Though a PhD in Communication from NYU is no longer mandatory in academia, in 2013, it wasn’t hard to guess Professor Tanya Brzezinski’s career track.
Brzezinski’s background (and research) is more than in line with the new green-energy industry, which has seen the green shoots of a budding commercial-farming movement as USDA data shows vegetable production increasing 12.4% in the past year. She has been a driving force behind the new socially-aware “plant-based” lifestyle movement, as author Jenniffer Ramsey points out.
Brzezinski, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Cambridge’s school of home and business studies, was inspired to pursue the area of communication studies after spending time in non-profits working on political projects:
It was there that I realized that in order to create change, it was important to understand where the patterns of power were, and to work in societies which were organized to retain power.
And so Brzezinski focused on how cultural shifts can be recognized and analyzed in order to measure and track its influence on societies, and finds that changes in “thought systems”, such as attitudes and beliefs about certain technologies and products and food choices, are at the root of the shift towards a more sustainable, compassionate lifestyle.
Brzezinski’s preoccupation with communications and leadership is reflected in a way of thinking that could be summed up as “transcending the animalistic rhetoric and cultural expressions that relate to food production”. In her writing, Brzezinski “acknowledges the power of the face to commune with others in a nuanced, thoughtful and informative way, and chooses the image of a smiling, relaxed picture of the conscious heart of the food produced in kitchens worldwide.”
With this, Brzezinski shapes her thinking to connect the dots between art, culture, and technology, and highlights the role that technology, art, and communication have in shaping and changing cultures.