Marshall McLuhan wrote in his Introduction to the Second Edition of  Understanding Media:

“The power of the arts to anticipate future social and technological developments, by a generation and more, has long been recognized. In this century Ezra Pound called the artist ‘the antennae of the race’. Art as radar acts as ‘an early alarm system,” as it were, enabling us to discover social and psychic targets in lots of time to prepare to cope with them. This concept of the arts as prophetic, contrasts with the popular idea of them as mere self-expression. If an art is an ‘early warning system,’ to use the phrase from World War II, when radar was new, art has the utmost relevance not only to media study but to the development of media controls. 

When radar was new it was found necessary to eliminate the balloon system for city protection that had preceded radar. The balloons got in the way of the electric feedback of the new radar information. Such may well prove to be the case with our existing school curriculum, to say nothing of the generality of the arts. We can afford to use only those portions of them that enhance the perception of our technologies, and their psychic and social consequences. Art as a radar environment takes on the function of indispensable perceptual training rather than the role of a privileged diet for the elite”. – Gordon, W.T. (2003). Understanding Media Critical Edition. Corte Madera, CA: Gingko Press, p. 16


By Darren Wershler, Concordia University, Montreal   – Dec. 10, 2010

 “Artists,” wrote Ezra Pound, “are the antennae of the race.”{{1}} In the introduction to the 2nd edition of Understanding Media, so does Marshall McLuhan, who updates and expands the metaphor:

Art as radar acts as an ‘early alarm system,’ as it were, enabling us to discover social and psychic targets in lots of time to prepare to cope with them. This concept of the arts as prophetic contrasts with the popular idea of them as mere self-expression. If an art is an ‘early warning system,’ to use the phrase from World War II, when radar was new, art has the utmost relevance not only to media study but to the development of media controls.

When radar was new it was found necessary to eliminate the balloon system for city protection that had preceded radar. The balloons got in the way of the electric feedback of the new radar information.{{2}}

As Friedrich Kittler, one of McLuhan’s most successful contemporary intellectual heirs, puts it, “Information technology is always already strategy or war” {{3}}. War elicits new forms of communications, retrofits old ones for its own purposes, and violently blasts existing media landscapes into drastic new forms, producing unexpected juxtapositions.

World War II, in fact, was the force that put Marshall McLuhan in contact with two of the leaders of the early 20th century avant-gardes: Pound and Wyndham Lewis. McLuhan met Lewis while teaching in St. Louis in 1943, and maintained a close working friendship over the next two years, while both were living in Windsor, Ontario. McLuhan and Hugh Kenner traveled to St Elizabeths Hospital in Washington D.C. in 1948 to meet Pound, where he was incarcerated for putting his “poet-as-antenna” aphorism into practice, producing radio broadcasts in support of Mussolini’s fascist government during WWII. McLuhan had read Pound with enthusiasm while a student, long before the war, and corresponded with him for several years after. By the time McLuhan joined the faculty at St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto in 1946, he was in all likelihood the only expert on modernist poetry at the time in all of Ontario {{4}}. McLuhan biographer Philip Marchand notes that in later years, McLuhan always credited the poets of the modernist avant-gardes as “the real inspiration for his media studies” {{5}}.

Contemporary journalism and popular culture, when it thinks about McLuhan at all, tends to see him from the wrong end of the telescope, positioning him as a technologist and a futurist rather than as someone deeply invested in language and literary tradition. In the masthead of its first issue in March 1993, Wired magazine declared McLuhan its “patron saint,” and for many commentators, this marked McLuhan’s return to a position of public legitimacy after the indifference that his works faced for much of the 70s and 80s. The first actual article on McLuhan in Wired (4.01, Jan 1996), Gary Wolf’s “The Wisdom of Saint Marshall, the Holy Fool,” describes him as scholar, teacher, social, political, and economic analyst … but there’s no mention of poets or poetry anywhere”… (Read the rest at )

[[1]]Pound, Ezra. ABC of Reading. New York: New Directions, 1934. 73.[[1]]
[[2]]McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964. xi.[[2]]
[[3]]Kittler, Friedrich A. Discourse Networks 1800/1900. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1990. 371.[[3]]
[[4]]Marchand, Philip. Marshall McLuhan: The Medium and the Messenger: A Biography. 1st MIT Press ed. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1998[[4]]
[[5]]Ibid., 41.[[5]]

Darren Wershler (aka Darren Wershler-Henry) is the Concordia University Research Chair in Media and Contemporary Literature (Tier 2), the co-founder of the Concordia Media History Research Centre (MHRC), and the director of the Residual Media Depot. Darren is the author or co-author of 12 books, and is currently working on THE LAB BOOK: Situated Practice in Media Studies, with Lori Emerson and Jussi Parikka.

We will explore the “massive revolution” over the past 15 years in how libraries operate, including their role as a neutral space to exchange ideas. No longer just book depots with “shushing” librarians, public libraries are in fact lively and interactive spaces that contend with issues of relevance to us all with accessible technology, focusing on diversity and equity in neutral public spaces and platforms for discussion and debate. 

This event aims to present the most modern and cutting-edge view of what libraries do and how they serve their communities in 2018 and is presented in partnership with Prof. Paolo Granata’s Readers and Readerships course and his students in the Book and Media Studies Program at St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto.

This event (2:30 to 4:00 PM) will be held in the Atrium of Toronto Reference Library and no tickets are required. Join us!

Click on the image for an expanded view.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Toronto Reference Library (789 Yonge St, Toronto)

2:30 – 4:00 PM – Panel and discussion

With Toronto’s City Librarian Vickery Bowles; Manager of Cultural and Special Event Programming at the TPL Gregory McCormick; Book and Media Studies program director Paolo Granata; and other guests.

This event is free and open to the public. It will be held in the Atrium of Toronto Reference Library and no tickets are required.

* * * * * * * * * *
The McLuhan Salons series is an initiative of the St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto, in conjunction with the Estate of Marshall McLuhan and several high-level academic and cultural institutions, and generously supported by the William and Nona Heaslip Foundation.

Curators: Paolo Granata, University of St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto; David Nostbakken, McLuhan Fellow at the McLuhan Centre for Culture & Technology.

The whole series of these photos was taken on April 15, 1973 at Marshall McLuhan’s Coach House, known as the Centre for Culture & Technology at St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto (Click on each image for an expanded view.)

 Eric McLuhan

You can see the entire series of 63 items from which these 7 photos are taken from here

ABOUT ROBERT LANSDALE: As a press photographer during the 1950’s Robert Lansdale MPA HLM of Etobicoke, ONT., was assigned by the Toronto Star to shoot the first Grey Cup game ever played in Vancouver, British Columbia. All the film was processed in a makeshift darkroom under the stadium with pictures wire-photo’d immediately to Toronto for that day’s editions. By the time the game was over and all the dressing room activities had been covered, there was only an hour left before Bob was scheduled to catch a plane back to Toronto. Getting to the plane on time was no problem, but taking all the negatives with him to make original prints for the Monday papers WAS a problem.
“Somehow you remember stories , not by date, but by the new equipment you’ve just started to use. I had just bought my first Hasselblad camera, plus a 240mm telephoto lens, when I was sent to Ottawa to cover the visit of President Eisenhower to Canada. I was in the side balcony of the House of Commons to photograph Mr. Eisenhower as he addressed the House. After the first five minutes there isn’t much different to record so I was searching for anything else of interest. Along the top of the wall is a sculpted frieze that runs around the whole room. At the far end of the Chamber, it changed into a little balcony, decorated with two giant winged cherubs. There, in the arms of the carved innocents, were two CIA bodyguards with high power rifles. I swung round my Hasselblad with the telephoto and snapped off two exposures then returned before the other photographers caught on to my scoop.The Star ran the two pictures across an inside page: Eisenhower speaking at the dais beside the snipers and their guardian angels!” Read the entire bio here

Location: MSD – Münster School of Design, Leonardo-Campus 6 – Münster, Germany
MSD – Münster School of Design

Date/Time:  30. November – 01. December/All Day

Keynote Speakers: Derrick de Kerckhove, Lars Elleström, Eric McLuhan and Göran Sonesson

In the era of the so-called digitalization, a variety of multimodal technologies have a great impact on the structural dimension of media and the media use of the recipient. This development has already had an enormous influence on the consumer culture, in which the relation of analog and digital media, as well as their creative, technological and sociocultural interdependence, has not been not sufficiently investigated.

So, it seems to be very important to connect aspects of design, mediality and technology with aspects of media reception to formulate productive hypotheses for academic and creative work areas. The technologization could be described as a trigger mechanism for a variety of media transformations and user dynamics, which means, that analog media are still widely spread (e.g. newspapers, magazines, books etc.) but that production methods and manners of use have changed under the influence of digitalization (e.g. digital design, digital print, digital reading, interactive apps etc.) and finally, that in some cases analog media seem to be totally replaced by digital concepts (e.g. online news portals, social media, immersive media technology, etc.).

Therefore, the different media research projects have to correlate analog and digital forms to determinate limits and possibilities of analog and digital mediality. The different topics for the conference „FURE+ The Future of Reading and Media“ are very open with an interdisciplinary character and they are addressing analog and digital strategies in modern design, recent conditions of media reception in the print sector, the influence of digital reading devices on reading processes, typography in the context of digital and user-centered design, three-dimensional media in the context of virtual reality, digital image and text overlaps of reality with Augmented Reality or finally, perceptual synchronizations of media inputs and haptic, tactile, audio-visual or proprioceptive user experiences (e.g. enhanced e-books, smartphones, interactive apps, Augmented Reality reading apps for tablets etc.).

Recent media developments refer to specialized design processes, technologies and different perceptual dynamics of the user, so that it seems to be important and necessary to focus on different cross-references for an effective understanding of recent and future media. Therefore, the conference will be a forum for an interdisciplinary discussion in the range of creativity, production aesthetics, media science and other academic and scientific sectors, which are related to design, technology and media understanding.

Topics could include or address:

* the current or new role of print in the context of digitalization

* the process of reading in the context of analog and digital media

* the impact of digitalization on typography and scripture

* the relation between text and digital media

* the limits and possibilities of display technologies for images and texts

* the cognitive and bodily processes of reception or perception of media

* the technological impact on media, communication, culture, creativity and design

* the development of methods and concepts for the understanding of analog and digital media

* the history of media understanding in the range of analog and digital media

* the anthropology, phenomenology, or semiotics of analog and digital text and image media

All talks will be 30 minutes in duration plus Q&A time. Please send an abstract with a maximum of 800 words, a title of your submission, a short biography and contact details to Prof. Dr. Lars C. Grabbe via email: The deadline is March 22, 2018. Submissions will be reviewed, applying following criteria: relevance of the topic, theoretical foundation, clarity of data, adequacy of the used method(s), and matching to the overall conference topics. The conference languages are German and English. (Source: )

Münster School of Design

The February 22, 2018 issue of the Toronto Globe & Mail newspaper reports that a play by Canadian playwright Jason Sherman titled The Message that had originally been scheduled for their 2003 – 04 season is one of the seven Canadian plays to be staged during their upcoming 2018-19 season.

It had originally been shelved because of the opposition, including possible legal action, by Marshall McLuhan’s widow, Corinne.  The play speculatively depicts Marshall’s condition after a massive stroke he suffered in 1979. Biographer Philip Marchand described his condition thus: “Ten days after he entered St. Michael’s Hospital he underwent surgery to help restore circulation of blood to his brain. Two weeks after the operation he walked out of the hospital. He eventually regained almost complete physical mobility – but his ability to write had been annihilated.” He was paralyzed on his right side. “Worst of all, he could no longer speak, except for a few odd phrases. ” (Marshall McLuhan: The Medium and the Messenger, 1989, p. 281).

It is understandable that the McLuhan family would be pained by an actor fictionally depicting their husband, father and grandfather in an enacted state of relative helplessness. When I contacted Michael McLuhan to inquire about whether the Estate would oppose this latest plan for staging, he provided the following statement that represents the views of the family: “Marshall’s widow, Corinne McLuhan, was appalled when she became aware of and read the script. In no way does the Estate endorse or sanction this production.” However, the family has chosen not to oppose production on this occasion.

For readers with a Globe & Mail subscription or online access past their paywall, the Globe’s article can be found here  Jason Sherman has written extensively for the stage, radio, and television. His plays include Remnants (A Fable); It’s All TruePatienceReading HebronThe RetreatThe League of NathansAn Acre of Time, and Three in the Back, Two in the Head, which won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama. He served as executive story editor and writer on the TV series ReGenesis, earning Gemini and Canadian Screenwriting Award nominations. For CBC Radio he wrote “National Affairs,” “Irving Invectus,” and “Graf,” for which he received the Canadian Screenwriting Award for radio drama. He is currently working on several television, radio and film projects. He lives in Toronto. [Sherman is Tarragon’s current playwright-in-residence, a position he held to much applause for most of the 1990s.] (Source: ) A More extensive biography is available in the Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia:   

Mobile Phone Evolution 1992 – 2014

This is a short excerpt from an excellent wide-ranging and philosophical essay about Marshall McLuhan, his main ideas, and mobile phones that deserves to be read in full. It is also well-written. Follow the link at the bottom to do so.

The Mobile Phone

By Peter Benson

… Let us consider some of the effects on our society of the use of the mobile phone. Walk down any street in a busy town, and you’ll see many people with a phone clutched to the side of their head, talking as rapidly as they are walking. It is now possible to engage in verbal communication with other people wherever they are. This major change in human behaviour has come about within a remarkably short time, but its implications need to be considered. Many people have willingly taken this option of continuous communication; and many more have been forced to accept it as a condition of their employment. To be continuously available for work-related discussion expands the condition of being an employee beyond the boundary of office hours, and beyond the office. Non-work time becomes increasingly colonized by one’s job, and the condition of subordinate employee becomes the permanent, all-encompassing condition of one’s existence. Even while making a meal at home, or travelling on the bus, one might be interrupted by a business call.

In the past, people sold a certain number of hours of their day to their employer. This was the social system Karl Marx analysed in Capital. But many analysts are becoming aware that this idea has less and less relevance to the field of modern employment, and that the mobile phone is one of the major factors that has changed the nature of work. For example, the Italian radical thinker Franco Berardi, in his book The Soul at Work (2009), notes that “The cellular phone is left on by the great majority of info-workers even when they are not working.” (p.89). As a consequence: “Cellular phones realize the dream of capital: that of absorbing every possible atom of time at the exact moment the productive cycle needs it. In this way, workers offer their entire day to capital and are paid only for the moments when their time is made cellular… They prepare their nervous systems as an active receiving terminal for as much time as possible.” (p.90)

These changes enabled by the mobile phone are merely social: they do not yet reach to the level of effect upon our psyche with which McLuhan’s theories are concerned. However, to the obligatory use of the phone in employment, we must add the extensive voluntary use of it in daily life. Among the people we pass in the street, many are chattering, not to work colleagues, but to friends, spouses, or lovers. They are willingly enacting a condition of permanent connectedness: a continuous co-habitation with others, following them through the byways of their days. The cellular phone in handbag or pocket unites them umbilically to their network of social contacts. This is a condition unprecedented in human history.

McLuhan was correct in discerning tendencies to try to re-establish aspects of village life in the modern world. Villages are notable for human proximity, nosiness, suspicion, and lack of privacy. This trend reverses the development, in the industrial age, of anonymous, isolated, secretive city dwelling. Separation from the pack has never been so rare for human beings as it is in the mobile/Internet age… Read the rest at

Peter Benson currently works in a public library in London, whose future is under threat. He has a degree in Philosophy, a subject which is under threat in British universities. He cannot be reached by mobile phone.

Two smartphones: a Samsung Galaxy J5 (L) & an iPhone 6S(R)

Donald Theall, born in Mount Vernon, New York, took his B.A. from Yale University in 1950, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 1951 and 1954. He rose through the ranks from Lecturer to Professor at Toronto from 1953 to 1965, being Chairman of the Combined Departments of English there in his final year. In 1962 he edited and annotated selected poems of Pope for the last print edition of Representative Poetry.

After becoming Chairman and Molson Professor, Department of English, McGill University from 1966 to 1973, and then Founding Director and Molson Professor, Graduate Program in Communications, from 1974 to 1980, Theall joined Trent University in Peterborough as President and Vice-Chancellor from 1980 to 1987, University Professor from 1987 to 1994, and University Professor Emeritus from 1994. During this period he served on the Board of Directors, International Communication Association (1979-81), as Founding President, Canadian Communication Association (1978-80), as First Cultural Exchange Professor, Canada to the People’s Republic of China (1974), and as Co-Director, National Film Board of Canada/McGill University Summer School on Media (1967-71).

He has published widely on communication theory, Marshall McLuhan, poetic theory, James Joyce, T. S. Eliot, Wyndham Lewis, Science Fiction, Film Theory, Alexander Pope, satire, Harold Innis, virtual reality (VR), and Cyberspace, including “Beyond the Orality/Literacy Dichotomy: James Joyce and the Pre-history of Cyberspace” in Postmodern Culture (1992). His recent books include The Virtual Marshall McLuhan (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2001), James Joyce’s Techno-Poetics (University of Toronto Press, 1997), Beyond the Word: Reconstructing Sense in the Joyce Era of Technology, Culture, and Communication (1995). He has also guest-edited a Special McLuhan issue of the Canadian Journal of Communications in 1975 with G. J. Robinson and has published The Medium is the Rear View Mirror: Understanding McLuhan (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1971).

A pioneer in computing in the humanities, Donald Theall has made an extraordinary contribution to literature on-line with his Web version of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake and Ulysses. (Source:


As a tribute to his contributions to education over the years, Dr. Theall was presented with a Doctor of Sacred Letters, honoris causa from the University of St. Michael’s College in 2006. Dr. Theall joined Trent University as president and vice-chancellor from 1980 to 1987. He stayed on at Trent as a professor until his retirement in 1994, when he was granted the title of professor emeritus. Following a brief illness, Dr. Theall died at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre on Wednesday, May 14, 2008.

Donald Theall (L) & Marshall McLuhan at St. Michael’s College, 1955

For beginners studying Marshall McLuhan’s ideas, I usually recommend that they read the famous Playboy interview (1969) in which he is resolutely cogent and unambiguous for a non-academic reading audience, proving that he could be that when he wanted to be. You can download a PDF of it here  Second, I recommend that they read his The Medium is the Massage (1967) in which he explains many of his ideas in a simplified and illustrated manner. But, if you want to read from secondary sources, here are three that I can recommend which happen to all be by the same author.


McLuhan for Beginners 

By W. Terrance Gordon

Marshall McLuhan pioneered the study of the media and is now making a comeback, despite the fact that he died in 1980. McLuhan was a professor of English who loved James Joyce, hated television, played himself in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall, and fired off ideas like a machine gun. If he were alive today, he would want to continue infuriating a world moving into the 21st century with 19th-century perceptions. This book is described as a “documentary comic book” that explains his ideas but doesn’t take itself too seriously. (Source:

Everyman’s McLuhan

By W. Terrance Gordon
Anyone who has ever considered media and its relation to humanity has most likely heard the name Marshall McLuhan. Famous for his adages, he was a careful student of 20th-century media, and a prolific lecturer and author. Unquestionably, McLuhan’s writings are important, but all too often impenetrable. As technology speeds ahead and forces us to reconsider our relationship with it, McLuhan’s career merits a creative and accessible examination. W. Terrence Gordons Everyman’s McLuhan does just that. As McLuhan’s official biographer, Gordon is the perfect man to decipher the more confusing and problematic aspects of the McLuhan legacy. By applying McLuhan’s ideas and theories to the realities of 21st-century technology and media, like phones that play films and computer chip implants, Everyman’s McLuhan fosters a dialogue that was important when McLuhan was alive, but is even more relevant today as the line blurs between humans and the technologies we use regularly. (Source:
Presented in the visual and print manner of The Medium is the Massage, this book is extensively illustrated throughout.

McLuhan: A Guide for the Perplexed

By W. Terrance Gordon

Marshall McLuhan was dubbed a media guru when he came to prominence in the 1960s. The Woodstock generation found him cool; their parents found him perplexing. By 1963, McLuhan was Director of the Centre for Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto and would be a public intellectual on the international stage for more than a decade, then linked forever to his two best-known coinages: the global village and the medium is the message.
Taken as a whole, McLuhan’s writings reveal a profound coherence and illuminate his unifying vision for the study of language, literature, and culture, grounded in the broad understanding of any medium or technology as an extension of the human body. McLuhan: A Guide for the Perplexed is a close reading of all of his work with a focus on tracing the systematic development of his thought. The overriding objective is to clarify all of McLuhan’s thinking, to consolidate it in a fashion which prevents misreading, and to open the way to advancing his own program: ensuring that the world does not sleepwalk into the twenty-first century with nineteenth-century perceptions. (Source: The format of this book is all text with no illustrations or visual elements.

W. Terrence Gordon is Professor Emeritus at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and Part-time lecturer in Linguistics at St. Mary’s University, Halifax. He is the author of the three titles on McLuhan and the editor of the critical editions of his Understanding Media (2003), McLuhanUnbound(2005), and The Classical Trivium: The Place of Thomas Nashe in the Learning of his Time (2006). His McLuhan for Beginners brought him the invitation from the McLuhan family to write his biography: Marshall McLuhan: Escape into Understanding, critically acclaimed in The New York Times and many other sources. Professor Gordon is also the librettist of a multimedia opera about McLuhan.

for Youth Arts, Manifesto, Toronto 2012. Photo by Leah Snyder

2013 THE YEAR OF THE ARTIST: McLuhan’s Musings on the Role of the Artist in Society

Art as Survival Thrival in the Electric Digital Age

“The job of the artist is to upset all the senses and thus provide new vision and new powers of adjusting to and relating to new situations.”

These are the words of Marshall McLuhan given in a lecture at Columbia University way back in 1973 on the theme of “Art as Survival in the Electric Age.”

McLuhan understood the tremendous societal influence that the artist can have when they put action behind their vision.

As we inhabit a world that has truly become the McLuhanian Global Village the isolation that can often accompany strength of vision is being eroded away by technology that allows the artist to connect with their muse, locate their tribe and readily receive affirmation from a participatory audience.

When you mix globalization, democratization of technology and creative minds who see colour where others see gray there is incredible potential for radical shifts.

And more than any other time in history there is a breed of creators who travel past both conceptual and cultural boundaries. A new world is being designed in the minds of artists and assembled by the hands of everyone working together with a shared vision for a different kind of world.

MIXED BAG MAG proclaims 2013 to be the year of the artist. It is the year where the cultural trickster, the music maker, and the one who dances to the beat of a different drum will be the agent of change. [Looking back on 2013, I have to ask -was it? Informed opinions and comments welcomed.]     Source:

media painting by Chiko Chazunguza –  Photo by Leah Snyder

“If men were able to be convinced that art is a precise advance knowledge of how to cope with the psychic and social consequences of the next technology, would they all become artists? Or would they begin a translation of new art forms into social navigation charts? I am curious to know what would happen if art were suddenly seen for what it is, namely, exact information oh how to rearrange one’s psyche in order to anticipate the next blow from our own extended faculties.”

For more quotes on art and artists see

St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto introduces the McLuhan Seminar in Creativity and Technology
Offered for the first time in 2018-2019, The McLuhan Seminar is an exploration of the relationship between creativity and technology.Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980), one of the most charismatic and wide-ranging thinkers of the 20th century, taught at St. Michael’s College from 1946 until his death in 1980. The Seminar is inspired by McLuhan’s innovative thinking. First-year students in the Faculty of Arts & Sciencc at the University of Toronto will explore how the humanities relate to other fields of thought in addressing the individual, social, and cultural experiences and effects of technological innovation.

University of Toronto / St. Michael’s College Professor Paolo Granata, an expert on McLuhan’s work, will teach the course, which also includes a one-week international learning experience in Silicon Valley. While visiting some of the legendary global symbols of world-changing innovation and the creative giants of the world’s tech economy, this course will take an experimental approach to the following research question: “How can we make innovation and creativity play a role in the development of humanities research for a critical interpretation of the role of technology in today’s world and in the future?”
The McLuhan Seminar introduces to university-level studies on a small scale, with first-year students who share interest in creativity, technology, and international experience. Students from different disciplines will experiment with interdisciplinary and critical thinking, access path-breaking new research, and engage with some of the most popular, profitable, and recognized sources and sites of human connectivity today.
Ultimately, the McLuhan Seminar in Creativity and Technology will provide students with a toolbox for creative learning and future research connections.
Professor Paolo Granata

Scholarships will be awarded to successful applicants.

What is the course?

SMC155H1, the McLuhan Seminar in Creativity and Technology, is a half-course worth 0.5 credits. It will be offered in Winter 2019. The course consists of lectures, seminar discussions, guest speakers, and a one-week international learning experience in Silicon Valley. Students will explore how creativity makes innovation possible and influences our individual and social responses to technological change.

Possible Course Reading List

Some of the material you’ll be reading could include selections from:

  • Marshall McLuhan’s Laws of Media: The New Science and Take Today: The Executive as Dropout
  • Adam Grant’s Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, a book about recognizing good ideas, facing doubt, and choosing how and when to act
  • Walter Isaacson’s bestselling biography Steve Jobs
  • Ashlee Vance’s Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, a biography that explores the role of inventors and entrepreneurs in the global market
  • Timothy Ferriss’ Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers
  • Silicon Valley (HBO TV series)

Planned Silicon Valley Visit

The course includes a one-week international learning experience in Silicon Valley over Reading Week 2019, February 18 to 22. Students will visit some of the legendary global symbols of world-changing innovation and the creative giants of the world’s tech economy.

Good news. All students admitted to the McLuhan Seminar in Creativity and Technology receive room and board at no cost. Students are responsible for their own airfare and incidentals.

In advance of the trip, enrolled students will receive more detailed information and also safety training and other preparation. Additional information at

About Professor Paolo Granata

Marshall McLuhan(James Joyce to his right), from the William McElcheran sculpture located outside the Kelly Library at St. Michael’s College.