Creative work: amateur and professional practices

Date & Time:

19th February, 16:00


C284, 2nd floor Curzon B
Birmingham City University
4 Curzon Street, Birmingham B4 7BD


This talk by Dr. Liz Yeomans (Leeds Beckett University) explores the role of emotional labour in PR and the implications for PR workers.

Dr. Liz Yeomans (Leeds Beckett University) The Price of “Being Yourself”: Public Relations as Emotional Labour

Inextricably linked to neoliberal market economies, Public Relations’ influence in our promotional culture is profound. Yet many aspects of the profession are under-researched, including the impact on workers who construct displays of feeling to elicit a desired emotional response, to earn trust and manage clients. The emotionally demanding nature of this work, and how this is symptomatic of “always on” culture, is particularly overlooked.

Liz Yeomans’ research offers insights into the hidden emotion management strategies employed by PR workers in handling professional relationships, the contexts in which this work takes place, and the toll it can take on human wellbeing.

Sally Cooke (Nottingham Trent University) Materiality vs. materialism: sew what?

This session will draw on design theory and philosophy to place sewing skills in a broader theoretical context relating to notions of progress and the role of design in that. In doing so, it will place what is often characterised as a quotidian, out-dated, domestic, and highly feminised craft skill in a more meaningful, material and political context. It will address the widening schism in the sustainability debate, between those prioritising ecocentric or technocentric solutions to fashion’s ‘waste problem’ and invite you to consider clothes in all their material reality. A series of ‘what if’ questions will also be introduced to prompt thinking about how things might be otherwise.

About the speakers:

Dr. Liz Yeomans has led the critical PR field in researching emotional labour since 2005, culminating in a research monograph Public Relations as Emotional Labour in 2019. Liz has since written about the links between mental health and emotional labour in PR agencies (for Communication Director magazine) and was interviewed as part of a Women in PR podcast series, led by Professor Ana Aldi, at Quadriga University, Berlin.

Sally Cooke is an AHRC funded PhD student in Art & Design at Nottingham Trent University. She is a maker and textile print designer with an MA in Creative Practice and over 30 years’ experience of making clothes. Her research concerns the learning and application of basic functional sewing skills in the contemporary context of ‘sustainable fashion’.