Renae Desai
B. Commerce (Marketing & Public Relations): Curtin University of Technology; B. Communication (Public Relations) (Hons): Edith Cowan University; MPRIA: Member Public Relations Institute of Australia

Lecturer in Public Relations

About me

I am a researcher and lecturer in the School of Arts at Murdoch University having been teaching at university for almost 20 years.

My research interests include issues and crisis management, online community and stakeholder engagement, health communication, digital media, creative communication and international education.

I come from a public relations and digital communication consulting background and currently manage several websites and social media platforms for myriad projects.

I am a Fellow of the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) having held positions such as National Director and WA State President.

I am the discipline lead for the Health and Web Communication postgraduate coursework programs and lecturer in the Strategic Communication program and the Director of the School of Art’s student communication and academic consultancy MESH www.meshatmurdoch.com

My PhD project and academic writing has focused on the development of an online community engagement model for Australian health issues, in particular asbestos related diseases, primarily due to my work as the project manager for the Australian Asbestos Network website.

My other research interests include the application of social media in advocacy and activism communication, HIV/AIDS and digital media in Australia and Africa, the internationalisation of the public relations curriculum in Australia and Singapore and the role of emotional social intelligence in personal and professional communication success within emerging public relations practitioners in Australia..

Current projects

Research Projects/Grants

2013-current: Australia-Africa Universities Network (Murdoch University Africa Research Group). Integrating HIV and Gender-Related Issues Into Environmental Assessments For Australian Mining Companies Operating In Africa – School of Arts research group representative.

2013-current: Murdoch University School of Arts  – Kheth’Impilo South Africa HIV/AIDS communication research alliance – Project Leader.

2011. ALTC Fellowship (Betty Leask). $5,000. Internationalisation and the public relations curriculum with Kate Fitch.

2008-current: Australian Asbestos Network website research project (NHMRC funded) – Project Manager and Associate Investigator – PhD case study.

Awards and grants

Murdoch University Vice Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Awards nominee

2009:2010:2011:2013

Public Relations institute of Australia WA State Award for Excellence

September 2012

Highly commended for ‘The Australian Asbestos Network: Engaging the Australian community on the enduring dangers of Asbestos. Murdoch University. Project Manager and Communications Manager.

September 2008

Highly commended for ‘Be Part of the Balance: Jury Duty in the Pilbara’. WA Department of the Attorney General and Creative Nature Communications. Project Manager and Lead Consultant.

Events and speaking engagements

Desai, R. and Phillips, GA. The Australian Asbestos Network: From storytelling to community engagement. Perth Mesothelioma Symposium, Perth, November, 2012.

Desai, R. and Phillips, GA. The Australian Asbestos Network: From storytelling to community engagement. Inaugural Asbestos Working Party Symposium, Perth, August, 2011.

Desai, R. and Phillips, GA. The launch of the Australian Asbestos Network: From storytelling to community engagement. Perth Mesothelioma Symposium, Perth, 26 November, 2010.

Phillips, G and Desai, R. The Australian Asbestos Network Project From story telling to community engagement. NCARD conference, Perth, October, 2010.

Lindgren, M. Phillips, G and Desai, R. The Asbestos Stories Research Project: Citizen Patients and Doctor Bloggers. NCARD conference, Sydney, 26 November, 2009.

Lindgren, M. and Desai, R. The Asbestos Stories Research Project. NCARD conference, Melbourne, 5 December, 2008.

Professional and community service

ANZCA WA state representative
2012-2015

ANZCA (School of Arts) 2013 International Conference co-convenor
2012-2014

PRIA (WA) Division Board Representative
2015 – 2016

PRIA (WA) Division President
2013 – 2016

PRIA (WA) state council member
2000 – ongoing

Publications

Refereed journal publications

Desai, R. M. and Wolf, K. 2014. Is social media really the answer? How issues create communities and communities create issues online. Asia Pacific Public Relations Journal. Vol. 15, No. 1. Online: deakin.edu.au/arts-ed/apprj

Fitch, K and Desai R, 2012. Developing global practitioners: Addressing industry expectations of intercultural competence in public relations graduates in Singapore and Perth. Journal of International Communication, Special issue on Cities, Creativities and Connectivity. 18(1), 63-78.

Desai. R. 2010. PR and web technology: a match made in virtual heaven? Asia Pacific Public Relations Journal (online), 11. Accessed February 14 at http://www.pria.com.au/journal/area?command=record&id=92&cid=14

Refereed conference presentations

Desai, R. M. and Wolf, K. 2013. Is social media really the answer? How issues create communities and communities create issues online. Public Relations Institute of .Australia National Conference Academic Forum, Adelaide, November.

Heng, E. and Desai, R. 2013. Technology, Crisis Communication and Culture: Singapore’s love-hate relationship with social media. Public Relations Institute of Australia National Conference Academic Forum, Adelaide, November.

Desai. R. 2012. Developing effective global communicators: Conceptualising emotional intelligence as a graduate attribute in a public relations program. Murdoch University Teaching and Learning Forum. February.

Desai, R. 2012. ‘I’m a people person’: Conceptualising the relevance of emotional social intelligence as a public relations practitioner attribute. World Public Relations Forum International Research Colloquium. Melbourne, Australia. 19 November – abstract accepted.

Desai, R. and Surma, A. 2012. Online dialogue? Engaging stakeholders on a public health issue through collaborative storybuilding on the Internet. World Public Relations Forum International Research Colloquium. Melbourne, Australia. 19 November – abstract accepted.

Desai, R. 2010. PR and web technology: a match made in virtual heaven. Public Relations Institute of Australia National Conference, Darwin, 25 October.

Non-refereed conference presentations

Desai, R.M. 2014. Developing effective communicators: Conceptualising emotional intelligence as a driver of personal and professional success on and off the campus. Australia and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) international conference, Melbourne, July.

Desai, R. M. and Kao, K. 2014. HIV in cyber space: social and mobile media as platforms for health intervention in South Africa and Australia. Australia and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) international conference, Melbourne, July.

Desai, R. and Smyth, C. 2013. Facing Responsibilities: The Unexpected Consequences of Successful Collaboration. Australia and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) international conference, Fremantle, Australia, 5-8 July.

Desai, R. 2012. What about us? The efficacy of the Internet as a channel for engaging stakeholders on public issues in Australia. Australia and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) international conference, Adelaide, Australia, 3-6 July.

Desai, R., Phillips, G., Lindgren, M., Layman, L. and Smyth, C. 2012. Collaboration works – using a multidisciplinary approach to generating awareness of a public issue online. Australia and New Zealand Communications Association (ANZCA) international conference, Adelaide, Australia, 3-6 July.

Lindgren, M., Phillips, G. and Desai, R. 2012. The power of personal narrative in raising awareness about asbestos. StoryNet Workshop: Narratives and entertainment: The use of stories to make communication more entertaining and effective. University of Amsterdam. 21-22 June.

Desai, R. 2011. Creating awareness when no one wants to know: Online engagement for asbestos awareness in Australia. Australia and New Zealand Communications Association (ANZCA) international conference, Hamilton, New Zealand. 6-8 July.

Desai, R.M. and Mayrhofer, D. 2004. Putting the Public Back into Public Relations. EUPRERA Conference, Leipzig, Germany, September.