Hannah Deasy awarded the Pat and Bill Tierney Communication Studies Graduate Diploma Scholarship

Posted: May 6th, 2014

Tierney 13-14 - Hannah Deasy

Graduate Diploma student Hannah Deasy has been awarded the Pat and Bill Tierney Communication Studies Graduate Diploma Scholarship for 2013-14. Kevin Tierney, Communication Studies alumnus created this scholarship in the name of his parents Pat and Bill Tierney in 2010.  You can read more about Kevin Tierney and his gift to the Communication Studies department on our website

This prize is awarded to a Graduate Diploma student in Communication Studies on the basis of academic excellence and the potential to enrich the larger Communications community.

Congratulations Hannah!

And the Oscar goes to … The Lady in Number 6!

Posted: March 5th, 2014

Bohbot Academy Award

Coms alumnus Frederic Bohbot holds Academy Award for best documentary short | Photo credit: Frederic Bohbot

As graduates of Concordia’s Department of Communication Studies, Frederic Bohbot, BA 01, was the film’s executive-producer; Kieran Crilly, BA 03, was cinematographer; while Carl Freed, BA 94 of the Department of Political Science, was editor. A graduate of the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, Luc St. Pierre, BFA 09, was composer.

“Only a decade after they finished university they won an Academy Award. This will be a real source of inspiration for students in our department,” says Rae Staseson, chair of Concordia’s Department of Communication Studies.

The film industry’s top honour was accepted at the 86th Academy Award ceremony that took place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, CA, on March 2.

The documentary is about 110-year-old pianist Alice Herz-Sommer — the oldest Holocaust survivor in the world — who passed away a week before the Oscar telecast.

“She taught everyone on my crew to be a little more optimistic and a little bit more happy about all the things in our lives.

"Seeing the film will help you live a much happier life,” said the film’s director Malcolm Clarke from the Oscar podium.

Other Oscar connections
Bohbot, Crilly, Freed and St. Pierre weren’t the only Concordians at Hollywood’s biggest night.

Yves Bélanger, BFA 84, was a cinematographer on the movie Dallas Buyers Club.

Directed by Montrealer Jean-Marc Vallée, the film was nominated for six awards including best picture. Actors Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto won for best actor and best supporting actor, respectively.

$200,000 Awarded to Next-Generation Media Data Analysis

Posted: January 27th, 2014

Media History

A team from Concordia’s newly minted Media History Research Centre (MHRC) has partnered with the University of Wisconsin-Madison in a bid to transform the study of film and media history. Today, their project was awarded more than $200,000 in an international grant competition.

Project Arclight’s goal is to turn digitized historical documents into useable data sets. In an era when our publications and libraries are moving to an electronic model, the backlog of pre-digital documents waiting to be transferred from paper to pixel is staggering. As archivists make that conversion, researchers are left with vast amounts of raw material.

Arclight is developing a new web-based tool that will allow users to analyze millions of pages of digitally scanned magazines and newspapers for trends related to a chosen media history subject.

The proposal has been selected as a successful entry in the Digging into Data Challenge, administered by the Office of Digital Humanities at the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities. The winners were announced on January 15: the Canada/U.S. Project Arclight team will receive approximately $214,750 to develop the software tool, which it aims to launch in 2015.

Arclight will allow film and media historians to apply a big-data analysis approach to their research.

“Today you hear of corporations that use social media as a way to gauge different kinds of developing interests with geographical precision,” says project leader Charles Acland, professor and Concordia University Research Chair in Communication Studies. “What we want to do is develop an online, web-based tool that will help media historians do something comparable using historical materials.”

Initially, the project will draw on more than two million pages of documents from two repositories: the Media History Digital Library and the National Digital Newspaper Program at the Library of Congress. It will grow to include other digitized holdings.

The wealth of newly digitized trade magazines, fan magazines and newspapers holds a lot of potential for researchers, Acland says. “It really opens up the possibility of constructing a new kind of portrait of the history of the development of contemporary media in Canada and the United States.”

One of the main goals of the developers is to make the software tool easy to navigate, in hopes of attracting as many users as possible. “The design of the homepage is a very intuitive user interface that basically lets you immediately start asking the questions you want to know,” says Professor Eric Hoyt, principal investigator from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in a video about the project.

The Digging into Data Challenge is supported by 10 international research funding bodies, including the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

The grant is a major coup for Acland and his team at the Media History Research Centre. Acland is excited to see the impact Arclight will have on film and media studies.

“If our ambitions for this are approximated, it will be one of the major starting points for media historical research here and internationally.”

Two Communication Studies Alums and their Oscar Contender

Posted: January 27th, 2014

The Lady in Number 6We’re delighted to announce that The Lady in Number Six, a short film produced with the involvement of two of our alums, Frederic Bohbot (2001) and Kieran Crilly (2003), has been nominated for an Academy Award in the category Best Documentary Short Subject.

The Lady in Number Six tells the inspirational story of Alice Herz Sommer, who at 109 years of age is the world’s oldest pianist and oldest Holocaust survivor. For The Lady in Number Six, which was produced by Bunbury Films in collaboration with Reed Entertainment, Bohbot was one of the executive producers, and Crilly was Director of Photography.

Our best wishes to the entire crew – and good luck at the Awards!

You can view the film trailer here:

Communication Studies Grad Wins SSHRC Award

Posted: December 17th, 2013

Kendra Besanger
Photo courtesy Kendra Besanger

Communication Studies graduate Kendra Besanger’s “Talking Through the Ages” was one of 25 winning audio, video, text and infographic entries in last year’s inaugural challenge. The pitch made by Besanger, MA (Media Studies) 2013, describes Active Ageing Mobile Technologies — an initiative led by Communication Studies professor Kim Sawchuk and based at the university’s Mobile Media Lab.

As Sawchuck says, “The research is important because it overturns and questions the assumptions we have around generational divide and media.”

This time around, the deadline for submissions is January 15, 2014. Students who proffer the top 25 pitches take home a cash prize and an all-expenses paid trip to the 2014 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences at Brock University in May.

When Besanger won, she flew to Victoria for the congress.

Her own graduate research project was funded by SSHRC, but she decided to focus on the Mobile Media Lab’s larger work with seniors, technology and communication, since she felt it had more impact. She also participated on a related project called MemorySpace.

“The way that Kim explained it to me — the through-line that I took — is that we talk about gender, class and race, but age is missing,” Besanger says. “That was the thesis statement of my three-minute pitch: we need to bring age into our perspective when we do critical studies.”

Her advice to applicants? “Find research that is having an impact, and keep it simple. Don’t think about it too much: just get what you need and put something together. It’s worth it.”

Research for a Better Life: The Storytellers, a new competition sponsored by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada, is currently seeking applicants.

It invites post-secondary students from across Canada to submit pitches promoting SSHRC-funded research projects at their institution. “What we’re looking for is clarity in explaining the research, creativity in the way you explain it, and persuasive stories,” says SSHRC communications advisor David Holton.