Oxfam signs up Joseph Sivell for new head of digital comms role

Oxfam has appointed a digital PR specialist as part of a plan to transform the way it uses online communications.

Climate change: a digital focus for Oxfam
Climate change: a digital focus for Oxfam

Joseph Sivell will join the charity on 22 June in the new role of head of digital communications. He will manage a team of 16 and will work closely with the media and campaigns team to overhaul the way the charity presents itself through the web.

Sivell joins from The Field Unit, a consultancy he founded in 2007 that specialises in e-learning for museums. Previously, he spent nine years as creative new media manager at the British Museum where he created the museum’s digital content displays, showed exhibits online and created e-learning opportunities for specialist audiences.

He joins Oxfam as the charity places a heavier focus on the use of digital across the charity. Oxfam has increased its investment in this area and has taken on new consultancies including Magic Lantern to get advice on its strategy. It is also looking at ways of using digital’s ‘transformational power’ to help people on the ground - by setting up early disaster warning systems and creating ways of educating communities online.

Sivell will work with the BBC on upcoming projects to show villages affected by climate change online. He will also manage a series of digital music events and he will also be involved in Oxfam’s mission to mobilise two million people online in the run up to December’s climate change conference in Copenhagen.

Oxfam’s head of media Sam Barrett said: ‘We are reshaping our strategy because we want to retain our cutting edge position in the charity sector. A whole generation of people are online and it is where the media is moving. We still need to do offline comms because some of our key audiences of politicians and donors are there, but everyone is in transition and we want to make sure that we are not left behind.’

Sivell will report to Oxfam's acting director of corporate communications Kristen Schnepp. She said: ‘Oxfam's goal is to become the leading charity in the digital environment and Joseph will play a critical role in working to make this happen.’

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