A Message from the Dean

Photo of Lisa Henderson in a dark blazer, standing outside on campus during the Fall season.Summer/Fall 2023

Our 25th Anniversary!

The Faculty of Information and Media Studies came into being as a new academic collective in 1998, which means that this year we celebrate our 25th anniversary.

We are so excited and so proud of everything our students, faculty and alumni have accomplished.

We will convene all our events and communiqués this year with our anniversary and with our international ambitions in mind, leading with our Homecoming 2023 event on Monday, September 25th. Join us for a cross-border encounter when distinguished Canadian journalist and recent Asper Fellow Pacinthe Mattar welcomes her equally distinguished U.S. colleague Wesley Lowery for a conversation that asks "Whose Objectivity Is It Anyway?" Mattar and Lowery have both published important critiques of how objectivity in journalism has long been used to diminish—not enhance—accountability to communities of people who do not control media coverage. This is an essential critique as we think globally and pursue media practice in international environments, including in Canada. Come to our Broadcast Studio or participate on-line. It will be an important and memorable contribution to our scholarship, our media practice, and our Anniversary celebration.

Keep an eye open for an announcement later this Fall about two things:

  • our 25th Anniversary party in Toronto in January for all FIMS, School of Journalism, and School of Library and Information Science alum
  • our 25 Years of FIMS page on our website, which will welcome your insights

If you are moved to contribute, we also welcome your gifts in recognition of our 25th. You can contribute through Western’s Information and Media Studies Fund.

FIMS International

I had the pleasure of attending President Alan Shepard and Provost Florentine Strzelczyk’s launch of Western’s Global Engagement Plan late last week in the Great Hall. They were joined by Dr. Lily Cho, Western’s new Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President (International). The GEP is an ambitious, accountable, and really interesting plan to enrich Western’s global reach, our domestic and international students’ global experience, our international partnerships and our global research impact. It is also a plan rooted in the values of mutual respect, equity, inclusion and sustainability. The world is not an equal place, but we must act in the most equitable and searching ways we can in our new and long-standing international relationships.

Our students and our society have so much to contribute and so much to gain.

FIMS has always had a tremendous group of international faculty, graduate and undergraduate students and, in smaller numbers, staff colleagues. Everyone comes from somewhere, and with a little time and space, we learn each others’ stories of family history and migration. International experience makes a big difference to our curriculum, our co-curricular opportunities, our thinking, our relevance and our current and future research opportunities. We nurture the partnerships and pathways on which students and scholars travel to and from Western to see and to know the world and to have a good effect. We witness these pathways in our faculty recruitment, our research programs, and our co-curricular work.

Examples abound.

  • We are delighted this Fall to welcome Assistant Professor Shengnan Yang from China via her PhD program at Indiana University to our roster of first-rate scholars in Library and Information Science.

  • We have long appreciated Professor Amanda Grzyb’s multi-disciplinary, multi-lingual collaboration with dozens of partners in Canada, Europe and especially El Salvador to create Surviving Memory in Postwar El Salvador, a social research partnership for survival and community development in the long wake of the Salvadoran civil war (1979-92).

  • We congratulate Professor Isola Ajiferuke on a very successful Infometrics Summer School welcoming 13 University Librarians from 11 African nations last June. The Summer School had originally been proposed for June 2020, then post-poned twice as the pandemic wore on. We are so grateful to the University Librarians who hung in and arrived on campus from Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Ethiopian, Malawi, Eswatini, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe for a week of instruction, collaboration, and knowledge sharing, alongside MLIS students who joined the Summer School. Isola, our thanks and congratulations.

  • Assistant Professor Luke Stark undertook a residency this past summer at Radboud University in the Netherlands and was joined on the trip by FIMS graduate students. Luke also travelled to Cardiff, Wales, along with Associate Professor Joanna Redden and grad student collaborators to attend the Data Justice Conference.

  • Last Winter, we welcomed television writer, actor, and PhD candidate Sibusisiwe Gugu Manqele to campus for a two-week research residency in March. Sibusisiwe is a doctoral student in media and cultural studies at Kwa-Zulu Natal University in Durban, South Africa. She presented a talk on women screenwriters in South Africa and joined classes and co-curricular workshops during her stay. We were moved by her contributions.

  • This Fall, Assistant Professor Nataleah Hunter-Young, a scholar-curator who oversees the African and Arab West Asia Program at the Toronto International Film Festival, provided a lab for 20 FIMS students to attend TIFF to view international films they might otherwise never see, learn the intricacies of TIFF and the festival circuit in the film industry, and prepare reviews about the films they have explored beyond the screenings. You can join Nataleah and student co-ordinators for a report from TIFF at their FIMS Seminar on October 4th. Come to campus or join on-line. FIMS students travel, but we also develop a global standpoint right here in London and in the GTA, one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world.

    Colleagues, we know that you, too, have broad international experience. Would you like to involve FIMS students? Just let us know—we’d be happy to talk and explore.

Our Strategic Plan, 2023-28

Do you have a taste for University planning documents?! If so, take a look at our just-released Strategic Plan, which expresses our collective principles of interdisciplinarity, inclusion, the importance of media and information in democratic life, our commitment to original, illuminating research and to theory and practice together for our students’ education and development. Our Plan is not a big binder but a dynamic, 5-button website. We welcome your continuing responses.

Go Team FIMS at 25 To our alum, colleagues and friends, our thanks and see you soon.

Lisa Henderson
Dean, Faculty of Information and Media Studies