Associate Professor Jenny Zhengye Hou is an internationally award-winning researcher and scholar in the intersection of strategic communication, digital platforms, and cross-cultural studies from the Queensland University of Technology in Australia. She holds expertise in using digital and social media communication to advance public interest across a range of interventional contexts from food waste reduction, disaster risk education, accessible transport, to health literacy promotion. The various strands of her research agenda foreground a humanistic inquiry into digitally empowered strategic communication, especially its impact on social equity, diversity, and inclusivity.
She has published numerous peer-reviewed articles in the field’s leading journals, along with book chapters by prestigious publishers, including co-editing an anthology entitled The Global Foundations of Public Relations: Humanism, China, and the West (Routledge, 2022), the first of its kind in a humanistic approach to interrogate data-driven and commercialised digital communication that has markedly dominated human and social lives. She is also the recipient of the European Commission Erasmus+ Scholarship (2016), the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations Fellowship (2017), the US Arthur W. Page Center Legacy Scholar Grant (2019, 2021), Australian CRC Fight Food Waste Grant (2020-2022), and Australian Commonwealth and Queensland Governments Queensland Resilience and Risk Reduction Funds (2023-2025). Visit her full profile.
During my visit at CRASSH, I will work on a book project inspired by a recent grant I am leading to enhance public understanding of disaster inequality as experienced by the culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities in the Western world. Through a lens of digital storytelling and narrative engagement. I will integrate multi-disciplinary theories spanning arts, digital technology/media, disaster science, and cultural sociology to develop diverse sensemaking of CALD communities’ needs, strengths, and vulnerability in disasters. At the centre of my approach is a humanistic inquiry to divert attention away from fragments of disaster-related data to the caring about humane bearings shaped by digital narratives and imagery of CALD communities. Beyond a technical tool, digital storytelling will offer new ways of making visible often invisible disaster inequities in ways that challenge dominant modes of seeing and meaning making. CALD communities are not merely victims or recipients of disaster risk communication, but they are co-creators of situated, practical knowledge and active participants in fostering disaster resilience. They can be agents to produce their own ‘disaster tales’, rather than being written about by others. In this sense, my project aims to advocate the interest of this CALD population while navigating digital technology and tools in the pursuit of disaster justice.