of 60 staff through a major restructure process.

Her research is internationally recognised and she was a keynote speaker at the 2017 International Positioning Theory Conference at Oxford University.

She is the current editor of the Asia Pacific Public Relations Journal, now open access, established in 1999.

Prior to joining UON Melanie was an executive level communication manager in government (Australian Greenhouse Office, Australian Electoral Commission, Australian Bureau of Statistics), health and financial sectors.  She has won national and state awards for communication campaigns. She continues to take on selected strategic communication consultancy roles.


  • –present
    Senior lecturer in communication and public relations, University of Newcastle


  • 2011 
    University of Newcastle, PhD
  • 1998 
    University of Technology, Sydney, MA Journalism
  • 1993 
    University of Technology, Sydney, BA (Hons) in Communication