Appropriately billed as “a conversation among emerging Canadian communications scholars and stakeholders”, Converging In Parallel wrapped up at McGill’s Thomson House on Friday, Nov. 10 with a stimulating keynote address from a different national perspective with American communications scholar Sandra Braman. This address, with moderation and response by Marc Raboy, capped off a dynamic day and a half which saw Canadian communications scholars engage with representatives of the private sector and public sector in presentations and exchanges concerning the role of policy research in an era of shifting technologies and changing economic frameworks.
Another highlight was the public roundtable on Thursday afternoon entitled “Communication Policy Research: Is the Tower Ivory?” This session included three speakers whose experience went well beyond the university setting: Marilyn Burgess, Policy Planning and Research, Telefilm Canada; Donald MacLean, formerly of the Canadian Department of Communications and the International Telecommunications Union; and Elizabeth Roscoe of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters.
The remaining five panels included over thirty voices from the Maritimes to British Columbia and representing concerns ranging from community broadcasting to telecommunications policy research. The format of the conference was unique: presenters were given only five minutes to present their position on a question each had received well in advance of the conference, and the remaining time for each panel was designated for discussion among all delegates. This approach proved very effective with questions and comments extending into the breaks after the allotted time had expired.
The conference was organized by Bram Abramson, Jeremy Shtern and Gregory Taylor,and received financial support from Media@McGill. For more information, please see the conference website at http://www.bazu.org/parallel/