The Communication and Media Studies program is developing an international partnership with the School of Communication at the Université catholique de Louvain in Belgium to develop joint opportunities for graduate students.
As part of this emerging initiative, Prof. Ira Wagman recently visited with faculty and graduate students at Louvain, where he also delivered two guest lectures.
The first talk was given to students interested in research methods and highlighted different ways to research the history of television. The second talk, “The Digital and the Deja Vu,” discussed digital memory and the mediation of knowledge.
“There’s a general environment now where universities are looking to partner up to provide international opportunities for graduate students,” said Prof. Wagman, “to take advantage of things like student exchanges and let them go abroad for a semester, and to give students something unique or different about their masters or PhD programs.”
The Université catholique de Louvain is located in Louvain-la-Neuve, a bustling university town nestled about 40 minutes outside of Brussels.
“It’s a very nice town,” said Prof. Wagman. In addition to being the home of the Hergé Museum, named after the Belgian cartoonist who drew The Adventures of Tintin comic series, Louvain-la-Neuve also hosts the 24h vélo de Louvain-la-Neuve, a day-long bike relay race.
“They basically convert the city into a bike course,” said Prof. Wagman. “One person rode a bike rigged up to look like a duck, another two were dressed like the Mario brothers. You can imagine that there’s also beer involved.”
Prof. Wagman also gave a presentation about the Communication and Media Studies program at Carleton.
“Their communication program was particularly interested in ours, because we offer a good graduate program and have faculty who do research in a wide variety of areas,” said Prof. Wagman. “Their faculty and students conduct research on topics like crisis communications, gaming, and media literacy, which compliments some of what we do here at Carleton.”
Communication studies has a very peculiar history, Prof. Wagman noted, particularly in the French-language context in Belgium.
“Communication departments in France usually appeared in departments that were also interested in things like information sciences. Additionally, lots of European universities have systems where they work in labs or research groups, and this extends to communication studies,” he explained.
“Groups of faculty members will work together on projects and apply for grants, which students are invited to get involved in. There’s a much stronger tradition of collaborative work in labs within the institution, rather than between faculty across multiple institutions as we see more often in the Canadian context.”
Prof. Josh Greenberg, Director of Carleton’s School of Journalism and Communication, notes that there are many benefits to partnering with universities in Europe.
“As the media industries become increasingly globalized, we want to ensure our graduate students have opportunities to travel and study abroad. There are benefits to faculty as well, not just from Carleton but from our European partners universities as well, to develop new international research and teaching initiatives.”
Prof. Greenberg notes that the details of this partnership are still in development and will be finalized in the coming months.
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