Call for Papers

OCT 13-16, 2016

An Intellectual Revolution

The Toronto School: Then | Now | Next international conference assembles a unique group of Canadian and international interdisciplinary experts on media, communication and culture — including researchers from humanities and social sciences, artists and leading public thinkers.


Between the 1930s and 1970s, a community of intellectuals emerged in and around the University of Toronto, and achieved international recognition for its innovative and trans-disciplinary approaches to the evolving societal challenges.


The Toronto School: Then | Now | Next International Conference aims to bring together international scholars to engage in dialogue on the origins, rise, decline and the rebirth of the so-called Toronto School of Communication.


Discussion will examine the extent to which the so-called Toronto School of Communication has provided a legacy that continues to offer insight on crucial and systemic issues facing contemporary society across various disciplines.

the Toronto School
of Communication

Watch our video (1′ 30”)

Conference Committees

The Hon. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario

Paolo Granata, University of Bologna and Visiting Professor at the University of Toronto (Conference Chair); Seamus Ross, Interim Director Coach House Institute, University of Toronto; David Nostbakken, McLuhan Centenary Fellow, University of Toronto; Angela Esterhammer, Principal Victoria College at the University of Toronto; Mark McGowan, St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto.

Larry Alford, University of Toronto Libraries; Randy Boyagoda, University of St. Michaels College in the University of Toronto; David Cameron, Faculty of Arts and Science, University of Toronto; Derrick De Kerckhove, University of Toronto; Wendy Duff, Faculty of Information (iSchool), University of Toronto; Charlie Keil, Innis College, University of Toronto; Gail Lord, Lord Cultural Resources; Michael MacMillan, Blue Ant Media; Don McLean, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto; Michael McLuhan, Marshall McLuhan Estate; David Mulroney, University of St. Michaels College in the University of Toronto; William Robins, Victoria University in the University of Toronto; Dominique Scheffel-Dunand, York University; Nora Young, CBC.

William Buxton, Concordia University; Vittore Casarosa, University of Pisa; Richard Cavell, University of British Columbia; Costis Dallas, University of Toronto; Marcel Danesi, University of Toronto; Michael Darroch, Windsor University; Kevin Dowler, York University; Daniel Drache, York University; Bruce Elder, Ryerson University; Howard Engel, University of Manitoba; Gary Genosko, University of Ontario Institute of Technology; Sara Grimes, University of Toronto; Jerry Harp, Lewis & Clark College; Susan Hodgett, Ulster University; Mark Kingwell, University of Toronto; Elena Lamberti, University of Bologna; Robert K. Logan, University of Toronto; Anne MacLennan, York University; Janine Marchessault, York University; Eric McLuhan, Independent Scholar; Joshua Meyrowitz, University of New Hampshire; Paul Moore, Ryerson University; Jeremy Packer, University of Toronto Mississauga; Daniel Paré, University of Ottawa; Matt Ratto, University of Toronto; Leslie Regan Shade, University of Toronto; Jill Ross, University of Toronto; Stephen Rupp, University of Toronto; Sarah Sharma, University of Toronto Mississauga; Gabrielle Slowey, York University; Lance Strate, Fordham University; Rita Watson, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Matthew Brower, Faculty of Information (iSchool), University of Toronto; Laura Cunningham, John M. Kelly Library, University of St. Michael’s College; Simon Rogers, John M. Kelly Library, University of St. Michael’s College; John Shoesmith, Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto.


John Ralston Saul

John Ralston Saul

Essayist and novelist, is Canada’s leading public intellectual. Declared a “prophet” by Time magazine, Saul has received many awards and prizes, including Chile’s Pablo Neruda Medal, South Korea’s Manhae Grand Prize for Literature and The Gutenberg Galaxy Award for Literature. Saul is the former President of PEN International, the leading global organization of writers dedicated to freedom of expression and literature. He has published fourteen works, which have been translated into twenty-eight languages in thirty-seven countries.
He is the co-Founder and co-Chair of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship and a Companion of the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario.


Theorists, experimentalists, and international scholars from diverse disciplines will share ideas and explore methods that challenge the way we conduct research.

Josh Basseches, Royal Ontario Museum, William Buxton, Concordia University; Karen Carter, Myseum Richard Cavel, University of British Columbia; Hart Cohen, Western Sydney University; Rita Davies, Ontario Arts Council;  Derrick De Kerckhove, University of Toronto; Sara Diamond, OCAD University; Paul Elie, Georgetown University; Bruce Elder, Ryerson University; Gary Genosko, University of Ontario; Brian Russell Graham, Aalborg University; Jerry Harp, Lewis & Clark College; Paul Heyer, Wilfrid Laurier University; Ursula Huws, University of Hertfordshire; Mark Kingwell, University of Toronto; Namugenyi Kiwanuka, TVO; Arthur Kroker, University of Victoria; Elena Lamberti, University of Bologna; Claude Le Fustec, Rennes 2 University; Paul Levinson, Fordham University; Mark Lipton, University of Guelph; Robert Logan, University of Toronto; Gail Lord, Lord Cultural Resources; Janine Marchessault, York University; Eric McLuhan, Independent Scholar; Joshua Meyrowitz, University of New Hampshire; David Olson, University of Toronto; B.W. Powe, York University; Douglas Saunders, Globe & Mail Erhard Schüttpelz, Siegen University; Mark Surman, Mozilla Foundation; Paul Théberge, Carleton University; Rita Watson, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; and more…


A wide range of presentation, discussion, panel, exhibition and social event.


Preview Event
(free and open to the public)

5:30 PM Lectio Magistralis & Opening Multi-Media Exhibition
Presented by the University of St. Michael’s College / John M. Kelly Library


9:00 AM Opening Ceremony
9:30 Plenary Panel (a)
11:00 Coffee Break
11:30 Plenary Panel (b)

1:00 PM Lunch

2:00 Parallel Session 1.1
3:30 Parallel Session 1.2
5:00 Coffee Break
5:30 Keynote

7:30 PM Welcoming Reception
In collaboration with the Art Museum, University of Toronto Art Centre.


9:15 AM Greetings
9:30 Plenary Panel (c)
11:00 Coffee Break
11:30 Plenary Panel (d)

1:00 PM Lunch

2:00 Parallel Session 2.1
3:30 Parallel Session 2.2
5:00 Coffee Break
5:30 Plenary Panel (e)

7:30 PM Social Events
In collaboration with Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology, Glenn Gould Foundation, and Alliance Française Toronto.

10:00 PM “After School: Spaghetti & karaoke Night”, McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology


9:30 Plenary Panel (f)

11:00 Coffee Break
11:30 Plenary Panel (g)

1:00 PM Lunch

2:00 Parallel Session 3.1
3:30 Parallel Session 3.2
5:00 Coffee Break
5:30 Town Hall Meeting

7:30 PM Awards Gala Dinner


A wide range of cultural initiatives will make the conference unforgettable


The Toronto School meets Toronto Art and Artists

OCTOBER 14, 7:30 PM
Art Museum, Art Museum, University of Toronto Art Centre
15 King’s College Circle, Toronto

The event is part of the exhibition “Form Follows Fiction: Art and Artists in Toronto”, curated by internationally renowned Toronto-based artist Luis Jacob. The exhibition concentrates on a period of more than fifty years to consider the ways in which artists visualize Toronto. It is a constellation of symbolic forms, or memes, persisting in the work of artists of different generations – a panorama of the blueprints that artists have drafted over many decades to give form to life in Canada’s largest city.

Greetings: Barbara Fischer, director of the Art Museum; Luis Jacob, artist, writer, and guest curator at the Art Museum.


Glenn Gould and the Toronto School:
Words, Music, Images

OCTOBER 15, 8:30 PM
Alliance Française
24 Spadina Road, Toronto

Hosted by the Alliance Française, in collaboration with the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto, and the Glenn Gould Foundation, this event is conceived as a moving an engaging evening of pictures, performances, and conversations. It will reflect on Gould’s relationship to Marshall McLuhan and the so-called Toronto School of Communication. This multimedia occasion will feature prominent commentators, musical performances, and screenings that will enable to reconsider and assess the unique legacy of Glenn Gould.

With Caryl Clark, University of Toronto, Faculty of Music;  Robert Harris, CBC;  Penny Johnson, pianist;  John McGreevy, McGreevy Productions; Paul Théberge, Carleton University; and Lorne Tulk, Gould’s technician at CBC. Curated by Steve Hicks.


Margins and Marginalia: The Formation of the Ideas of Frye, Innis and McLuhan

OCTOBER 15, 7:30 PM
Fisher Rare Book Library
120 St George St, Toronto

Hosted and organized in collaboration with the Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto. The foundational ideas of three key figures of the Toronto School can be found on the St. George campus of the University of Toronto: the Harold Innis fonds, housed at the University Archives; Marshall McLuhan’s heavily annotated working library, held at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library; and the Northrop Frye fonds at the E.J. Pratt Library of Victoria University. This special open house at the Fisher is a rare opportunity to view highlights – including original manuscripts, correspondence, and books – from all three collections.

Curated by Loryl MacDonald and John Shoesmith.


Edmund Carpenter:
Dialogues, Diversions & Digressions

OCTOBER 15, 7:30 PM
McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology
39A Queen’s Park Crescent East, Toronto

Edmund “Ted” Snow Carpenter (1922-2011) was Marshall McLuhan’s closest collaborator during the 1950s, and remained a key dialogic partner throughout McLuhan’s life. McLuhan turned frequently to Carpenter’s keen sense of media and cultural trends to nourish his own scholarly digressions.

Co-curated by Michael Darroch, Hart Cohen, Paul Heyer and Janine Marchessault, in collaboration with the estate of Edmund Carpenter, this public presentation will showcase a selection of interviews, collaborative film experiments, and archival materials representing Carpenter’s lifework in research scholarship and pedagogy before and after his collaborations with McLuhan.


John M. Kelly Library, October 13 - December 20, 2016

McLuhan on Campus: Local Inspirations, Global Visions

Opening October 13, 5:30 PM

Explore the development of Marshall McLuhan’s theories in the context of his academic and personal life at St. Michael’s College. McLuhan’s central role in the rise of the Toronto School of Communication is presented through artifacts, audio, texts, video and photographs selected from archival repositories across the University of Toronto and the Federated Colleges of St. Michael’s, Trinity and Victoria. The exhibition will feature items drawn from the Special Collections and holdings at St. Michael’s, including material from the Sheila and Wilfred Watson archives, Donald Theall papers and Marshall McLuhan collection. Rare and intimate examples on display include McLuhan’s correspondence and collaborations with friends and colleagues on campus such as Claude Bissell, Tom Easterbrook, Carl Williams, Harold Innis, Edmund Carpenter and Northrop Frye.

October 13

5:30 Lectio Magistralis by
The Makings of a Spirituality of Technology: Glenn Gould, Marshall McLuhan, and “Electronic Participation”

Paul Elie is a Senior Fellow with the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and Director of the American Pilgrimage Project, Georgetown University.


A popular addition to the architectural renewal of the University of Toronto’s downtown campus, the Isabel Bader Theatre has become a staple of the city’s conferences.

Victoria University in the University of Toronto

93 Charles St W, Toronto
(Museum Subway Station)

The Toronto School: Then, Now, Next is an Inclusive Event (all conference venues are accessible, including washrooms)

more information


We recommend Holiday Inn Toronto Bloor Yorkville, who have created special rates for The Toronto School: Then, Now, Next International Conference.

Please book your accommodation by September 13, 2016 using this Group Booking Code: TNN.

The Holiday Inn Toronto Bloor Yorkville is surrounded by the beautiful University of Toronto campus and our exclusive Bloor Street West address borders downtown Toronto’s Yorkville District, well known for its internationally recognised designer boutiques, sophisticated café’s and trend setting restaurants.

Special rates for “The Toronto School: Then, Now, Next” International Conference.
Use this Group Booking Code: TNN

Special rates valid until September 13, 2016










Conference Pricing & Packages.


A network of high-profile academic and cultural Canadian Institutions have created a joint venture to promote and implement this conference.

Presented by


Supported by


In collaboration with