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.


William Buxton

Concordia University


Richard Cavell

University of British Columbia


Sara Diamond

OCAD University


Gary Genosko

University of Ontario


Brian Russell Graham

Aalborg University


Jerry Harp

Lewis & Clark College


Ursula Huws

University of Hertfordshire


Mark Kingwell

University of Toronto


Arthur Kroker

University of Victoria


Elena Lamberti

University of Bologna


Claude Le Fustec

Rennes 2 University


Mark Lipton

University of Guelph


Janine Marchessault

York University


Joshua Meyrowitz

University of New Hampshire


B.W. Powe

York University


Rita Watson

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)

5:00 PM Lectio Magistralis & Opening Photo-Documentary 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 Night”, McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology


9:15 AM Greetings
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


Form follows Fiction: Toronto Art and Artists

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

One of the largest exhibitions on the history of art ever held in Toronto, it is premised on the tendency of Toronto artists to engage performative procedures to articulate their sense of place rather than mimetic and representational strategies regarding the urban and cultural context. The exhibition 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.


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

OCTOBER 15, 7:30 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 one of the twentieth century’s most renowned and internationally acclaimed Canadians.


Manuscripts and Marginalia

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. Manuscripts, letters and other rare material from the U of T archives will be displayed, each belonging to the main representatives of the Toronto School. Attendees of this event will interact with such materials as manuscripts from Harold Innis, letters and manuscripts from Northrop Frye, and manuscripts and marginalia from Marshall McLuhan’s working library.


Edmund Carpenter:
Dialogues, Diversions & Digressions

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

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 31, 2016

McLuhan on Campus: Local Inspirations, Global Visions

Opening October 13

Physically situated within the dynamic learning space of the John M. Kelly Library, this photo-documentary exhibition will explore the development of Marshall McLuhan’s theories in the context of his academic and personal life at St. Michael’s College. Incorporating mixed media, archival photographs and documents, the exhibition will focus on McLuhan’s personal connections with his academic colleagues in Toronto and with thinkers around the world, but with particular emphasis on the formulation of McLuhan’s thoughts on media, religion and literature prior to 1960 and the cultural exchange of ideas that would ultimately lead to McLuhan’s renowned stature as a cultural icon, visionary intellectual and scholar of his time and ours.

October 13

Lectio Magistralis by

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)

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: TTS.

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: TTS

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