The Joint Graduate Program in Communication & Culture is a unique partnership. Together, Ryerson and York offer a critical mass of faculty needed to advance the study of communication and culture.

Drawn from a number of disciplines, the distinguished faculty collectively represent a breadth of perspectives and professional experience in communications, the social sciences, humanities, media, and fine arts. Please visit About Us to learn more about our partnership and expertise.

The Future Communications Conference is being hosted by our graduate program, Communication & Culture.  It is free to attend so you can see what a small conference is like.  If you are eager to present please have a look below for more information regarding call to papers.

Call for Papers - 2018 Future Communications Conference The York-Ryerson Joint Graduate Program in Communication & Culture welcomes proposals for paper presentations, round table discussions, workshops, and creative artwork for our annual Future Communications Conference. Both ongoing and completed research is welcome. The conference will take place on December 7, 2018 with panels in the late morning and early afternoon at York University and a Keynote Address and reception in the afternoon and early evening at Ryerson University. The theme “Future Communications” can be interpreted broadly to include investigations of all aspects of culture, media, politics, policy, technology, and creative practice. The Future Communications conference encourages submissions from current students and those applying to join the Ryerson-York Joint Graduate Program in Communication & Culture. Proposals should include a title and a 200-word abstract. Presentations will be 15 to 20 minutes in length. If you are proposing a round table discussion, workshop or panel with an organized group, please have each person register separately, but use the same title for all participants. If you wish to volunteer to chair a panel in addition to or in lieu of giving a presentation, that is most welcome. You can indicate this with your abstract submission or in a separate email to Steve Bailey ( Please submit your abstract (indicating “Future Comm. Submission" in the subject line) to: Dr. Steve Bailey Deadline for Submissions: Monday, November 26 2018.

 Keynote Presentation Future Communication Conference: hosted by Ryerson and York University

Dr. Cheryl Thompson will be joining us on December 7th to discuss her forthcoming book, Beauty in a Box: Detangling the Roots of Canada’s Black Beauty Culture (Wilfrid Laurier Press, April 2019). She provides an overview of the ways African American and white-owned American companies entered Canada’s mainstream retail sector in the 1970s and 1980s, explaining why (and how) Toronto’s local black newspapers, Contrast and Share, became the media outlets where companies advertised not only the arrival of new black beauty products but where black readers learned about the sale of products at department stores, the date/location of in-store demonstrations, and the goings on at local hair shows.

Today, black women can walk into most drugstores, such as Shoppers Drug Mart and find black beauty products from chemical hair straighteners (“relaxers”) to hair oils and in some locations, synthetic hair weaves. Prior to the late-1970s, this was not the case. This talk will also highlight the life of Beverly Mascoll, one of Canada’s first black beauty product distributors who advertised regularly in the pages of Contrast and Share for over twenty years. Mascoll’s “rags to riches” tale, from selling products out of her home to becoming the number one distributor of Johnson’s Products in the country at one point in the 1970s speaks to the cultural sentiment of opportunity that swept across Canada during the decade.

For the first time in the 1980s, black beauty products also lined the shelves of retail chains in cities and town across Ontario and Quebec, western and eastern Canada. She will explain the strategies used by American companies to expand their black beauty operations into these spaces and places. As Afros faded to chemical relaxers in the late-1970s and early-1980s local black media was there to capture it all. At the same time black products entered the dominant consumer marketplace, multiculturalism as a policy was introduced, and then promoted to black communities through advertising campaigns in Share. This is the moment when, erased from the national imagination, were historically black communities, such as African Nova Scotians. Newly arrived black immigrants (especially those from the Caribbean) became Canada’s black community because their arrival spoke to the new national narrative and identity centered on “cultural diversity” and, as a result, new immigrant experiences were increasingly interpellated into the visual landscape of the dominant culture. She will discuss this milieu and provide some framing to the cultural context of the 1990s when multiculturalism morphed into a brand used by white-owned beauty companies to appear more culturally inclusive. As demographics in North America shifted, white-owned firms looked for new strategies to woo black women consumers, and many did so with “ethnic” product labeling and the expansion of existing brands.

In 2018, Dr. Cheryl Thompson joined the School of Creative Industries as Assistant Professor, Faculty of Communication & Design at Ryerson University. She earned her PhD in Communication Studies from McGill University under the co-supervision of Dr. Will Straw and Dr. Charmaine Nelson. Her essays have appeared in Emergent Feminisms: Challenging a Post-Feminist Media Culture (2018), the Journal of Canadian Studies, Canadian Journal of History Annales canadiennes d'histoire (CJH/ACH), and Feminist Media Studies.  In addition to her academic writing, Cheryl is a frequent contributor to, and has published articles in the Canadian Theatre Review,, Toronto Star, Montreal Gazette, GUTS Magazine, and