The McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology is dedicated to theoretical, aesthetic, and critical inquiry into the ways contemporary media shape contemporary forms of experience and our prospects for living together and relating to one another in an interconnected world. In this project, the Centre draws inspiration from McLuhan's humanistic intellectual and institutional legacy. In McLuhan's words, “The object of the Centre is to pursue by a wide variety of approaches an investigation into the psychic and social consequences of technologies.” McLuhan's legacy, however is only the point of departure. The Centre's pursuit of this investigation is dedicated not only to contemporary media and its effects, but also to the contemporary critical approaches necessary for understanding our media: feminist, queer, decolonial, and antiracist.
Because humanistic media studies gets on in conversation with artists and their work, the Centre will not only pursue humanistic inquiry into contemporary media, but will also foster aesthetic experimentation as a mode of inquiry. McLuhan taught that "media alter our sense ratios." He also wrote that it is artists who are able to grasp such changes in experience, to bring news of such changes, and to make those changes matters of common concern. Taking this charge seriously, the Centre will support the production of and conversation about contemporary media art. It will also support the study of a wide variety of aesthetic media—fine art, literature, cinema, music, and so on—for their lessons in reckoning with contemporary media. It will, finally, support the study of media aesthetics in an expanded sense, promoting inquiry into the ways technological media shape contemporary experience, by elaborating its histories, its problems, its infrastructures, and its politics.
The Centre offers both a setting and an institutional framework for this inquiry, providing space and programming for scholars working in humanistic media studies across the three campuses of the University of Toronto and in the GTA.
Director, Professor Scott C. Richmond
Scott C. Richmond is Associate Professor of Cinema and Digital Media in the Cinema Studies Institute and the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology at the University of Toronto.
His teaching and research lie at the intersection of film studies and media theory, focusing on the history, theory, and aesthetics of screen-based media. He regularly teaches courses in digital media studies, avant-garde film and video, and the history and theory of the moving image.
Before coming to the University of Toronto, he received an AB with Honours in Modern Culture and Media from Brown University and a PhD in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago, and taught film and media studies for six years in the department of English at Wayne State University in Detroit.
He is author of two books, Cinema's Bodily Illusions: Flying, Floating, and Hallucinating (University of Minnesota Press, 2016) and Find Each Other: Networks, Affects, and Other Queer Encounters (forthcoming with Duke University Press). He is currently working on two books in the history of computing, Thinking with Computers: Seymour Papert and the Invention of Computational Personhood and Four Histories of Computing: Quantity, Magic, Prediction, Personhood.
With Kris Cohen, he is editor of the JCMS In Focus dossier, "New Histories of Computational Personhood" (forthcoming 2022). His essays have been published in venues such as The Oxford Handbook of Film Theory, The Journal of Visual Culture, Discourse, and elsewhere.
Grayson Lee + Alexander Ross
PATTY FACY is our Digital Strategy, Program + Events Coordinator who oversees the day-to-day administration of the Centre, from event planning and research support to managing our presence online. She initially joined the Centre as a Research Assistant in 2018 while completing her Master of Information ('20) degree in UX Design. She also holds a B.A. Hons in Film & Media Studies ('15) from UBC. Her past studies and current interests are centred around service design, user experience design, and the social impacts of design in general.
RÉKA GÁL is a second year PhD student at the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto who holds a Fellowship at the Centre for 2019/20. She has completed her master’s in Cultural Studies at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Her work unites feminist media theory and postcolonial studies with the history of science and environmental studies and explores how technological tools and scientific methods are employed to purportedly solve socio-political problems. In her master’s thesis Cosmic Colonial Fantasies, she explored the historical stages through which outer space colonial fantasies evolved, from ancient Greece until the 18th century. She plans on extending this research during her PhD, to reflect from a feminist perspective on why and how the rhetoric of outer space colonization emerges in the present. She is excited for the opportunity to engage with the Centre and to participate in interdisciplinary conversations about technology and culture.
ALEXANDER ROSS is a third year PhD student at the Faculty of Information. He held a Fellowship at the Centre from 2018-2020. He has an M.A. in Communication and Culture ('18) from York and Ryerson Universities, and a B.A. in Philosophy and Book & Media Studies ('13) from the University of Toronto. His research interests include media studies, the political economy of communication, and the gamblification of games. His dissertation focuses on how platformization and app economies are transforming digital gambling and creating new forms of cultural production. He hopes to resume his graduate writing and reading groups at the McLuhan Centre in the 2021 academic year.
GRAYSON LEE is a second year PhD student at the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto who holds a Fellowship at the Centre from 2018-2021. His research focuses on South Korea’s digital culture industry and transnational formations of culture. Utilizing an interdisciplinary approach, that draws from the social sciences and the humanities to connect political economy with digital imaginaries through media. Grayson completed his M.A. in the East Asian Studies department at the University of Toronto, where he wrote his thesis: Reading Korean Popular Culture: The Webtoon as Form, Translation, and Critique of Everyday Life. He is excited to have the opportunity to engage with the McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology and plans to integrate emerging conversations and scholarship on communications and media, within his own work.
The McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology is an initiative of the Faculty of Information (iSchool) at the University of Toronto. It aims to continue the ground-breaking work initiated by the Canadian thinker Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980), who spent his career as Professor of English at the University of Toronto. The Centre had its beginnings on October 24, 1963, when John Kelly (President of St. Michael’s College) and Claude Bissell (President of U of T) decided to establish a Centre for Culture and Technology, which later became McLuhan’s office.
Located in the historic McLuhan coach house (39A Queen’s Park Crescent East), The McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology is now a gathering place for critical scholars from all disciplines to meet, share, and develop scholarly interests on the impact of digital technologies on culture. The quaint and quiet coach house is set against the backdrop of a bustling Toronto and is an incubator for scholars of media studies across the University of Toronto’s three campuses.
You can see more historic photos of McLuhan and the Coach House on the Monday Night Seminars page.
Links for events and initiatives related to Marshall McLuhan and his legacy that take place outside
the Centre for Culture and Technology.
The Marshall McLuhan Projects are presented by transmediale in cooperation with the Embassy of Canada in Berlin. They comprise the Marshall McLuhan Lecture and accompanying programming.
McLuhan at St. Michael's College SMC One: The McLuhan Seminar in Creativity and Technology
Offered for the first time in 2018-2019, St. Michael's College McLuhan Seminar is an exploration of the relationship between creativity and technology. The Seminar is inspired by McLuhan’s innovative thinking. First-year students will explore how the humanities relate to other fields of thought in addressing the individual, social, and cultural experiences and effects of technological innovation.
For additional information, inquries regarding usage rights, copyright, licensing or other matters related to the life and work of Marshall McLuhan.
The Marshall McLuhan Collection was created in 2010 from material within the John M. Kelly Library to mark the centenary of McLuhan’s birth as well as to celebrate McLuhan’s tenure with the University of St. Michael’s College from 1946-1980.
The Fisher is proud to hold Marshall McLuhan's working library. Holding over 6000 volumes, the library was used heavily by McLuhan in the writing of his most famous works, including Understanding Media, The Gutenberg Galaxy and The Medium is the Massage.
A multimedia information centre of the Embassy of Canada in Berlin that was named after the famous Canadian media philosopher Herbert Marshall McLuhan (1911 – 1980). It presents Canada using state-of-the-art technical equipment.