Today, in what must be the biggest item of my own work-news I’ve ever had to announce, I’m letting people know that in January 2018 I will be taking up an exciting new role as Professor of Creative Innovation and Leadership, in the Faculty of Communication and Design, at Ryerson University, Toronto.
I am also their nominee for a Canada Research Chair, a Canadian government programme to attract researchers from around the world. Ryerson is all about creative, hands-on learning, and has many interesting and great researchers and initiatives. They also have lots of amazing production and performance facilities. (Here’s a neat one-minute video about the Faculty).
In my home country, Brexit is such a depressing, narrow-minded development, making it much easier for me and my family to decide to head off for the famously inclusive and diversity-friendly culture of Canada. And that’s even though we really like things in the UK such as the weather, the countryside, and London.
And of course, I have a lot of friends and networks in the UK and Europe, and almost none of that in Canada, so it will be sort-of back to square one. But hopefully a few Canadians will let me join in their fun.
I’ve had a great time at the University of Westminster’s School of Media, Arts and Design, where I’ve been for 11 years. In particular, in recent years, as Director of Research working with the brilliant Dean of our school, Kerstin Mey, I’ve really enjoyed working across a wide range of subjects and seeking out the common creative threads between music, fashion, art, communications, and many other areas. Kerstin demolished the old departments and made us all part of one School of Media, Arts and Design, which was bold, ambitious and exciting. It’s been great to be at the heart of that journey.
This faculty also supported and enabled me to go for maximum interdisciplinarity in my own work and teaching, which has been vital and transformative for me.
In all my conversations and interviews with Ryerson I consciously and deliberately made sure I was true to myself and what I like to do best – and which is, correspondingly, what I am best at – so that they could decide straightforwardly if they wanted me or not. So they already know, for instance, that I like to work across different areas rather than being stuck in one corner, and that I value open and accessible communications much more than niche academic things that nobody reads. They’re happy about all that, so I am happy too.
If you’re reading this in the UK, I wish you all really well, of course, and thanks for being nice to me over the years. I hope that we can stay in touch and maybe collaborate in the future.
And if you happen to be reading this in Canada – hello! We come in peace. Do get in touch. Thank you.
We wish you all the best, and on behalf of all media teachers I wish to say that you made the teaching of media all the more exciting and accessible. The Canadians have won the jackpot!