Month: May 2013

The Uncomfortable Truth: The Lack of Creativity in Discussions of Creativity

Earlier this week, I saw a online mention of an article by Thomas Frank in the June 2013  issue of Harper’s Magazine, with the mention indicating that the article took some pretty harsh potshots at the literature on creativity. After my own reading of some of the popular press books about the creative process – including Jonah Lehrer’s now-withdrawn Imagine, one of the biggest sellers on that topic – the idea of a critical look at this literature intrigued me, especially a critical look by someone whose main job isn’t writing about or researching business.

I managed to find a copy of that issue of Harper’s, and when I read Frank’s article, I wasn’t disappointed. (more…)

BC Government Mandates Bargaining for 10-Year Teacher Agreement

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how the idea of a 10-year-long collective agreement for British Columbia public school teachers had raised its ugly head yet again in the context of the BC provincial election campaign.

The BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and the provincial government’s representatives are currently negotiating their next collective agreement, to replace the agreement now in effect which expires in June. It was a very hopeful sign for this round of negotiations that the two parties, who in the past have been very adversarial, voluntarily and jointly agreed to some revisions in their bargaining structure and process. (The revisions are described in this briefing note from the BC Public School Employers’ Association [BCPSEA].) However, according to this story in the Globe and Mail, the newly re-elected Liberal government has just issued letters to both parties “rescind[ing] a previous bargaining mandate [for the government’s negotiators] and highlight[ing] the 10-year proposal as a point of negotiation”. Here is a copy of the letter sent to the BCPSEA.

The idea of a 10-year collective agreement was first introduced (more…)

100 years of the Actors’ Equity Association

Union membership numbers have declined for a lot of occupations over the past century. But, despite major technological change in their industries, performing arts unions have maintained their presence as strong advocates for the workplace interests of performers, writers, and technicians. The Museum of the City of New York has written a wonderful post, with fascinating pictures, to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Actors’ Equity Association.

MCNY Blog: New York Stories

Look at the cast list in any theater program across the country and you will see a small * beside a performer’s name leading to a footnote indicating the performer belongs to the Actors’ Equity Association.  Peruse the program bios for these same starred performers and you will often encounter the phrase “proud member of Actors’ Equity.”  The union representing live theatrical performance turns 100 years old on Sunday. Rather than attempting 100 years of coverage in a single blog entry, this week’s posting will focus on just a few points of pride.

Actors’ Equity was founded on May 26, 1913 when 112 theatrical actors met at the Pabst Grand Circle Hotel in New York City.

Six months before this meeting the Actors’ Society of America, a previous attempt at organizing a labor union for theatrical actors, dissolved, due in large part to the fact that the Actors’…

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Adios, Amigo: More Problems at Library and Archives Canada

The Canadian media have been very busy in the last few days trying to keep up with the story about members of Canada’s Senate making suspicious expense claims. However, at the same time, another dispute involving governmental expenses has been largely overlooked – the one involving Daniel Caron, the head of Library and Archives Canada (LAC). This past week, he stepped down when it was discovered (more…)

Hackers and Trackers and Slackers, Oh My!: Adventures at MIT’s “Media in Transition” Conference

New trends now start not from exhibitions or publications but from conferences. It was, after all, the 1966 conference at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, ‘The Languages of Criticism and the Sciences of Man’, attended by [Jacques] Derrida and other Parisian savants, that first put the ideas of poststructuralism into circulation in America, where they were developed, institutionalized, and ultimately re-exported to Europe and the rest of the academic world.

(David Lodge, “Through The ‘No Entry’ Sign: Deconstruction and Architecture”)

The start of May is usually the start of my academic conference season, and as my previous post indicated, I recently spent a few days in the Boston area. I went there to attend MiT8, the “Media in Transition” conference that happens every two years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The conference is sponsored by MIT’s Communications Forum and the wonderful MIT Comparative Media Studies (CMS) program.

You might wonder how or why someone who works in a school of business administration ended up at a conference that has presentations on topics like slash fiction, snark websites, Farmville, sexting, and reality television. (more…)

My Boston

Boston is one of my absolute favourite cities. And so I was horrified, as we all were, at the bombing at the Boston Marathon and the chaos afterwards. When I’ve visited Boston, I’ve spent a lot of time in Cambridge, where the two alleged bombers grew up and where they escaped to after the bombs went off. It was surreal for me to watch TV and see police in full combat gear running down streets that I know very well and where I always feel very safe.

I’m posting a few pictures that I took in Boston today, to show why I love visiting here. It’s a beautiful and resilient city, (more…)