Dr Nicky Garsten

Dr Nicky Garsten

Programme Director in BA Hons Public Relations and Communications, and Senior Lecturer

Key details

Dr Nicky Garsten
PhD, MA, PG Cert in HE, CIM Diploma in Marketing, CAM Foundation PR and Management Diploma

Programme Director in BA Hons Public Relations and Communications, and Senior Lecturer

Nicky is a senior lecturer at the University of Greenwich, London, where she directs the BA Hons Public Relations and Communications. She shapes the syllabus and also works in partnership with industry bodies, visiting senior practitioners, alumni from the PR degree, and other universities. She initiated and co-established the Business School's Erasmus partnership with Lund University, Sweden in 2015. She has set up modules such as the specialist undergraduate courses, 'Third Sector PR' and 'PR in Varied Industry Sectors, and an MA course on professional practice. She involves practitioners and alumni in teaching on the PR and Communicationss degree; from Weber Shandwick to the BBC and to Amnesty International.

She encourages student employability. In the last Government DHLE Survey (2017) on the PR and Communications degree, there was zero unemployment with 91% of respondents having professional outcomes. Within the Business School, she co-created and led the introduction of the Greenwich Employability Passport (2012-2015). Since then, the Passport has become embedded in Business School curricula and adopted in most of the university's faculties. Thousands of students have now participated in the scheme.

Nicky is a committee member of the PRCA's Charity and Non-Profit Group, a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a senior fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Previously, Nicky was a healthcare journalist and went on to run the Press Office at the Royal National Institute of the Blind. She later had strategic consultancy (Publicis Groupe) and non-profit roles. She co-directed campaigns with clients at the British Heart Foundation and the Health Education Authority that won national PR awards. At the Media Trust, she set up Community Newswire, with the Press Association.

Nicky's PhD is from the London School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.


  • Senior Fellow, Higher Education Authority
  • Fellow, Royal Society of Arts

National prizes in the field of public relations from my professional life included:

  • The 'Saving Upsets Campaign' on food hygiene that I led at MS&L with the Health Education Authority. It won the PR Week Award for 'The Best Public Sector PR Campaign Award' 2000 and an 'Outstanding Practice Award' from the PRCA in 2000. 
  • The 'Listen to Your Heart Campaign' with the British Heart Foundation won the Marketing Magazine/PRCA 1998 Gold Award for PR Effectiveness in the non-commercial sector.


  • Member, Editorial Board, Public Relations Review: A Global Journal of Research and Comment
  • Committee member of the Charity and Non-Profit Group of the Public Relations Communications Association (PRCA)
  • Member, Chartered Institute of Public Relations
  • Former External Examiner at CIPR-accredited public relations degrees at Leeds Beckett University and the University of Southampton Solent
  • Abstract Selection Committee for the International History of Public Relations Conference (2014, 2013 and 2012) University of Bournemouth

Research / Scholarly interests

Nicky's research interests include non-profit communications, the business of communications (pitching and PR specialisations) and Singaporean studies.

She is the co-editor, of the Routledge textbook, 'Communicating Causes: Strategic Public Relations for the Non-Profit Sector'. Channel 4 Newscaster Jon Snow, has stated it is 'a go-to' book and 'much needed.' To date, there has been no other textbook on non-profit communications that studies PR in as many different types of non-profit organizations (NPOs, NGOs, INGOs, trade unions, social enterprises and housing associations); whilst encompassing the examinations of non-profits in countries from four continents; whilst also relating communications in the non-profit sector to as many different areas of PR specialist practice (such as digital communications, internal communications, issues management and evaluation). The book has 28 authors, many of whom are leading figures in the PR industry and NGO world. Simon Francis, who leads the PRCA's charity and non-profit group, has called the book as "a vital reference point for people at all levels of charity campaigning – from volunteers and front-line staff to trustees and the charity boardroom."

Nicky is reviewer on the prestigious international journal, Public Relation Review: A Global Journal of Research and Comment.


  • Garsten, N. (2018) 'It's Good to Talk in the Digital Age'. Compass: Journal of Learning and Teaching, University of Greenwich. Volume 11 No 1, TEL Special Edition. 
  • Garsten, N. and Bruce, I. (2018) 'Introducing Communicating Causes: Strategic Public Relations in the Non-Profit Sector'. In (eds) N. Garsten, and I. Bruce, Communicating Causes: Strategic Public Relations in the Non-Profit Sector. London and New York: Routledge.
  • Garsten, N.; Read, K.; and Yassim, M. (2018) 'Strategic Illustrations of NFP Success? An Exploration into the Evolution, Purposes and Ethics of Case Stu dies'. In (eds) N. Garsten, and I. Bruce, Communicating Causes: Strategic Public Relations in the Non-Profit Sector. London and New York: Routledge.
  • Smith, D.H.; Lang, S.; and Garsten, N., (2018), 'NGO Communications in a One-Party State: The Context and Characteristics of Non-profit Advocacy Communications in China'. In (eds) N. Garsten, and I. Bruce, Communicating Causes: Strategic Public Relations in the Non-Profit Sector. London and New York: Routledge.
  • Garsten, N., de Quincey, D., and Bruce, I. (2016), 'The Importance and Art of Articulating Thanks: Lessons from Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)' in Hall, S. (ed.) #FuturePRoof: Second Edition. Chapter 39.


  • Garsten, N., Read, K, and Diehl, C. 'The Fit To Partner Test: Theoretical and Practical Considerations for Establishing Corporate and NGO Partnerships in an Uncertain World.' Proceedings from BledCom 2018 A World in Crisis: The Role of Public Relations. Slovenia, July 6th 2018.
  • Panel Chair, (2017) 'Embedding Creativity in PR Teaching and the Curriculum' EUPRERA Annual Congress 2017, 12 October, LCC, London.
  • Garsten, N. and Robson, R. (2017) 'PR Theory as Playful Simile'. Invited micro-teaching showcase presentation, in the Educator's Forum at the EUPRERA Annual Congress 2017. 14 October, LCC, London.
  • Panel speaker (2017) at the Public Relations and Communications Association. (PRCA) Debate on PR Academics v. PR Industry. 15th February.
  • Cronin, B., Garsten, N., and de Quincey, E. (2016) Social media interaction techniques of UK charities: the case of Twitter', presented at the 2nd European Conference on Social Networks (EUSN) 17th June, 2016 at Sciences Po, PARIS.
  • Cagleisi, G. and Garsten, N. (2016) 'Greenwich Employability Passport: A Journey to Employment' presented at the Chartered Association of Business School's (CAB's) Conference on Learning, Teaching and Student Experience, 26 April, at Aston University, Birmingham. 
  • Garsten, N., Apps, L., Haider, J., and Read, K., (2015), 'Embedding Employability in our Curriculum – What Works?' Conference on Integrating Employability Initiatives into Formative Assessment' at the University of Greenwich. 20th March, 2015.
  • On the organising group for the International Summit on Strategic Communications at the University of Greenwich, September 11-12th 2014. Panel chair.
  • Panel moderator (2014), "Growing leaders – are you ready for what is next?' at the International Summit on Strategic Communications, at the University of Greenwich, September 12th.
  • Garsten, N. and Howard, J. (2012) 'Defining the Global Phenomenon of PR Specialisation', at the 15th International Public Relations Research Conference, Miami, Florida. March 10th.
  • Garsten, N. and de Quincey, E., (2012) 'Tweeting Credibility and Thankfulness An Exploratory Study of Charity Twitter Accounts in the UK'. Presentation at 5th EUPRERA Spring Symposium: Web 2.0 in Governmental and NGO Communication in Europe. Berlin, February 17th.