As Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing, I have a particular interest in digital culture, and how this affects the third sector, especially faith organisations, voluntary organisations, and government behavioural campaigns. I moved to this position after five years involved with the CODEC Centre for Digital Theology, St John’s College, Durham University, for whom I remain a Visiting Fellow. At CODEC, I researched discipleship in a digital age, drawing upon over 130 voices from ‘the pew, the pulpit and the academy’ on the website http://bigbible.org.uk. My work included highlighting to the church the importance of engaging with digital technologies. Previous roles in academia include ‘Senior Fellow in Technology Enhanced Learning’ alongside temporary lectureships, web editorial work, and research projects (including into web accessibility and usability) at the University of Winchester and Interdisciplinary Research Officer at the University of Manchester.
I have been Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint since 2001, whose clients have included third sector organisations such as Girlguiding, The National Archives and NCVO (via another agency), Christian organisations including The Church of England, The Methodist Church, and United Reformed Church, publishers including Lion Hudson and CPO, universities including ‘Organisational Development in Higher Education Group’ and The University of Limerick, and a range of small businesses, including anti-diet cause ‘Beyond Chocolate’, and involvement in the social media startup Super Fun Days Out.
My first degree was in History with Education Studies (1997), whilst my history PhD focused upon ‘The planning, design and reception of British home front propaganda posters of the second world war’ (2004). Both were undertaken at what is now the University of Winchester, ratified by the University of Southampton, with the PhD passed without correction by external examiner Lord Asa Briggs. I gained a professional coaching certification from the International Coaching Federation certified course with The Kerslake Coaching Company (2009). The Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education was completed at the University of Winchester (2011), with the ILM Endorsed Introduction to Line Management undertaken at Durham University (2015).
I have wide-ranging networks on social media, including at least 9,900 Twitter followers, 1+ million web/blog visitors since 1997, around 120,000 Slideshare views, 1000+ LinkedIn Connections, as well as extensive organisational networks for work-only purposes. I created my first blog in support of my PhD research, and started engaging with social media whilst undertaking extensive global travel during 2007-8 (South-East Asia, Australia, New Zealand, South America and European tour leader). In studying all forms of communication, my emphasis is upon the digital as enabler, rather than as replacement for other communications media.
I have extensive experience of public speaking, including at academic conferences, and to overseas groups, and repeat invitations to high profile events such as Spring Harvest and New Wine, and am Conference Consultant for the annual autumn Premier Digital Conference. Topics include digital culture, strategy and engagement, cultural change, spirituality, and children and the internet, particularly drawing upon my best-selling book Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014). I am currently converting my 2004 PhD ‘The planning, design and reception of British home front propaganda posters of the second world war’ into a museum-appropriate text, drawing upon viral campaign surrounding ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’, the original history of which is taken from my research.
I am regularly asked to write for a range of publications for a wide range of audiences, and often provide expert comment to the media. The Financial Times described Raising Children in a Digital Age as ‘sensible’ in a sea of scare texts around the topic of children and the internet. I have been on flagship shows such as The One Show (BBC One), Steve Wright in the Afternoon (BBC Radio 2) and BBC News, whilst local and specialist media frequently asks for comment or opinion pieces on aspects related to digital culture.
Other academic service (administration and management)
Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing UG – Digital Media & Marketing Platforms (Level 4) UG – Unit Lead - The Big Agency (Level 5) UG – Digital & Social Media Marketing Communications Management (Level 6) UG – Dissertation Supervision (Level 6) PG - Unit Lead - Methodology Design and Practice - UK & Hong Kong (Level 7) PG - Dissertation Supervision (Level 7)
External Examiner: MSc Digital Marketing, Staffordshire University
Research Expertise, Publications & Grants
My research interests lie particularly in: Digital culture, practice and literacy, with significant expertise in Christianity and the third sector online related to social media (with a particular focus upon positive engagement and the removal of fear); technology enhanced learning and teaching; knowledge exchange; interdisciplinarity and research-informed practice; mass communications, particularly advertising, propaganda and the visual within British culture (with a particular focus upon propaganda posters of the Second World War).
Doctoral Supervision I am available to supervise doctorates in my areas of research interest. Please e-mail with a brief overview of your prospective research project.
Grants Awarded September 2012 – August 2015: The Big Bible Project, The Jerusalem Trust, £75,000 (Contributor) June 2010 – August 2015: The Big Bible Project, The Methodist Church, The Bible Society, Premier Christian Media, 12Baskets, SPCK, £33,000 (Contributor) August 2011 – July 2013: Organisational Development in HE Digital Literacies Project with JISC, £10,000 (Bid Writer) August 2011 – July 2013: FASTECH (Feedback and Assessment for Students with Technology), JISC, £190,000 (Contributor) June 2010 – January 2011: BODGIT (Bringing Organisational Development Guidance into IT), part of 'Embedding work with IT', JISC, £9,000 (Contributor) June 2009 – June 2011: SkillsNet, Learning & Teaching Project Funding, £3,000 (Contributor) June 2000: Postgraduate Fund, £350 (Bid Writer)
Conferences & Speaking Engagements
Between 1999 and 2015, I have given, or will give, over 100 papers at conferences and events, including high-profile events such as Spring Harvest, and invitations around Europe. The most recent academic papers: 2015: In the world but not of it: Keep Calm and Carry On, Fandom and Religion, Leicester (July) 2015: MediaLit: Engaging Faith and Media in a Digital Age, ECSM, Portugal (July) 2014: Propaganda with a Mission: Learning from the Second World War for the Christian Sector in a Digital Age, ASREC, Durham University (September) 2014: #DIGIDisciple: Issues and Opportunities for the Christian Sector in a Digital Age, Media, Religion and Culture in a Networked World, Canterbury (August) 2014: The Digital Age; a Challenge for Christian Discipleship?, ECSM, Brighton (July) 2014: The Digital Age: Photoshopped Selves?, Ecclesia and Ethics II, Online (March) 2013: Raising Children in a Digital Age, CODEC Research Seminar, Durham University (December) 2013: Tortured Through Technology, CNMAC13 (November) 2013: Slow and Steady Wins the Race, ALTC2013 (September) 2013: Engaging in Discipleship in a Digital Age, GNPT (September) 2013: Depicting Death in War, SOCREL: Material Religion (April) 2012: Seeking to improve NSS Scores in Assessment and Feedback utilising Technological Solutions, ALTC2012 (September) 2012: Blended Values in a Digital Age, Social Media Values, CODEC, Durham University(September) 2012: Aligning assessment and feedback with 21st century needs, (with Joelle Adams & Peter Bullen) International Blended Learning Conference (June) 2012: Programming Collaborative Learning, HEA Media Conference (May) 2012: Manipulating Media, FASTECH Day, University of Winchester (June) 2012: Digitising Programme by Programme (with Nicole McNab & Joelle Adams) Plymouth Enhanced Learning Conference (April) 2012: E-Tools for Sharing Resources, Learning Lunch, University of Winchester (March) Since 2010, I have been involved in organising the Premier Digital Conference (formerly the Christian New Media Conference) with Premier Christian Media, an annual event that has grown from 200 to 600 delegates, with 40+ invited speakers. A full list of conference papers, speaking engagements and conferences attended are available on: http://drbexl.co.uk/speaker.
Professional Affiliations 2012 – Present: Member, Network for New Media, Religion and Digital Culture Studies 2011 – Present: Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) 2010 – Present: Member of JISC Learning and Teaching Experts 2010 – Present: The MediaNet: Church and Media Network 2008 – Present: Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association (MeCCSA) 1997 – Present: Institute of Historical Research (IHR) 2011 – 2015: Member of the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) 2005-2006: Association of Research Managers and Administrators 2001-2006: British Web Design and Marketing Association
Committees & Review Boards
2014 – Present: European Social Media Conference (ESMC), International Review Board 2010 – Present: JISC Learning and Teaching Practice Experts Group 2014 – 2015: Editorial Advisory Committee, Durham University 2010 – 2013: CODEC Steering Committee, St John’s, Durham University 2010 – 2013: The Poster Journal Editorial Review Board 2009 – 2012: Technology Enhanced Working Group, University of Winchester 2009 – 2012: Learning and Teaching Committee, University of Winchester 2009 – 2012: Learning Networking Working Group, University of Winchester 2010 – 2011: Plymouth E-Learning Conference (PELC), International Review Board
Books (authored/edited/special issues)
B. Lewis (2017). Keep Calm and Carry On: the Truth Behind the Poster. Imperial War Museums.
R. Lewis (2014). Raising Children in a Digital Age Enjoying the best, avoiding the worst. Lion Books.