Photo Credit: Scott Lawrence 

I'm Michael Lawrence.


I'm a writer, editor, researcher, and teacher. I work with words. I spend a lot of time thinking about media, culture, brands, design, and communication. And I'm taking a leap. 


I'm A Leap year Fellow

I'm currently a Leap Year Fellow with the Experience Institute, a unique program blazing trails in higher education. I'm designing a year of experiences for myself focused on exploring new contexts where critical inquiry, playful experimentation, and big ideas can fuel meaningful cultural dialogue and creative innovation.

I'm looking for opportunities to contribute to — and learn from — teams committed to making the world a better place through design, storytelling, and community engagement.  

You can read my first announcement about the year, or sign up for my email newsletter to follow along.


I’m fascinated by the language of contemporary culture and media. This obsession earned me a Ph.D. in Communication / Rhetorical Studies, which I’m trying to put to good use. 

I Teach

I spent more than a decade training college students to write more effectively, think more creatively, and analyze cultural messages more critically.

At Columbia College Chicago, my courses helped students from arts and media disciplines connect with the bigger ideas that give their creative work meaning. At The University of Iowa, I taught foundational writing and public speaking courses, as well as more advanced classes in media, culture, and communication. See my courses.

I've also led workshops for teachers designed to help them facilitate better discussions and more effectively engage with issues of politics and identity in the classroom. 

Right now I'm working with the Global Brand Team at eBay. Read more about that experience here.

Right now I'm working with the Global Brand Team at eBay. Read more about that experience here.

I write

I've written a dissertation about public memory, published a poem about the Barefoot Contessa, ghosted blog posts about hairstyle trends, and wrote copy for a billboard in Times Square. I often write critical reflections about contemporary culture, especially movies, tv shows, ads, food, tech, and anything else people are buzzing about. You'll find lots of my writing here. 


I've worked with small businesses and creative professionals, helping them refine their messaging and tell more powerful stories.

I’ve coached entrepreneurial bloggers as they developed voice and strategy for their content. I've workshopped language with lawyers and poets and scholars, and crafted copy in contexts where every word matters. See some projects


My academic work is rooted in rhetorical theory and cultural studies. I look at things like movies, tv shows, advertisements, speeches, and news coverage. I use critical textual analysis to explore what these message tell us about our shared values and ideals. Learn more about my scholarly research.

I'm curious about ways rhetorical research and critical methods can contribute meaningfully to the design process and strategic messaging. 


What else?  

I’m keen on big ideas, little details, provocative insights, useful feedback, great conversation, works in progress, and beautiful final products.

I like to run. I use public transportation and Oxford commas. I enjoy hoppy IPAs. 

And I’d love to hear from you