Robyn Penman named Honorary Life Associate
of the CMM Institute

For her outstanding scholarly achievements, consulting practice, and tireless service to the CMM Institute, Robyn Penman has been recognized as the first Honorary Life Associate of the CMM Institute for Personal and Social Evolution.  Her many scholarly accomplishments include her ground-breaking book Reconstructing Communicating: Looking to a Future (Erlbaum, 2000) and the recently published Making Better Social Worlds: Inspirations from the Theory of the Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMMi Press, 2019), co-authored with Arthur Jensen. 

While Robyn’s scholarly output shows no signs of diminishing, recognition of some of her career highlights are in order.  She helped found and was Executive Director of the Communication Research Institute of Australia from 1985-2000, served as Adjunct Professor in Communication at the University of Canberra, 1999-2005, and was Visiting Senior Fellow at Linacre College, Oxford. Since 2011, she has been a very active board member for the CMM Institute, editing its online newsletter, co-designing the Institute’s new website as well as a separate website for the CosmoKidz project.  She has also provided leadership on many of the institute’s other projects and initiatives. She is a past president of the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association and board member of the International Communication Association.  For the past eight years, she has been co-director of the CMM Institute’s Cosmopolis 2045 Project, a collaborative imagining of a future social community in which the communication perspective informs and animates the social life of the community (see https://cosmopolis2045.com). For many years, she was an independent scholar/practitioner, serving as communication consultant to government on social policy and communication issues.

Those of us who have worked closely with Robyn have noted the extent to which her work looks both forward and backward in Janus-like fashion, capturing the many beginnings, gates, transitions, dualities, doorways, and passages, including mystery, that characterize a collaborative social life.  We’ve even considered creating a special place in Cosmopolis—something like a bird sanctuary or a dialogic garden—to honor the ethos of Robyn’s ‘presence’ (one of her favorite words/ideas) and her role as guardian of our institutional memory.  We also sometimes think of Robyn as our jazz symphony conductor, one who creates magic by playing the extra note or listens with an open heart, embellishing all that’s been said in the most gentle, considerate, courageous, and truly helpful way.   

To Robyn on her 70th birthday—please accept our gratitude for all the ways you make our social world better!

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