Media Releases

McLuhan100 May events: Robert Bean’s Illuminated Manuscripts opens at the Coach House Institute

May 4, 2011

TORONTO, ON – Marshall McLuhan centenary celebrations continue this month with Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival. The writings of Marshall McLuhan provide a critical focus for CONTACT 2011 as a catalyst for discourse on photography. To examine a rapidly changing society, McLuhan looked beyond what we immediately see – the figure – towards what typically goes unnoticed – the ground. From photo-documentary projects to conceptual narrative approaches to image making, the examination of figure and ground as metaphor, allegory, composition or probe will fuel the focus for CONTACT 2011.

To commemorate this iconic national visionary and celebrate the centenary of McLuhan’s birth, Canadian artist Robert Bean has been commissioned to create a site-specific exhibition in McLuhan’s former seminar room at the Coach House, at 39A Queen’s Park Crescent East.

The exhibition, Illuminated Manuscripts, opened on May 3 and will run until June 25th at the Coach House (Centre for Culture and Technology), 39A Queen’s Park Crescent East (Tues./Fri. 12-5 pm, Sat. 12-4 pm). The art show is about writing, archives and photography. Illuminated Manuscripts “emphasizes the figure/ground relationship that is physically inscribed on the surface of Marshall McLuhan’s documents and manuscripts. It contextualizes his writing process within a framework of obsolete technology,” according to Bean.

The exhibition is organized with the Faculty of Information ‘s McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology (Coach House Institute, UofT), and McLuhan100.

Other McLuhan100 Events in May  2011 include:

•    Saturday May 7, 2 pm – Jane’s Walk:  Marshall McLuhan’s Toronto (meet in the parking lot at 39A Queen’s Park Crescent.  This tour shines a spotlight on Toronto’s extraordinary public intellectual, Marshall McLuhan, born 100 years ago. It showcases diverse memories of the social, artistic and intellectual networks that constituted the McLuhan phenomenon. It helps Torontonians appreciate the evolution of technologies in the 20th century and the transformation of their city into a networked society. The tour includes an exclusive visit of the Coach House where Marshall McLuhan taught for 30 years.  Currently on exhibit at the Coach House is one of Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival’s Primary Exhibitions “Illuminated Manuscripts” by Halifax Artist Robert Bean, specially commissioned by the McLuhan Program in Cutlure and Technology for this centenary year.  The walk is led by Dominique Scheffel-Dunand and Paul Farrelly of the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology at University of Toronto.

•    May 7 – McLuhan’s Toronto Downloadable Podcast. The above Jane’s Walk is also available as a podcast hosted by Nora Young and downloadable from CBC’s Radio Show “Spark” and from McLuhan100 at

•    May 14, 1 pm, Talk With Philip Marchand at Madden Hall, Carr Hall, St. Michael’s College, 100 St. Joseph Street – Part of Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival. This engaging talk with Philip Marchand, author of The Medium and the Messenger, looks at McLuhan’s concepts of figure/ground to give context to the festival theme. Several other scholars offer perspectives on figure and ground explored in disciplines including, psychology, philosophy, and computing.  To register call 416 946 7089 or email  Presented in partnership with McLuhan 100, the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology, Faculty of Information Coach House Institute, and University of Toronto Art Centre, UofT.

•    May 28-29, Doors Open Toronto, 11 am – 6 pm; McLuhan100 features two sites at this year’s DOTO:  the Coach House at 39A Queen’s Park Crescent East on the St. Michael’s campus and the iSchool, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto in the Claude Bissell Building, 140 St. George Street, adjacent to Robarts Library.

As part of its commitment to the legacy of McLuhan, University of Toronto iSchool Dean, Seamus Ross, says the McLuhan100 features an exciting year packed with events. “We are proud that this U of T scholar, long believed to have influenced the direction of our digital society, is being acknowledged and celebrated as an  incubator of ideas.”

Other McLuhan events for 2011 can be found at, the Twitter feed can be followed @McLuhan100, and Facebook at

McLuhan100 is a collaboration between the City of Toronto, the Faculty of Information’s McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology, and Mozilla Foundation.  McLuhan100 has been financially assisted by the University of Toronto, Ryerson University, the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, a program of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, administered by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund Corporation, the City of Toronto Economic Development and Culture Division, and Mozilla Foundation.



For more information, please contact:

Lilie Zendel
City of Toronto
(416) 392-9863

Dominique Scheffel-Dunand
Director, McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology
Coach House Institute, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto