Reflecting on 50 Years of Communication Studies at SFU

January 25, 2024

Throughout its history, the SFU School of Communication has sustained a rich and vibrant tradition of critical communication research, teaching and engagement to make visible and disrupt structures of power while contributing to the co-ordination and development of progressive social change.

In today’s historic moment, a series of social crises have challenged our ability to care for each other and imagine a common, democratic future. In this context, the need to understand the media and technologies that shape our present and future is more pressing than ever.

“When SFU’s School of Communication opened in 1973, we didn’t know how drastically the way we communicate would change over the years,” says SFU president Joy Johnson. “As the landscape has evolved, the School has evolved with it to become one of Canada’s leading communication programs, just as SFU has emerged as one of Canada’s leading research universities.”

This year, Simon Fraser University’s School of Communication is celebrating its 50th anniversary. To mark this occasion, a series of events is revisiting and exploring the range of critical scholarship and teaching that has been a hallmark of the school since it opened 50 years ago.

Curated around the theme Communication as Critique, the celebration highlights the work of SFU’s world-class faculty, students and alumni, and engages in dialogue about the future of communication and media studies with the events that explore the critical legacies that have been a central feature of the school since its beginning.

“The School of Communication has been a pillar of SFU for the past 50 years,” says Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology dean Carman Neustaedter.

“I see the impact the School makes at SFU and around the world on an everyday basis — they are leading the charge by responding to the most critical of societal needs and pressures.”

After hosting a Speakers’ Series and Alumni Celebration (see below for photos) and launching a Digital Timeline, the 50th Anniversary celebrations concluded with a Research Symposium on December 1st and 2nd at the The Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre. The Research Symposium featured a keynote lecture by xwélmexw (Stó:lō/Skwah) artist, curator and writer Dylan Robinson, as well as a day full of engaging panel discussions featuring past/current faculty.   

Photos from our Events: