Nora Young is the 2021 Recipient of the Medium & the Light Award

22Jul21
Nora Young Official CBC photo

The Medium and the Light Award for 2021

The recipient of the tenth Medium and the Light Award, in recognition of the ecumenical dimensions of the life and work of Marshall McLuhan, was presented on Sunday, July 11 online as an integral part of the 22nd Media Ecology Association (MEA) Convention hosted by Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro with the overall theme “Dystopic Futures: Media Ecology in an Algorithm Society”. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this is the second MEA Convention to be offered completely online.

Nora Young is the recipient of this year’s Award for inviting listeners to join her in probing the many effects of our mediated world on human beings through her broadcast journalism, specifically as the host and creator of CBC Radio’s “Spark” and as author of “The Virtual Self: How Our Digital Lives are Altering the World Around Us” (2012). Both endeavours recall McLuhan’s own explorations to understand technologies (especially communication media) so that we can still shape them, even as they shape us. Although such technologies may appear ready to swallow us up in a vortex, this is not an inevitability, particularly when we take the time to step back from the media morass to think about its effects. Through her written and broadcast work, Nora Young is among those leading others precisely to think about the effects of these technologies on our lives to determine what is and what is not worth keeping.

The Award is usually given annually by The Marshall McLuhan Initiative that was affiliated for its first decade (2007-2017) with St Paul’s College, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. The University of Manitoba is Marshall McLuhan’s first post-secondary alma mater, where he earned the Gold Medal in Arts for 1933 and an M.A. in English literature (1934).

The award consists of:
• a crystal clear soda glass obelisk (measuring about 2 x 2 x 8 inches and    3 pounds in weight);
• embedding a piece of opalescent dichroic glass;
• on which the logo of the Marshall McLuhan Initiative has been etched.
• This dichroic glass has a very thin multi-metal coating that refracts light     in man different colours.
• Both the award and recipients’ names are etched horizontally on the obelisk’s surface.

The inaugural award, in 2011, was presented to the late Fr. Pierre Babin, omi (1925-2012), in Lyons, France;

The 2012 award was presented to Dr. Thomas W. Cooper, the distinguished professor of communications at Emerson College in Boston;

The 2013 award was presented to none other than Dr. Eric McLuhan (1942-2018), world renowned author, lecturer and prober into all things media ecology;

The 2014 award was presented to Fr. John J. Pungente, S.J. and The Jesuit Communication Project (JCP) which he directs, based at Regis College, in the University of Toronto;

The 2015 award was presented posthumously to the late Richard J. Osicki (1946-2012), journalist, broadcaster, media educator and Founder and first Director of the Marshall McLuhan Initiative in Winnipeg;

The 2016 award was presented to Sr. Angela Ann Zukowski, MHSH, D. Min., Director of the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives, Associate Professor in the Dept. of Religious Studies at the University of Dayton;

The 2017 award was presented to Fr. Paul Soukup SJ, Professor in, and head of, the Dept. of Communications and Theology at Santa Clara University, media ecologist, scholar, educator, and practitioner;

There was no Medium and the Light Award in 2018, just in time for a well-deserved sabbatical;
This break allowed us to build up for the special 2019 presentation of this award to Rosanna Deerchild, storyteller, author, poet, broadcaster and host of CBC Radio’s “Unreserved”;

The 2020 award was presented to Dr. Derrick de Kerckhove, a former Director of the Centre for Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto after McLuhan’s passing, McLuhan studies scholar and researcher.


The Medium & Light Award


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