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Graduate Program in Communication & Culture

Faculty Profiles

Donald J. Gillies

Politics & Policy/ Media & Culture

University   Ryerson University, Emeritus
E-Mail Address
Phone Number   (416)960-8326
Office Location   334-40 Oaklands Avenue, Toronto ON M4V 2Z3 (Home)
Office Hours   By Appointment


MA (Economics), Edinburgh; MSc (History of Technology), London; DIC (History of Technology), Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine


Professor Gillies is Professor Emeritus of Media and Communications in the School of Image Arts, of which he was Chair, at Ryerson University. He is Adjunct Professor to the Joint York-Ryerson Graduate Program in Communication and Culture, of which he was the founding Associate Director. As Adjunct Professor he has continued to supervise ComCult students’ theses, master’s research papers, master’s projects, directed readings and directed research and to assess field placements.

He is a member of the Canadian National Organizing Committee for the Telecommunication Development Bureau of the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU), addressing, among other projects, Canada’s role in the ITU World Summit on the Information Society (2004-5) and the quadrennial World Telecommunication Development Conferences of the ITU. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology and the Media Literacy Advisory Committee of OISE, both at the University of Toronto. At Seneca Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning he serves on two Graduate Diploma Advisory Councils, as chair of Photographic Arts and a member of Corporate Communications. In 2004 he was a consultant jointly to the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Durham College in degree planning.

In addition to the research interests represented by these activities, he has recently reactivated his work in Scottish Celtic language and culture begun at the University of Edinburgh, continuing at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in the University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland, and at St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Canadian Celtic Arts Association and a Life Member of An Commun Gaidhealach (the Highland Society of Scotland). He is a member of the Canadian Communication Association, the Canadian Science and Technology Historical Association, the Media Ecology Association, the National Press Club of Canada, and the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto.

Research Interests

History of communications, especially telecommunications; the communications industry; communications policy, including international communications and development, particularly Canada's role; Marshall McLuhan and the Toronto School of Communication; media and education; Scottish Celtic culture.

Selected Publications

International Telecommunication Union World Telecommunication Development Conference, [Policy] Document 197(Rev. 1)-E, Resolution (WG-GI-1), Mainstreaming gender in ITU-D programmes, Istanbul, 25 March 2002; anonymous co-author as a member of the Canadian delegation drafting group.

Review of Rethinking the media audience: The new agenda, Pertii Alasuutari, editor, London: Sage, 1999, in Intermedia, 28, 2, 2000

"The Magical Multimedia Myth: Notes for a History of Media and Technology in Education and Training" (abstract) in Fred Percival, Ray Land and Denis Edgar-Nevill, editors, Aspects of Education and Training Technology, Volume XXVIII; Computer Assisted and Open Access Education, London: Kogan Page; East Brunswick, New Jersey: Nichols, 1995

"This Distinct Scotland", in M¨°d Ontario, Toronto: Gaelic Society of Canada, 1992

"Technological Determinism in Canadian Telecommunications: Telidon - Technology, Industry and Government", in Canadian Journal of Communication, 15, 2, 1990

"Winning in a World Economy: A Review of the Science Council of Canada's Study of University - Industry Interaction and Economic Renewal", in Industry and Higher Education, June, 1990

"Videotex - Interactivity is Flexibility: The Canadian Experience", in Fred Percival, David Craig and Dorothy Buglass, editors, Aspects of Educational Technology, Volume XX, London: Kogan Page; New York: Nichols, 1987

"CAL in Canada: Innovations and Their Sources in Teaching and Learning", in Computers in Education, 10, 1, 1986

"Videotex and Teletext: Teaching and Learning - An International Survey", in Proceedings of the Fourth Symposium, National Research Council of Canada Associate Committee on Instructional Technology, Ottawa: National Research Council, 1984

"Marshall McLuhan: A Memoir", in White Wall Review, 2, 3, 1982

"The Canadian Pacific Railway: Technology, Romance and Empire; A Case of Historiographic Inadequacy", in Descant, 10 Early Winter 1974



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Harold [Innis] taught us how to use the bias of culture and communication as an instrument of research. By directing attention to the bias, or distorting power of the dominant imagery and technology of any culture, he showed us how to understand cultures.
~ Marshall McLuhan