Papergirl Vancouver is part of a global network of community art projects that redefine street and participatory art by combining philanthropy, bicycles, and the gifting of art. Papergirl is not alone in explicitly challenging the art market economy, but its simultaneous reaction against neoliberal and postfeminist discourses and absorption by them makes it the site of productive contradictions. Using interviews with participants and fieldwork, this thesis situates Papergirl’s roots in the Second Wave feminist art movement. As part of the repudiation of feminist politics, feminist art’s contributions to contemporary art have arguably been absorbed into and forgotten by social practice art. Elements of social practice art are compatible with neoliberal discourses, contributing to its depoliticization. This thesis questions the depoliticization of Papergirl Vancouver. It aims to reconnect Papergirl Vancouver to the activist roots of social practice art and considers ways to reclaim and reignite feminist art activism within the project.
Public service broadcasting (PSB) plays a unique role in media landscapes across the world. This thesis argues that, while the broadcasting landscape in Canada has changed as new technologies have developed and the overall environment in which PSB operates has evolved, there is still a role for it to play in the country. With a focus on national public television in Canada, a timeline of the evolution of PSB in the country as it appears in official policy documents is provided. After establishing a timeline of development, this thesis discusses national public television in the 21st century through an analysis of interventions submitted to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s (CBC) 2013 licence renewals. It is demonstrated through a content analysis of the nearly 6,000 English-language interventions submitted, that Canadians support the continued existence of the CBC. Suggestions for future research are also discussed.
This dissertation uses the theoretical constructs of Normalization Process Theory (NPT) to examine the successful implementation of an innovative telehealth service that delivers occupational health nursing services to a large healthcare employee population over a wide geographic area. Telehealth services have come to be regarded as a possible means to improve access to health care services, clinical efficiency, and cost effectiveness in an era where there are shrinking resources and growing health care demands. Yet there is still much to be learned about how these complex interventions advance beyond pilot projects to become the normal way of working.Using a case study of a successful re-organization of occupational health nursing services, the study used qualitative data collection methods: semi-structured interviews, analysis of documents, and site observations. Data were analyzed using the framework method of analysis informed by the constructs of NPT. This study adds to a growing literature that supports the utility of NPT in identifying the work necessary to successfully implement complex interventions in healthcare settings. It underlines the importance of understanding technology as practice, and suggests prospective applications of the theory.
Walter Benjamin refers to the commodified dream world of nineteenth century Paris as a ‘little universe’, in which the Parisian Arcades first form a modern cosmos of intoxicating ‘phantasmagoria’ that blunts the human capacity to perceive things as they ‘truly are’. Benjamin’s proposed methodology for the ‘dialectical image’ describes a potentially explosive force that would serve to disrupt the centrifugal balance of the historicism of this phantasmagoric universe. Benjamin hoped that his Passagen-Werk would spark a ‘Copernican turn of remembrance’ to generate a revolutionary awakening in his own time. Key to these ambitions is the figure of the flaneur who first found his entrepreneurial niche strolling the glass and iron corridors of the Parisian Arcades, and who became progressively alienated from both the city as well as his social class in the years that followed 1848. This thesis demonstrates how the intersection of the flaneur with Walter Benjamin’s work enriches our understanding of both in turn. By engaging with the notion of the flaneur/flanerie as it specifically applies to Benjamin’s work, as well as with how Benjamin’s work is enriched through a broader, deeper historical understanding of the flaneur, I argue that the flaneur becomes a multifaceted and in-depth means of theorizing capitalist/urban experience. The redeeming potential that can be found in the expressions of those who have been most marginalized in society exists as an important theme to Benjamin’s concept of historical awakening and the dialectical image, particularly as it pertains to the work of Charles Baudelaire. From this context, I explore the relationship of Benjamin’s work on the flaneur to his own vantage point at the dawn of the Second World War. The tragic fate of the flaneur foreshadows the political nihilism and, ultimately, self-destructive impulses of inter-war Europe. Yet the redeeming hope and value that Benjamin finds in fragments of poetry and prose left behind by Baudelaire’s alienated flaneur lies in its revolutionary potential as a source of dialectical images.
This thesis examines ways in which low literacy and essential skill levels, and access to education, have profound implications for community health and are inextricably linked to other social determinants of health. It explores possibilities for forging new and innovative ways for excluded individuals and communities to participate meaningfully in university-based education, specifically with respect to Simon Fraser University and Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighbourhood. The thesis examines a number of theoretical and methodological approaches from various disciplines, including public health, public policy, adult education, critical and indigenous pedagogies, and communication for social change; gives an overview of relevant examples of university-community engagement activities; extracts key lessons learned from a case study of community engaged programming that occurred at Simon Fraser University in 2011/2012; and concludes by making recommendations for strengthened efforts on the part of the university to sustain collaboratively developed community-engaged programming.
This dissertation explores the design of new media technologies for engaging the public on the political aspects of urban sustainability. Focusing on new media’s “responsive aesthetics”, it asks, how are interactive experiences designed to mediate the underlying political culture of sustainability? In order to provide initial answers to this question, this dissertation draws on phenomenological approaches to the philosophy of technology, critical theory and contemporary work in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), to develop a framework for considering the politicizing aspects of interactive experiences. At its centre is a conception of interactivity as a form of world disclosure that mediates being, perception, action and meaning. The validity and utility of the conceptual framework is demonstrated with a variety of case studies that include Mash Notes, a public interactive installation; MetroQuest, a sustainability decision support tool; public engagement processes facilitated by UBC’s Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning (CALP); and several “serious” games. The design of interactive experiences is discussed on the background of what is identified here as an incipient turn to experience in environmental communication. Perceived as a response to the decline of the dominant science communication paradigm, known as the information deficit model, the turn to experience is explained as an appeal to resonant, felt, meaningful aspects of the public’s perception of, and engagement with, environmental issues. It is illustrated by two communicative strategies: the first aims to evoke resonant experiences with politicizing effects, while the second aims to create consonance between the public’s everyday experiences and the issues underpinning political decision-making. The dissertation’s critical analysis of the relations between politics and design aims to provide environmental communicators with a better understanding of the potentials and limitations of designing interactive experiences to engage the public on sustainability, and provide technology designers with a more comprehensive and nuanced conception of the political significance of their creations.
In the digital games industry women are statistical and cultural outliers. Using a cultural studies lens, this thesis examines the experiences of women game-makers in order to more deeply understand the attitudes of female game-workers, and to ascertain whether work in the male dominated gamed industry can be ‘good work’ for women. When compared to other cultural sectors, female game workers face unique barriers to sustaining careers in this high status industry. Gender stereotypes keep many women from fully participating in games industry culture which in turn discriminates against any worker who does not fit in to the ‘might is right’ mindset. Female game workers are getting mixed signals from an industry that appears to desire gender diversity in order to attract the growing ranks of female gamers, but is resistant to change sexist and discriminatory work practices that continue to alienate women.
This thesis interrogates the persuasive practices of Animal Rights Vegan Activists (ARVAs) in order to determine why and how ARVAs fail to convince people to become and stay veg*n, and what they might do to succeed. While ARVAs and ARVAism are the focus of this inquiry, the approaches, concepts and theories used are broadly applicable and therefore this investigation is potentially useful for any activist or group of activists wishing to interrogate and improve their persuasive practices.
The thesis explores soundwalking, memory and aural history through participatory exploration. My ethnographic work involves extensive documentation of a private museum in Echo Bay, a remote fishing and logging community in the Broughton Archipelago, BC. This museum houses artifacts, many of which have acoustic components. The proprietor and elder, Billy Proctor, has many stories to tell about his collection and how it reflects the history and ecology of the area. My work aims to show how approaching history and memory through listening and soundmaking constitutes a unique experiential methodology, different from visual methods of observation. This qualitative study explores the embodied, sensuous, performative, narrative and dialectic aspects of the documentation, recording, and listening process and practice. In addition, the technique of “memory soundwalks” is added to the lexicon of soundscape and memory studies. The utilization of such creative soundscape methodologies and epistemologies enables this ethnographic work to extend into the public sphere via multiple modes, media, and formats for the general public, for example, as an audio-tourism project for the Billy Proctor Museum, and as multi-media documentations and art presentations, such as the award-winning short film, “Listening to a Sense of Place” (2012) co-created with Greg Crompton.
Digital self-determination elaborates the links between networked digital infrastructure development and the autonomy and agency of indigenous peoples. It foregrounds how indigenous peoples are involved in the diffusion, construction, governance, and use of networked digital infrastructures. Importantly, it considers how these infrastructures are not only tools of emancipation, but can increase the surveillance and control of indigenous peoples by state and corporate interests. They can also extend the historic and ongoing reality of the ‘offline’ economic, social, political, and cultural marginalization of indigenous peoples. However, to accept such negative effects at face value is to fall into the trap of the teleological fallacies of social and technical determinism. Instead, in this dissertation I argue that indigenous peoples can shape and use networked digital infrastructures to support their self-determination. These processes are often guided by a recognition of self-determination that is grounded in and emergent from diverse indigenous laws, customs, and institutions. This frames digital self-determination with reference to the long-term and ongoing work of indigenous peoples to shape their own community-based media organizations and endogenous development projects. My dissertation considers these issues as they articulate with several facets of digital self-determination. I ground my argument in empirical research on the Northern Indigenous Community Satellite Network (NICSN), a cooperative socio-technical network spanning the northern regions of three Canadian provinces: Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba. The NICSN partners collaborated to build and manage regional infrastructure in ways that reflect the needs of their constituent communities. Moving beyond considerations of access, I frame these infrastructures as socially shaped platforms of agency that are the result of dynamic negotiations and struggles between political actors seeking to advance normative agendas. These activities play out in the formation of frameworks of subsidies and regulatory conditions that reflect attempts to decolonize state-based policies and institutions. Finally, I end with a discussion of how indigenous peoples and governments are shaping online applications into spaces of convergence that reflect their goals of self-determination. Throughout this dissertation, I situate my observations in broader political, economic, and cultural contexts to elaborate both the promise and the challenge of digital self-determination.