Clare College Cambridge

Mr Stephen Jolly

Mr Stephen Jolly

Bye-Fellow, Clare College

Fellow, Defence & Security, ResPublica
Visiting Fellow, War Studies, King's College, London
Honorary Fellow, Defence & Security, RAND Europe


Stephen Jolly MA (Cantab), MA (Sussex) joined the Fellowship in 2005, moving to a Bye-Fellowship in 2013. He is the founder Chairman of the alumni group, Clare in Whitehall, and serves on the College Development Committee.

Between 2005-13, Stephen served two Vice-Chancellors, Professor Dame Alison Richard DBE and Professor Leszek Borysiewicz FRS, as the University's Director of External Affairs & Communications. He was a Fellow of the Judge Business School between 2010-15.

Between 2013-15, Stephen served as the UK's Director of Defence Communications, based in the Ministry of Defence. A two-star appointee, with the rank equivalence of a Major-General, he oversaw all communications for the Ministry, the three Armed Forces and their operations, for the UK Defence Agencies and Joint Organisations. He reported jointly to the Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Defence and the Chief of Defence Staff.

In his two years in post, Stephen made waves in military circles by driving forward a "full spectrum" approach to Defence communications, encompassing public relations, media operations, information operations and psyops. Defence commentators dubbed this "post-Afghan reset" of communications the "Rainbow in the Dark" doctrine. It was an approach that entailed the most radical shake-up in British Defence communications in more than thirty years.

Stephen served as Chairman of the cross-government National Security Communications Committee in 2014-5 and was a member of the Government Communications Board during that period. Stephen was seconded briefly to Cabinet Office in 2015 before joining UK Joint Forces Command where he advised the Director-General, Joint Force Development on the reform of British military influence operations.

Stephen was formerly an instructor at the UK's Defence Intelligence & Security School, Chicksands (1997-2001), in which capacity, he held a Visiting Fellowship in Psychological Warfare at the International Centre for Security Analysis, King’s College, London up until 2001. In addition, Stephen is a longstanding Fellow and former Vice-President of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (FCIPR) and was a founder Master of the City of London Guild of Public Relations (2000-1).

Stephen holds First Class Honours in English from Christ's College, Cambridge (1980-84) and a Master's in Linguistic Science from the University of Sussex (1986-87). He was also a Killam Fellow in Public Policy at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, where he was a Canadian Commonwealth Scholar (1987-88).

Stephen has an academic interest in rhetoric and the history of the persuasive arts, with particular emphasis on sociolinguistics and propaganda.

Stephen was featured in edition 31 of Clare News.

Main Publications:

"Who's Afraid of Viktor Shklovsky? On The Nature of Persuasion and the Work of an Unjustly Neglected Russian Formalist", Impact: The Magazine of the Association of Commonwealth Universities PR, Marketing and Communications Network, No 11, (August 2011) 

Crimes of Coercive Persuasion: Rectification under the Khmer Rouge, Falling Leaf: The Journal of the Psywar Society, 173, 52-55 (2001)

Ungentlemanly Warfare: A Reassessment of British Black Propaganda Operations 1941-1945, Falling Leaf: The Journal of the Psywar Society, 171, 148-156; 172, 23-37 (2001)

From SOB to I/OPs: The Unwritten History of British Black Propaganda 1947-97, Falling Leaf: The Journal of the Psywar Society, 171, 130-134 (2001)

The Mardin Essay: Psychological Warfare and Public Relations, Frontline: The Global Public Relations Quarterly, 22 (4), 22-30 (2000)

Wearing the Stag's Head Badge: British Combat Propaganda since 1945, Falling Leaf: The Journal of the Psywar Society, 170, 86-89 (2000)

Morale Operations: The Cinderella of Covert Propaganda Operations?, Falling Leaf: The Journal of the Psywar Society, 170, 114-116 (2000)

Understanding Body Language: Birdwhistell's Theory of Kinesics, Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 5 (3), 133-139 (2000)

Delmer's Maxims of Subversion: British Black Propaganda Techniques in WW2, Falling Leaf: The Journal of the Psywar Society, 169, 64-70 (2000)

Text or Context: Östman's Theory of Persuasion, The Journal of Communication Management, 4 (2), 159-163 (1999)

Corporate Advocacy in Public Affairs: Winning a Voice in the Marketplace of Ideas, International Public Relations Review, 21 (3), 10-13 (1999)