The School of Journalism and Communication was saddened by the passing of Professor Emerita Kirsten Kozolanka, who was the only SJC faculty member to have been formally cross appointed to both the journalism and communication programs. She was a good colleague and friend to many of us.

Among her numerous scholarly achievements, Kirsten co-authored Media Literacy for Citizenship: A Canadian Perspective (Canadian Scholars Press, 2018) with Paul Orlowski. She was editor of Publicity and the Canadian State: Critical Communications Perspectives (U Toronto Press, 2014), which focused on central themes in the state’s relationship with publicity practices: the permanent campaign, the rise of promotional culture within government, the expansion of market research into policy development, and the influence of lobbying and PR on party politics. Kirsten was also co-editor of Alternative Media in Canada (UBC Press, 2012) with Patricia Mazepa and David Skinner.

 Prior to joining Carleton as a faculty member, Kirsten worked for many years as a journalist and political staffer.

“Her professional experience shaped her scholarship in numerous ways, most notably with respect to encouraging a long-time curiosity about the complex intersections of media, politics and publicity,” said Josh Greenberg, Director of the School of Journalism and Communication. “Her approach was explicitly political and critical in theoretical orientation. Kirsten’s commitment to promoting more democratic forms of communication were engrained in her teaching and research.”

As noted in her obituary, Kirsten passed away peacefully in the arms of family on October 16, 2022 at the age of 69 after a brief illness. She is deeply missed by her beloved husband of 46 years, Charles Brabazon, and their two daughters, Honor and Greer Nadyezhda; survived by mother Marion and siblings Karne, Kandis, Kim (Dai), Kris, and Kevin; and predeceased by father Zeby.

Kirsten grew up in social housing at a time of government investment in public goods and was the first in her family to receive a university degree, obtaining a B.A. (Hons.), M.A., M.J., and Ph.D., as well as a college diploma. She had three successful careers: first, doing media and communications work for political leaders, such as the Hon. Ed Broadbent and the Hon. Karen Haslam; second, doing award-winning strategic communications work in Indigenous Affairs in the federal government; and, third, as a Professor in the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton.

But she was first and foremost an activist. She and her husband met doing civil liberties work and together co-edited the Canadian Rights and Liberties Federation newsletter, Rights and Freedoms/Droits et Libertés. Fearless in a meeting, she organized parent support for teachers’ strikes in 1990 and 1997; chaired the Alternative Schools Advisory Council; co-founded the Coalition for Public Education; submitted briefs to royal commissions and government committees; protested the Free Trade Area of the Americas agreement in Quebec City; and walked many picket lines.

In her academic work, Kirsten researched alternative media, the ‘publicity state’, and the activism of the Days of Action and the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, publishing books and articles on these and other issues.

“She was creative and artistic, cared about and celebrated others, and enjoyed many moments of joyful abandon with friends and family,” her obituary noted.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023 in , ,
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