The 2020 Ioan Davies Memorial lecture explores emerging area of Digital Media Unionism

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The Ioan Davies Memorial Lecture is an annual event at York University that brings a major intellectual figure in the areas of critical and cultural studies to York for a public lecture. The 2020 Ioan Davies Memorial Lecture will take place Nov. 19, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

This year’s invited lecturer is Professor Greig de Peuter of Wilfrid Laurier University, whose research focuses on work, employment, and labour politics under contemporary capitalism. His talk, “Digital Media Unionism: A Labour Movement in the Making” addresses the value of labour organizing as an entry point to the critical study of media work and media futures. Click here to register for this free public lecture.

IDML 2020_GDPIn his remarks, de Peuter will address the value of labour organizing as an entry point to the critical study of media work and media futures. It expands on a recently completed study (with collaborator University of Toronto Associate Professor Nicole Cohen), interviews with journalists and union organizers involved in unionization campaigns at more than 75 publications, both digital-first outlets like Vice and BuzzFeed, as well as legacy media, including the Los Angeles Times.

The talk traces the making of this media labour movement by mapping constitutive moments in the union formation process, revealing in turn: the working conditions and inequalities that journalists are contesting; the cultures of solidarity that sustain union drives, combat anti-unionism, and underpin contractual gains; and how newsroom employees turn their professional communicative competencies to an alternative end – to build worker power.

Ioan Davies
Ioan Davies

The Ioan Davies Memorial Lecture commemorates the life and work of Ioan Davies, who explored art and popular culture in terms of the kinds of opportunities they offer for common political action. Davies was the founder of the journal border/lines and author of several works of fiction and non-fiction, including Cultural Studies and Beyond: Fragments of Empire (Routledge, 1995), Writers in Prison (Blackwell, 1990) and Social Mobility and Political Change (Pall Mall, 1970). Davies taught graduate courses on aesthetics and contemporary critical theory in the Department of Social & Political Thought and was influential in establishing the African Studies Program and the Graduate Program in Communication and Culture. Davies died suddenly on Feb. 15, 2000.

More about Greig de Peuter

Greig de Peuter is the co-author, with Nicole Cohen, of the forthcoming book, New Media Unions: Organizing Digital Journalists, based on this research. He is also co-author with Nick Dyer-Witheford of Games of Empire: Global Capitalism and Video Games (2009). His research on labour activism in the arts, media and other cultural sectors has been published in such venues as the Journal of Communication Inquiry and the Journal of Cultural Economy as well as in popular outlets including the contemporary art magazine Frieze and the Canadian activist magazine Briarpatch. De Peuter maintains a commitment to public scholarship. He cofounded Critical U, a free school in Vancouver, and the Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry, an autonomous education experiment. More recently, he has collaborated with Christine Shaw on Letters & Handshakes, whose curatorial projects include the group exhibitions I stood before the source and Take Care, which received Exhibition of the Year Awards from the Ontario Association of Art Galleries in 2017 and 2018 respectively.