Policy & Power

Marianne Côté “Smart Cities or How to Go to City Hall through the Cloud”

This presentation explores Montreal’s smart city plan, more specifically the INFO-Neige app and the snow removal system. It questions if INFO-Neige is an example of what James C. Scott would call a “narrowing of vision”, a process of simplification that allows the state to control and manipulate. Is INFO-Neige a smart tool for Montrealers, or is it the by-product of a vision focused on helping a small elite to turn complex, human interactions into a simple formula?

Marianne is a second year MA student in Media Studies at Concordia University. She has a BA in Communication and Political Science from University of Montréal. Her research seeks to understand the relationship between technology, the media and politics.

Elise Cotter “Graphic Design and Canadian Symbols in the 1960s”

Despite its humble beginnings as a sketch or doodle, a logo is a rather powerful thing. A symbol will take on strong and, at times, diverging emotions and meanings.  This is especially true for national symbols. While seemingly incompatible, Canadian nationalism and graphic design of the 1960s are intertwined. Some of Canada’s most cherished symbols are, at their core, design elements. The centennial and the Expo 67 logos are at once iconic products of modernism and deeply embedded emblems of Canadian identity.

After 5 years working at Historica Canada, the largest independent organization devoted to enhancing awareness of Canadian history and citizenship, Elise Cotter is at school for Concordia University’s MA Media Studies. For her thesis, Elise will examine the formulation and branding of “Canadian identity,” specifically  for the Sesquicentennial celebrations in 2017.

Trevor James Smith “Open Data and Open Source Geographic Information Systems (GIS)as an advocacy tool for Northern and Aboriginal communities”

This presentation focuses on an ongoing project initiated by the First Mile Connectivity Consortium (FMCC) advocating for greater aboriginal self-determination by visualizing the socioeconomic disparities of Northern Aboriginal communities, with a specific focus on affordability of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). Using Free and Open Source Geographic Information Systems Software (FOSS GIS), Web-available platforms/tools, and government/non-government Open Data, we are presently building accessible methodologies to enable these socioeconomic mapping practices by non-specialists. As this project is currently work in progress, we welcome questions, suggestions, and critiques.

Trevor James Smith is an MSc student in Geography, Urban, and Environmental Studies at Concordia University researching regional climate change and what that could mean for Quebec’s viticultural and wine-making capacity using climate models and Geographic Information Systems(GIS). His approach relies on Open Data initiatives and Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) to resist privately controlled information and proprietary methods of analyzing this data. Using these same approaches, he has been contributing his GIS knowledge to an ongoing socioeconomic analysis project supporting an initiative to restructure subsidies for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) development in Northern and Aboriginal communities, working towards the development of a module-based course in GIS-based analysis methodologies.

Dane Stewart “Discursive (trans)Formations of Truvada: Operations of Power within the United States”

Dane Stewart will present a discursive analysis on the United States’ narratives surrounding the drug Truvada, a form of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) patented by Gilead Sciences, the presentation will focus is on discourses produced between the U.S. FDA’s July 2012 approval of Truvada for prophylactic use and the CDC’s May 2014 release of new federal guidelines recommending the consideration of PrEP for individuals at substantial risk for HIV infection.

Dane Stewart is a current student in Concordia’s Individualized Master’s program. His research spans queer identity, research-creation, theatre, and the ethics of representation.

Moderator: Dr. Fenwick McKelvey, Assistant Professor, Communication Studies