Department of Communication and Culture

Faculty interview # 2 Mona Solvoll

Mona Solvoll is an associate professor at BI Department of Communication and Culture. She received her PhD in organizational theory from BI in 2009 and has worked at BI ever since. Her research interests are related to crisis communication and innovation in the media industry.

What has been your career path towards your current position?

- I have a fairly varied background from the humanities with subjects in Norwegian, art history and media studies. After finishing my master’s I was offered a PhD position at BI. For me, this was an absolutely fantastic opportunity, and that period was the best years of my life.

We were a great team working together and supporting each other. My supervisor’s name was Tor Hernes. Tor, Tore Bakken and Lars Thue really opened my eyes to what it means to be a researcher. They had many philosophical, curious, and knowledgeable views on academic topics, and they took good care of all the young PhD fellows.

My PhD thesis was a monograph on change and stability in a public institution. In the last year of my doctorate, I also got teaching responsibilities. It was a steep learning curve, but I received good support from Tor Bang, Morten William Knudsen and Gerhard Schjelderup. In 2009 I received my PhD and subsequently got a permanent position at BI.

Can you tell us about your current research projects?

- Right now I have quite a lot going on. My biggest project is MICC (Media Innovation Through the Corona Crisis) which is a 2-year research project funded by the Research Council of Norway. In this project I work closely with Ragnhild Kr. Olsen and Peder Inge Furseth. The project is anchored at the BI Center for Creative Industries.

I am also doing a study with Peter Booth regarding media executives' relationship to social media. Lastly, I work on two articles on crisis communication. One is with Linn-Birgit Kampen Kristensen regarding a failed advertising campaign by SAS on Facebook. The second is a rhetorical analysis of previous press conferences during the pandemic that I am writing with Maria Isaksson.

"The work feels especially meaningful when we can disseminate the research to students, practitioners, the media and the authorities. I also appreciate writing with others and being part of a team with other academics. It's fascinating to reflect on topics together with others."

Mona Solvoll

Associate Professor - Department of Communication and Culture

Why is your research meaningful to you?

- I experience having a lot of freedom in my job and can dig myself into self-chosen topics that interest me. The work feels especially meaningful when we can disseminate the research to students, practitioners, the media and the authorities. I also appreciate writing with others and being part of a team with other academics. It's fascinating to reflect on topics together with others.

Can you tell us about the courses you teach this semester?

- I am an AD for the Bachelor programme in Digital Communication and Marketing. The course I teach is called Communication and Engagement. We care a lot for the students' well-being, so the first thing we do in the course is dividing them into small groups so that they really get to know their peers. The student groups then design a concept for an Instagram account that they manage for six weeks. After the six weeks, we place the experiences they have gained within a theoretical framework.

Finally, can you share a fun fact about yourself?

- When I was 18 years old, I sailed all the way from Bali to Norway with friends in a small sailboat. That was great fun!