Converging in Parallel: Linking Communication Research & Policy in Emerging Canadian Scholarship | November 9-10, 2006

Canadian communication policy has shifted. New media are no longer new; convergence has come and gone and even come again; policymakers are chipping away at facet after facet of the emerging networked mediascape. But what role should Canadian communication researchers play in this policy environment? How can our work inform, influence, and shift the agendas of policymakers in Canadian jurisdictions-indeed, should it at all? And just whose work is at issue, as a new generation of communications researchers, activists, and decision-makers begins to take its place in Canadian institutions?

Converging in Parallel: Linking Communications Research and Policy in Emerging Canadian Scholarship is a day-and-a-half conversation among emerging Canadian communications policy researchers and stakeholders with an interest in these questions. It takes place as an informal conference-workshop on Thursday, November 9, 2006, and Friday, November 10.

TParticipants are persons in the early stages of their communication policy careers: graduate students, new faculty members, and scholars only beginning to explore communications policy as a research domain; government policy, regulatory, and agency staff, industry stakeholders, and non-governmental and civil society actors with limited professional experience in the communications policy sector.

Workshop participants have provided short answers to a question related to their stated research interests. Those answers are posted on this Web site. At the workshop, each participant will take just 5 to 8 minutes to defend the position they have taken. This is designed to leave substantial room for conversation and dialogue. Panels will stress comments, questions, and discussions and will be organized with an eye to mixing academic speakers with respondents speaking from a policymaking, industry, or civil society stakeholder role.

The workshops are supplemented by two public events, to which all are welcome. The first is a public panel bringing together experienced members of the policy community to talk about the role of research and the academy in Canadian communication policy. The second is a public keynote from an American scholar active in communication policy research in the U.S. context, who will talk about what insights can be gleaned from our countries' different experiences on this matter.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Registration, Reception, and Opening Remarks
13:00 - 14:00

Panel 1: Canadian Voices in the Media
14:00 - 15:15

Moderator: Anthony Lemke (Actor; BCL/LLB Candidate, Faculty of Law, McGill University).

1. Jeff Boggs (Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, Brock University). Canadian content policies seek to increase domestic success in both economic and speech markets. Should policy-oriented research on creative industry clusters take both goals into account? Indeed, can it?

2. Jamie Killingsworth (Sportscaster, CTV; Doctoral Candidate, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Carleton University): The Cancon debate has evolved with the each new media platform, most recently satellite radio. What role, if any, has academic research played in providing evidence or other convincing roles in this debate-and what might it do to increase that role?

3. Normand Landry (Doctoral Candidate, Department of Art History and Communication Studies, McGill University): How can policy research on diversifying Canadian media voices build on activist groups' experiences in ways that take the broadcast industry's economic structure into account?

4. James Missen (Cultural Policy Advisor, Canadian Conference of the Arts): How can evidence-based academic research contribute to advocating for creative producers, not just on big-picture matters, but in the day-to-day process of regulatory policymaking? Answer.

5. David Newman (Doctoral Candidate, School of Communication, Simon Fraser University): What assumptions underlie Canadian policies and institutions that evidence-based comparative screen policy research would challenge? Answer.

6. Richard Sutherland (Doctoral Candidate, Department of Art History and Communication Studies, McGill University): What evidence-based research is required to demonstrate the success or failure of Canadian content policy in the area of music? Which parties are best-positioned to usefully undertake such research? Answer.

Panel 2: Reconfiguring Regulation

Moderator: Jeremy Shtern (Doctoral Candidate, Département de communication, Université de Montréal).

1. Howard Fremeth (Doctoral Candidate, School of Journalism and Communication, Carleton University). What role can researchers play in connecting the public discussion on communication policy with the communication policy process? Answer.

2. Teisha Gaylard (Director of Policy, Canadian Broadcast Standards Council). What academic research, if any, has the CBSC drawn on in its own analysis and research? What type of academic research would most usefully enable the CBSC to better meet the goals outlined in its mandate? Answer.

3. Sara M. Grimes (Doctoral Candidate, School of Communication, Simon Fraser University). Disciplines such as psychology and education have long histories of research on children. Does policy-oriented communications research bring insights formed in other disciplines to bear on the communication policy process? Should that be part of its responsibility? Answer.

4. Gregory Taylor (Doctoral Candidate, Department of Art History and Communication Studies, McGill University). How can comparative research into coregulatory regimes contribute to discussions of Canadian post-convergence communication policy? Answer.

5. Ira Wagman (Assistant Professor, School of Journalism and Communication, Carleton University). What forms of knowledge have successfully influenced Canadian broadcasting policy? Have these forms been absent from mandated broadcasting studies whose recommendations have largely been ignored? Are they present or absent in communication policy research today? Answer.

Public Roundtable: Communication Policy Research: Is the Tower Ivory?
17:00-18:15; reception to follow

1. Marilyn Burgess—Director, Policy Planning and Research, Telefilm Canada
2. Donald J. MacLean—Consultant; former Department of Communications (Canada) and International Telecommunications Union (ITU) official
3. Elizabeth Roscoe—Senior VP, Policy & Public Affairs, Canadian Association of Broadcasters

Moderation and response by Richard Schultz—James McGill Professor, Department of Political Science, McGill University

Friday, November 10, 2006

Panel 3: Access to Knowledge? Opening Communication Policy to Information Abundance

Moderator: Tina Piper (Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, McGill University).

1. Sara Bannerman (Doctoral Candidate, School of Journalism and Communication, Carleton University).

2. Michele Byers (Associate Professor, Department of Sociology & Criminology, Saint Mary's University). Would the requirement that regulated Canadian media lodge their programming in an open, searchable archive address the media concentration issue? Would it disincent such media from investing in new programming in the first place? Answer.

3. Stéphane Couture (Doctoral Candidate, School of Media, Université du Québec à Montréal). Can communication policy research draw on the FLOSS experience to build policy-relevant contribution and critique, yet maintain a critical distance from the political project of free software activism? Should it? Answer.

4. Jacob Glick (Legal and Policy Counsel, Canadian Internet Registration Authority). In the broadcasting sector, Canadian content policies are under great pressure-yet, within the Internet domain name system, a dot-ca domain persists. What is the rationale for a dot-ca domain with "Canadian content" rules regulating who may register such a domain? Does the Can-Con rethink have anything to learn from dot-ca? Answer.

5. Anne McCulloch (Doctoral Candidate, School of Communication, Simon Fraser University). Do academic traditions in the field of communication studies-for instance, audience research-provide sufficient resources for communication policy researchers seeking to intervene in policies concerning Canadian public health information? Should they evolve to do so? Answer.

6. Lara Trehearne (Masters Candidate, Department of Communication, University of Ottawa). Does the Broadcasting Act really need to be amended in order for the CBC to create a digital archive? What policy elements already exist that would support such an initiative? Answer.

Panel 4: Canadian Telecommunications -- Shifting out of Neutral?

Moderator: Erik Ens (Economist, Telecom Policy Branch, Industry Canada).

1. Bram Abramson (BCL/LLB Candidate, Faculty of Law, McGill University). What conceptual divide exists between the academic (communication studies) and industry (service provider) views of the telecom policy arena? Does it matter? Answer.

2. Gordon Gow (Assistant Professor, Faculty of Extension, University of Alberta). A multiplatform, multidevice media environment means new market entrants, ranging from large to small. Whose responsibility should emergency services be? What barriers do they create for new entrants? Answer.

3. Graham Longford (Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Faculty of Information Studies, University of Toronto). What can policy research aimed at reducing domestic digital divides have to say to private service providers? Answer.

4. Craig McTaggart (Senior Regulatory Counsel, TELUS Communications). Imagine an academic wanted to make a compelling case for network neutrality within the CRTC framework. What kind of research would they have to undertake? Would they be in a position to speak to the regulatory process in the first place? Answer.

5. Alison Powell (Doctoral Candidate, Department of Communication, Concordia University). What kind of policy research would help policymakers build frameworks for the Internet as a "public good"? What could telcos contribute to that research? Answer.

Panel 5: Changing Channels: Public, Private and Community Broadcasting in Canada

Moderator: Geneviève Bonin (Doctoral Candidate, Department of Art History & Communication Studies, McGill University).

1. Lainy Destin (BCL/LLB Candidate, Faculty of Law, McGill University).

2. Evan Light (Masters Candidate, School of Media, Université du Québec à Montréal).

3. Mary Milliken (Doctoral Candidate, Department of Sociology, University of New Brunswick).

4. Philip Savage (Lecturer, Department of Communication Studies, McMaster University).

5. Kim Sawchuk (Associate Professor, Department of Communication Studies, Concordia University).

6. Patricia Williams (Doctoral Candidate, Department of Sociology, York University).

Public Keynote Address: Academics Intervene in Communication Policy: A Conversation Between Neighbours
15:00-16:00; reception to follow.

Keynote: Sandra Braman (Professor, Department of Communication, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee). Discussion of efforts within and including the U.S. academic community, particularly within the academic discipline of communication studies, to link communication research and policy-and how such efforts can be relevant to Canada.

Moderation and response by Marc Raboy—Beaverbrook Chair in Media & Ethics, Department of Art History & Communication Studies, McGill University.

Back to top