I am an academic, researcher, and project coordinator with a specialism in grassroots storytelling and social movement communication, and professional experience in the third and higher education sectors. I am currently an Assistant Professor in Language and Communication at the University of Birmingham in the Department of English Language and Linguistics, co-developing the new BA Digital Media and Communications programme. Prior to that, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow, working on a new research project considering the role of storytelling for economic justice. The project, funded by the ESRC and University of Nottingham, continues my relationship with the human rights education charity Journey to Justice. I am a co-convenor of the PSA Media and Politics Group

My academic research and publications critically examine the nature of communicative practices and analyses associated relational networks in on and offline spaces.

My research interests cover a broad range of areas including:
• Social movement communicative tactics
• Digital and new media, the internet and democratic participation
• The political and social role of the mass media and new digital media
• Political communication
• Critical theory and cultural studies.

My new book, Social Movements in Elections, synthesises all of my research interests. It examines the on and offline communicative tactics of Extinction Rebellion and The People's Assembly Against Austerity in elections and related media coverage and manifesto pledges around the issues of austerity and the environment. It establishes the role of movement-voter interaction in elections as extended political consultation that seeks to persuade more citizens to participate in the electoral process and put pressure on the prospective government over which policies to adopt.

A short piece about my research for @LSEpoliticsblog is now live. It discusses how the tactics of anti-austerity and environmental campaigners render movement-voter interaction a key aspect of electoral communication.

I launched my book at the fifth Political Studies Association Media and Politics Group (@PSAMPG) seminar series. A recording of the event is available on the PSAMPG YouTube channel and below.

ESRC Postdoctoral Project at a glance

My most recent research was conducted collaboration with the national human rights education charity Journey to Justice (JtoJ), and explores the power of storytelling to create change. The graphic opposite shows the data collected and the topics covered.

A journal article for the project is available here:

Rhodes, A., (2022) 'Storytelling for economic justice: the role of stories in galvanising for change', Storytelling, Self, Society, Volume 18, Number 2, pp. 257-278. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/sss.2022.a923218

Book launch - PSAMPG

In this video I talk about my book, Social Movements in Elections. I outline the theoretical dimension of movement-voter interaction, focuses on XR's communicative tactics during the 2019 election and media amplification of their message, and establishes the importance of movement-voter interaction in the field of communication studies.


Recent research outputs and projects in academia and the third sector


Recently published books, chapters, commentary and reviews


Teaching experience across modules and degree courses