Fall 2023 - CMNS 488 D100

Selected Topics in Communication (4)

Technologies of Creativity

Class Number: 1134

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2023: Mon, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

    Oct 10, 2023: Tue, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    Depends on topic; published before enrollment.



Intensive analysis of a particular topic in the general area of communication. This course can be repeated for credit up to a maximum of three times, if topic studied is different.


Creativity is often said to be one of the most important human faculties. Yet clearly defining what constitutes creativity remains elusive. The starting point for this course is to examine creativity as a collection of techniques and knowledge practices for exercising power that long ago spread beyond the domain of Art and into those of the media, economics, psychology, policy, education, to name only a few.

Our specific aim will be to excavate a set of historically and culturally situated conceptions of the creative process over the last two centuries through an analysis of imaging technologies. We will use this investigation to better understand how these technologies have shaped—and been shaped by— these changing conceptions.

How are centuries-old ideas of creativity still with us today? How do they continue to inform our understanding of the creative process when working with digital media like Generative AI? How was the invention of the computer used to redefine what it means to be creative? Through lectures, seminars, and other activities we will grapple with these and many other questions throughout the term.

Week 1 – Introduction: How to figure creativity in 11 easy steps!

Week 2 – A new materialist perspective on the creativity dispositif – creativity, technology, & mediation

Week 3 - The designer and the draughtsman

Week 4 - The producer

Week 5 – The audience

Week 6 – The creative computer

Week 7 – The student

Week 8 – The new organization man

Week 9 - The craftsperson

Week 10 – The participant

Week 11 – Figurations of Artificial Intelligence: we have never been creative


  • Equip students with a critical, historically grounded understanding of creativity and its mediation.
  • Develop visual literacies related to various imaging techniques.


  • Short Assignments (Annotated Portfolio to be submitted on Canvas) 35%
  • Discussant work (with postings on Canvas) 15%
  • Term Assignment (proposal, research paper/project and round table presentations) 50%


This course does not have a final exam during the exam period.



All required readings will be provided through Canvas.  Additional materials required for seminar work will be provided in class.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.