September 23, 2011
TORONTO, ON — The legendary media theorist Marshall McLuhan will be celebrated in Toronto at the most significant gathering of McLuhan thinkers and creators ever assembled. Then I Now I Next: International Conference and DEW Line Festival runs from November 7 to November 10. Registration is now open.
The conference and festival is the centrepiece of a year-long celebration in honour of the centenary of Marshall McLuhan’s birth (1911-1980). “Beginning early in 2011 with lectures, art installations, public events and media tributes, the city of Toronto and the University of Toronto continue to foster public engagement with the man who foresaw how technology would transform humanity. Our goal is to infuse the city with this remarkable man and his global legacy,” says Seamus Ross, Dean of the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto.
The upcoming conference and festival allow Toronto to host the world. Coming to the city is a unique interdisciplinary group of Canadian and international experts on media and culture, drawn from the humanities, social sciences, and science and technology departments within universities, together with artists and leading public thinkers. Speakers and presenters hail from Brazil, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as McLuhan scholars from every Canadian province and territory. Held over four days, 100 speakers will deliver keynotes, panel presentations and debates, along with more than sixty academic papers presented thematically.
“McLuhan’s legacy is greater than a retelling of his work. This conference is dedicated to working out trends McLuhan identified in far-flung fields, exploring the future as well as the past and the present of the intersection of art, academe and technology,” explains Dominique Scheffel-Dunand, Director of the Faculty of Information’s McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto. “It’s the first time all four Toronto universities are collaborating on such a vision; the scale of it and the calibre of the speakers and presenters we’ve assembled are truly unprecedented. And the integration of a cultural festival into the conference line-up will allow academe and the general public to come together in discovering and celebrating McLuhan.”
Highlights from the conference line-up include:
Each conference day will be topped off with a cultural event and reception. McLuhan resonates today equally with academia and the artistic community. In his famous quote from Understanding Media, McLuhan sums up his notion of artists as harbingers of cultural change: “I think of art, at its most significant, as a DEW line, a Distant Early Warning system that can always be relied on to tell the old culture what is beginning to happen to it.”
The DEW line Festival offers visual art exhibitions and installations, lectures, film screenings and concerts in various locations across the city. The festival will close with a gala concert at Koerner Hall (details TBA). All are open to the general public.
Festival highlights include:
The Conference and Festival are a cooperative effort of many academic institutions and numerous cultural organizations from the city of Toronto, including and especially the Gladstone Hotel and Gallery, and Gallery 345. McLuhan100 Then | Now | Next International Conference and DEW Line Festival falls under the auspices of the McLuhan100 planning committee. It is co-sponsored by the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto, Ryerson University, the Social Science and Humanities Research Council, Celebrate Ontario, OCAF, and the City of Toronto Economic Development and Culture Division.
What: McLuhan International Conference and DEW Line Festival
When: November 7-10, 2011
Conference location: University of Toronto Chestnut Conference Centre
The DEW Line Festival takes place at various locations around Toronto
For more information, please contact: