Doctoral Coursework

RCID 8020 Final Project

The field of advertising, which is a social-science built on rhetoric and persuasion is continually evolving and evaluated and critiques of existing contemporary advertising are enriched by current discussions in disability theory. In this multimodal presentation I examine advertising creative through a interdisciplinary disability studies lens, and find that the knowledge deficit among agencies and advertisers continues to proliferate bias, ableism and marginalization.  Weaving a thread of mystory throughout, this narrative interrelates orality, literacy, and videocy centered on advertising, disability and the diversity directive. I begin with the observation that while advertising can be a unifying voice, often, it is a cacophony of derision towards people with disabilities with glimmers of hope.

While pockets within advertising are championing and advancing greater inclusion of people with disabilities, large opportunities still exist for many segments of the industry to make better strides and reached untapped market segments. Nearly one in five adults, or over 59 million Americans have a disability, and that ratio is expected to grow substantially over the next several years. Yet for the most part, few are represented in ads and many are challenged to find representation in the advertising and entertainment industries.

Along with coursework, throughout this Spring semester, I’ve been fortunate to speak at American Advertising Federation, AAF, clubs across the southeast including in Knoxville, Tennessee, Johnson City, Tennessee, Montgomery, Alabama and Mobile Alabama. This June I’ll be speaking at ADMERICA, the AAF’s national conference in Chicago.

This video is from a presentation at Eastman Chemical’s Tennessee headquarters that hosted the American Advertising Federation luncheon.

My biography as shared with attendees

Josh serves as Director of Strategy at Designsensory and shares conversations across the country on diversity and inclusion in advertising. He is earning his PhD from Clemson University focusing on advertising and disability is also adjunct faculty teaching media strategy at the University of Tennessee. He is author of the blog Advertising and Disability and is a noted advocate, speaker and resource on the subject of disability, diversity and advertising for journalists, educators and industry leaders. Josh was appointed advisor to the Global Alliance of Disability in Media & Entertainment and serves on the City of Knoxville Mayor’s Council on Disability Issues. Josh has spoken at the White House, shared insights to the 4A’s president and Diversity Committee, the president of AAF and the MOSAIC board and co-authored white papers and written college textbooks on the subject. In 2015, he was inducted into the AAF Knoxville chapter Hall of Fame, served as the Diversity Chair for AAF District 7 and in 2018 received the AAF Silver Medal. He is partially blind and visually impaired, which gives him a unique perspective and he always clearly sees the best in everyone.

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