Building:Richcraft Hall, Room 4209
Department:School of Journalism and Communication


Sarah E.K. Smith is an Assistant Professor in Communication and Media Studies, and affiliated faculty in the Bachelor of Global and International Studies (BGInS) program. She is a 2018 Fellow of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute and a founding member of the North American Cultural Diplomacy Initiative (NACDI), a multi-disciplinary partnership of academics, policymakers, and practitioners interested in interrogating and advancing cultural diplomacy. Smith completed her Ph.D. at Queen’s University and subsequently worked as Curator of Contemporary Art at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. Prior to joining the School of Journalism and Communication she held a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship with the Transnational Studies Initiative at Harvard University and a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. In 2015, Smith was the Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Public Diplomacy in the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California.

Research Interests

Dr. Smith’s research is focused on modern and contemporary visual and material culture in North America, and is grounded in visual methodologies and critical theory. Recent projects have addressed diverse art forms including conceptual art, photography, and video art, as well as topics such as surveillance culture, indigenous cultural production, and cultural diplomacy. Her doctoral dissertation explored the role of visual culture—including exhibitions of visual art and works of contemporary art—in facilitating the adoption of the North American Free Trade Agreement at the end of the twentieth century. Dr. Smith’s current SSHRC-funded research project aims to assess the relationship of Canadian curators and museums to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Selected Publications


Smith, S. (2016) General Idea: Life & Work. Toronto: Art Canada Institute/Institut de l’art du Canada, 2016.

Journal Articles

Smith, S. (2015). The Permeable Border: Examining Responses to North American Integration in Video Art. Journal of Comparative American Studies, 13(1-2), 91-106.

Smith, S. (2013/2014). Making sense of the ‘endless play of signs’ in the work of Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge. TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, 30-31, 219-235.

Robertson, K., Smith, S., Anderson. S., Diggon, E., & Moussa, A. (2013). “More a Diplomatic than an Esthetic Event:” Canada, Brazil, and Cultural Brokering in the São Paulo Biennial and “Isumavut.” Journal of Canadian Studies, 47(2), 60-88.

Buis, A., & Smith, S. (2013). Sanaugait in Nunavut. Journal of Modern Craft, 6(2), 187-204.

Buis, A., & Smith, S. (2011). Thread, Fur and Hair: Preserving Inuit Histories through Textiles. Cahiers métiers d’art ::: Craft Journal, 4(2), 124-132.

Book Chapters

Smith, S. (2014). Visualizing the “New” North American Landscape. In Lynda Jessup, Erin Morton, and Kirsty Robertson (Eds.), Negotiations in a Vacant Lot: Studying the Visual in Canada (pp. 130-149). Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Smith, S. (2013). Cross-Border Identifications and Dislocations: Visual Art and the Construction of Identity in North America. In D.F. Stirrup and Gillian Roberts (Eds.), Parallel Encounters: Culture at the Canada-US Border (pp. 187-205). Waterloo: Wilfred Laurier University Press.

Morton, E., & Smith, S. (2012). Precarious Life: On Dwelling, Mobility, and Artistic Intervention. In Hans Skott-Myhre and Chris Richardson (Eds.), Habitus of the ’Hood (pp. 69-94). Bristol, UK; Chicago: Intellect.

Exhibition Catalogues

Smith, S. (2015). Bringing Queer Theory into Queer Practice. In Sunny Kerr (Ed.), I’m Not Myself At All: Deirdre Logue and Allyson Mitchell (pp. 22-31). Kingston, ON: Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

Smith, S. (2010). Captured and Controlled: Critiquing Surveillance Through the Camera. In Jan Allen (Ed.), Sorting Daemons: Art, Surveillance Regimes and Social Control (pp. 49-61). Kingston, ON: Agnes Etherington Art Centre.