I was honoured to organise a conference in his memory on 16th and 17th December 2011 in the University of Leeds to coincide with the first anniversary of his untimely passing. 'Organised' is used here loosely: in fact the organisation of the conference was really down to one of our star PhD students, Molly Sisson, who writes her own blog on her research on student exchanges and public diplomacy (http://americanstudentsinbritain.blogspot.com/). Many, many thanks to Molly for all her hard work on this conference.
So many of Phil's colleagues, collaborators and former students from all over the world gathered in Leeds to talk about their own research in three key areas - the history of propaganda, contemporary strategic communications, and war journalism - and to reflect on Phil's impact and legacy. The list of participants is too long for this blog, but I was delighted that journalist Paul Moorcraft, Davids Culbert and Ellwood, Nick Cull, Michael Nelson from Reuters, Stephen Badsey, Kate Utting, James Chapman, Jeffrey Richards and Piers Robinson all attended. Junior scholars, always very important to Phil, were represented by many of his former PhD students - Jacob Udo-Udo Jacob, Cristina Archetti, Elina Bardach-Yalov, and of course Molly Sisson - and Edward Corse who has just completed his PhD thesis on the British Council between the wars, thus bringing us full circle to Phil's intellectual origins. The highlight of the conference was undoubtedly the talk delivered by the BBC's Kate Adie on her experiences as a war correspondent. Phil always told a story about how Kate had saved his life in Beirut, though we are sure the story got bigger and bigger every time he told it.
Dr Cristina Archetti and Paul Moorcraft
Kate Adie and Gary Rawnsley with some of the current MA students in ICS
Molly Sisson, Professor Nick Cull, Dr Jacob Udo-Udo Jacob, Dr Elina Bardach-Yalov
Professors Gary Rawnsley, Nick Cull, David Culbert and David Ellwood
Professor Ed Spiers, Professor David Culbert, Dr Kate Utting, Professor Stephen Badsey
I should take this opportunity to thank Professor David Welch of the University of Kent at Canterbury for providing some much needed funding for the conference. David is editing a festschrift for Phil that will include many of the papers presented at the conference.
Phil helped to design the interior of the Institute's new home on the Leeds University campus. He was particularly proud of the cinema, and so it seemed appropriate to organise a ceremony at the conference to name this room The Philip M. Taylor Cinema. The plaque was unveiled by the Vice Chancellor of Leeds University, Professor Michael Arthur and Phil's widow, Sue Heward.
Professor Michael Arthur, Sue Heward, Professor Gary Rawnsley, and Judith Stamper (Acting Head of ICS) outside the Philip M. Taylor Cinema at the University of Leeds
We will all continue to miss Phil. He was such a commanding presence in many people's lives, but the work goes on. His website - a 'one stop shop' for resources relating to international communciations, propaganda and public diplomacy - is available at http://ics.leeds.ac.uk/papers/index.cfm?outfit=pmt