Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, and for 2020 ‘Vaughan Park Resident Scholar’, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research.
She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014 – second edition in the planning) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.
Why are you passionate about digital?
I’m passionate about people, and I’m passionate about communication, and digital is the latest environment in which communication happens. I’m passionate about understanding digital culture, not falling for ‘technological determinism’, and seeing past the negative media stories to understand how the digital can and is being used positively: ‘enjoying the best’ not just ‘focusing on the worst’.
Name a hero of yours and why.
There are so many people who serve as an inspiration, at different times, spaces and contexts, I’m not someone who likes to choose just one! Most progress in life is determined by people working together, often unknown people, building upon each other’s work. Can you tell I used to teach a module challenging ‘History of Great Men’?
What can people expect from your session?
A lot more humour than might be expected from a session about incurable cancer! Joanne and I will have a conversation, drawing upon her book Finding God in a Culture of Fear, and professional and personal insights from my research and ‘my cancer experience’. The session will be illustrated with screenshots from online material that the church could learn from, as The Body of Christ has cancer, and those of us living with this reality (or any other chronic disease) have a story to tell.
What most excites you about #PremDAC19?
I’ve been involved in PremDac since the first conference in 2010, and I love the way it has grown. Digital is constantly evolving, and the conference evolves with it – and the strapline works – every year I leave inspired, equipped and more connected (and re-connected).