PSA: anti-racism is not an Instagram challenge – by Lucy Devine

I was prompted to write this by a conversation I had with a group of friends around a week ago, following the tragic murder of George Floyd. We were all desperate to demonstrate our support and solidarity, but posting on our story felt somewhat disingenuous. As immensely fortunate white individuals, and having never posted on social media about the Black Lives Matter movement before, it felt awful and wrong to hop on the bandwagon just because it is now ‘trendy’ and ‘fashionable’ to do so. We didn’t want to be silent, but also didn’t want to project a performative ‘white saviour complex’.

While I was absolutely horrified by George Floyd’s senseless murder, I was not surprised. The persistence of systemic racism, not just in America but worldwide, is by no means a new phenomenon, which is perhaps why this new wave of anti-racist activism can come across as hollow in many instances.

The recent trends that have emerged over the past couple of days have arguably proven this to be true, whether it be tagging 10 people on your story alongside the hashtag Black Lives Matter, or posting a black square as part of the blackout today. As white people participating in these challenges, particularly if it is our first time posting about BLM, we are diminishing and reducing the very real struggles that black people face every single day. It reeks of white saviourism and often stems from a selfish desire to be seen as assuming a moral high ground.

‘Blackout Tuesday’ should not just be a checkpoint, a moral box to be ticked. It should not be something that stays on your story and in your mind for 24 hours, only to be forgotten and buried after that. It should not be a ‘challenge’ to stand up for equality and anti-racism. This performative activism fulfils a self-serving purpose and enables us, as white people, to maintain a clean conscience.

Participating in these trends without any taking further action is not only ignorant and lazy, it perpetuates the problem and demonstrates our inherent privilege. We must acknowledge that, for black people, this is so much more than a post on social media; this is their everyday reality. In turn, we must make fundamental changes in our everyday behaviour. We may be able to switch off from social media and the BLM movement, a privilege afforded to us by the colour of our skin, but this should not be the case. Yes, these online conversations are vital, but consistent and constructive dialogue with family and friends offline is equally as important.

This is not intended to come across as a preach about racism and white privilege, as I am certainly not the best equipped or educated to do so. Instead, it is just a reminder to be mindful of your intentions before posting on social media. Are you posting in order to inform others, or to prove to others that you are informed? Is your post stand-alone virtue signalling or is it matched by tangible action? This is not to say don’t post at all — but don’t post simply because you feel left out, guilty or under pressure. Use your privilege in other ways: educate, donate, protest, implement real change.

Do not let the consciousness that has been generated over the past couple of weeks become futile and in vain. Continue to educate yourself and hold yourself, and those around you, accountable for your words and actions.

This was originally posted on Medium by Lucy Devine on 2 June 2020.

NEWS: PLMR and Park Street Partners announce Strategic Partnership

Leading communications agencies PLMR and Park Street Partners have announced a strategic partnership with effect from 1st June 2020.

The new partnership will allow both agencies to collaborate closely on new business development and joint work for clients, as well as supporting each other’s growth plans.  The agencies will share resources, talent and insights, working together or operating independently depending on client and business needs.

PLMR and Park Street Partners, both of which are shortlisted in the PRovoke Awards for EMEA Agencies of the Year 2020 (as Best Public Affairs Consultancy and Best New Consultancy respectively) have already this year worked together on joint campaigns for clients across a number of shared sectors including energy, housing and transport.  The new partnership takes these relationships to the next level.

The agencies will cooperate on new business where there is mutual benefit, sharing experience and skillsets,  working on marketing activities, and supporting their growth and company cultures.

“We see this as an important initiative which will benefit staff and clients alike,” said PLMR’s Kevin Craig.

“Our approaches to clients and our work are very similar.  This partnership will not only benefit our business’s  progression and development, but working with someone of Gavin Devine’s calibre means we are adding an additional dimension and wealth of agency experience to the operation of PLMR’s senior team in a crucial phase of our growth.”

“The partnership is a reflection of both agencies’ desire to stay forward looking even during the most challenging business climate.”

“This new partnership will bring major benefits to both agencies,” said Park Street Partners’ Gavin Devine.

“Being able to support one another and collaborate across all aspects of our work will bring very significant benefits, in the case of Park Street Partners by adding a top drawer full service element to complement our existing network of experts approach.”

“The PLMR senior team have a compelling vision for growing their business strongly over the coming months and years.  I hope to play my part in helping them realise their ambitions to grow both organically and through strategic acquisitions.”


PLMR is a fully integrated public affairs, PR, crisis communications and digital agency was founded in 2006. It has offices in London, Birmingham, the East of England and Scotland, and is one of the fastest growing communications companies in the UK. The agency delivers award winning work across a range of sectors including social care, energy, education, FMCG, health, planning, transport and technology.

Park Street Partners was founded in 2018 and is a virtual agency based on a network of experts across a wide range of communications disciplines.  It was set up by Gavin Devine, the former Chief Executive of MHP Communications who between 2004 and 2016 was part of the senior leadership team that took public affairs boutique AS Biss & Co through mergers, acquisitions and major strategic recruitments to establish MHP as a nearly 200 people strong agency in London, Hong Kong, Brussels and Edinburgh.  He was then Chief Executive of Newgate and COO of Porta before founding Park Street.

Gavin is a well-known senior public affairs and corporate communications professional who has advised some of the biggest UK-based and multinational companies and other organisations.  He is on the board of the PRCA and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Public Affairs Board, and was awarded an MBA in 2004.