Claire Taylor awarded Nuffield Scholarship for 2023

24 Oct 2022

Claire Taylor is an agricultural communications specialist who works for JCM, with over a decade of experience working across TV, radio and print, as a reporter and producer. She has recently been awarded a Nuffield Scholarship for 2023 and in JCM’s latest blog, we find out more about her study topic and what she hopes to achieve at the end of it.

Commenting on her Nuffield scholarship, Claire said:

“I am absolutely over the moon to have been announced as one of the Nuffield Scholars for 2023 and cannot wait for this incredible opportunity to meet amazing farmers and industry stakeholders from all over the world.

“Over the past decade working with the media, I have been following the different challenges which have been thrown at farming’s door with both close interest and frustration, and with farming practices being scrutinised more than ever, I felt it was so important to think critically about how farmers can better unite and present a stronger voice, to rise above the noise.

“And thus, my chosen research topic is ‘Turning the tide against the anti-farming agenda’ and I hope through my Nuffield Scholarship to travel to countries where farmers have a voice at the decision-making table and have built strong and steadfast relationships with the media, politicians, and members of the public, as well as those countries where farmers feel ignored by government, targeted by the media and disconnected from consumers.

“I want to share some of these examples; what can we learn from them and what can practicably be implemented here? There are big changes ahead for farming, not least a new policy direction on the horizon and farming will have to implement some big changes to keep pace and shout ‘smarter’ not necessarily ‘louder’ to be heard.

“I would like to encourage farmers to communicate better and arm them with the tools to step outside the farming echo chamber – which is where it counts – and to take personal responsibility for the industry’s communications. There is too much division right now across many sectors and I hope that this piece of work will extend past any divides and unite farmers under a common cause.

“In my sights for travel so far – but subject to change – are The Netherlands, Italy, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, and Canada.

Post-Nuffield goal

“My dream at the end of my travels would be to conduct a study tour, inspired by the one taken by Doug Avery, where I would take my Nuffield findings across the country and into marts, to meet with not only the forward-thinking farmers who attend every conference and event in the calendar, but those who aren’t being reached – this is vital.

“I don’t want to patronise farmers by trying to ‘educate’ them but I want to invite them to have a conversation about what we can all do better to communicate important messages about farming. At the end of the day, farmers themselves are the best and most authentic advert for the industry and there are many different ways in which everyone can play a part in this movement. My role in this will be to soak up experiences and learnings from abroad and to instigate a movement/conversation to hopefully build a better and stronger communications plan for farming moving forward.

“I am absolutely delighted to be generously supported by the RHASS and cannot thank the team enough for supporting me in what I can only imagine will be a wonderful journey. I also have to thank my employers Jane Craigie Marketing, who not only fully supported me with my application but have kindly agreed to allow me to take time out for travel and have backed my decision to work flexibly over the next two years, which will allow me time to focus on my Nuffield and to pursue some freelance writing to complement my travel and document my findings.

“Next stop is the annual Nuffield conference, this year taking place in Cardiff, where I will meet the rest of the cohort of Scholars for 2023, receive my award and let the planning commence.”

Jane Craigie and Rebecca Dawes of Jane Craigie Marketing commented:

“We are so proud of Claire and excited to follow her Nuffield journey, hearing more about how communication is playing an active role around the world in farming and excited to hear what she can bring back to Scotland and more widely the UK, to help change the narrative here. We completely support Claire with this special opportunity and will be making sure that the team can support her with JCM commitments, while allowing her both time and space to do her Nuffield justice and will help her with flexibility away from her desk to study and travel. We wish her all the best with the exciting times ahead.”