News and events

  • Work Experience Course – Check out this opportunity!

    Co-op is offering a Work Experience Course for this coming Spring/Summer 2023 Term.

    Applications are now open! Media and Communication Studies, Business Communication, Popular Culture and Film students – this is open to all of you!

    Interested in learning more? Register for the next information session:

    Friday Nov. 18 from 10am to 11am –

    Categories: News

  • CPCF mourns the loss of Professor Emeritus William “Bill” Hull

    The Department of Communication, Popular Culture and Film mourns the death of Professor Emeritus William “Bill” Henry Nelles Hull, who passed away Wednesday, Nov. 2 at the age of 93.  

    In the early 1980s, Hull was one of the founders of the Interdisciplinary Program in Communication Studies from which the Department of Communication, Popular Culture and Film (CPCF) evolved following a merger with Film Studies more than two decades ago.

    Hull retired from Brock’s Department of Politics, as it was then known, in 1995. He was a major scholar in Canadian and Comparative media policy, especially in the area that used to be known as “broadcasting policy.”

    To learn more about Bill Hull and his impact on Brock University, please read The Brock News article.

    His funeral will take place on Thursday, Nov. 10 at 11 a.m. in St George’s Anglican Church in St Catharines. Reception to follow.

    Categories: News

  • Communication grads credit experiential learning for quick career success

    Ben Skippen (BA ’20) is one of several graduates from Brock’s Department of Communication, Popular Culture and Film (CPCF) translating theory and skills training from their degrees into growing careers.

    The Media and Communication Studies alumnus returned to campus for Wednesday’s legacy Convocation ceremony, travelling from Ottawa, where he began working shortly after graduation.

    A woman in a blue robe sits in front of a blue background holding red flowers.

    Media and Communication graduate Kristal Lee (BA ’22)

    Skippen landed full-time work as an army public affairs officer, first at the Royal Canadian Navy Headquarters and presently on the Military Personnel Command public affairs team at the National Defence Headquarters.

    “My degree was useful and relevant to the work I do,” Skippen says. “Homework examples like creating a communications plan, social media, news articles and presentations are all skills I use on the job.”

    He isn’t alone in crediting the experiential side of his education with his career success.

    Media and Communication grad Kristal Lee (BA ’22) now works in Hong Kong as a Digital Content Executive managing search-engine optimization, content creation and performance assessment of different platforms to assist her marketing team.

    “I think the best course and the course I have gained the most from is COMM 4F00, which gave me a chance to gain experiences before graduation,” says Lee. “This was a very precious opportunity for me to get what I wanted to learn and try to put the knowledge to work.”

    A woman in a white shirt stands in front of a grey background.

    Business Communication graduate Claire Terrio (BA ’21)

    Claire Terrio (BA ’21) majored in Business Communication and converted her CPCF internship at Framar in Niagara Falls into a job as a Social Media Specialist for the company, marketing to 1.1 million followers across platforms through creative content creation. She says she learned how to integrate marketing in CPCF.

    “Having a marketing mindset when approaching every task I’m assigned at work has helped me immensely to think strategically with the brand’s identity, positioning and goals in mind,” says Terrio, who is now pursuing a master’s degree in Professional Communication at Toronto Metropolitan University. “This marketing background has given me an edge and made my transition from working on assignments to working on real marketing campaigns fairly seamless, which I am grateful for.”

    Donnicia Ellis-Dawson (BA ’21), who majored in Business Communication and minored in Tourism, says she didn’t know how well her degree had prepared her until she was on the job.

    “What I loved about the Business Communication program is that it’s so broad, you have the chance to study multiple different career paths like marketing, human resources and event planning all within your four years,” says Ellis-Dawson, who now works as an assistant in the unscripted content department at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). “Not only that, but Media Communications overlaps with the program, allowing you to learn about journalism, public relations and more.”

    A woman in a beige blazer and black shirt stands in front of a beige background.

    Business Communication graduate Donnicia Ellis-Dawson (BA ’21)

    Adjunct Professor Kate Cassidy has helmed the CPCF internship course, COMM/FILM/PCUL 4F00, for the past six years. She says that a greater need for communication professionals has given Brock CPCF grads a chance to shine in the job market.

    Indeed, this year, many were hired even before graduating.

    “During the pandemic, the shift to remote work and digital channels significantly increased the need for tech-savvy employees with strong communication skills,” says Cassidy. “Graduates with expertise in business communications, media and film are in high demand.”

    She also believes the networking, professional skill-building and reflective practice connected to experiential learning helps students stand out to potential employers.

    “As hiring has gotten more competitive recently, I have had employers reach out to me to help them get in touch with my CPCF students,” says Cassidy. “They’re seeking out grads who have communication skills along with workplace experience.”

    Categories: News

  • Looking for a Winter Term course? Check these 2 out!

    With so many courses to choose from, you may have missed these FILM course options:

    FILM 3R90: Sound & Vision: the Rockumentary
    This course focuses on a single genre that has been a mainstay of documentary filmmaking for nearly 60 years now: the “Rockumentary.” The genre’s nickname is in many ways a misnomer, one based on the fact that “rock” rhymes better with “doc,” than, say, jazz, folk, or soul, or any one of a number of other musical genres that have been the subject of the popular music documentary since its inception around 1960. 

    In this course, we’ll be studying films that concern themselves with a wide variety of musical genres, from jazz, to folk, to soul, to rock, to punk, post-punk, heavy metal, hip-hop, R & B, and beyond. And the rockumentary has not only addressed and represented a great variety of musical styles and cultures — at its best, it has also been a highly creative and dynamic documentary genre, one that has frequently been on the cutting edge of documentary representation. It’s also been ambitious, tackling all kinds of timely issues: counterculture, sexuality, race, gender, the generation gap, subculture, moral panics, drugs, class warfare, taste, digital culture, etc. This course has it all.

    In short:
    Are you a fan of FILM?
    Are you a fan of MUSIC?
    Are you a fan of POP CULTURE?

    This may very well be the course for you!

    Offered: January 09, 2023 to April 7, 2023
    Format: Lectures, seminar, screening, 5 hours per week
    Prerequisites: Prerequisite(s): FILM 1F94 and one of FILM 2P20, 2P54, PCUL 2P70
    Crosslisting: also offered as COMM 3R90 and PCUL 3R90
    Notes: this course may be offered in multiple modes of delivery. The method of delivery will be listed on the academic timetable, in the applicable term.


    FILM 4P28: Special Topics in Video Production
    Theory, practice and technique of filmmaking, focusing on idea development, creative process and methods of production.
    January 09, 2023 to April 7, 2023
    Format: Workshop, seminar, 3 hours per week; additional production time as required.
    Restrictions: permission of the Department.
    Prerequisites: Prerequisite(s): three FILM credits.
    Crosslisting: also offered as COMM 4P28
    Notes: Consult the Department regarding permission to register. Enrolment limited to 15 students. Material fee required. This course may be offered in multiple modes of delivery. The method of delivery will be listed on the academic timetable, in the applicable term.

    Categories: News

  • 2022 Grant Dobson Case Competition – Open!

    Winners of this competition are recognized by fellow students and industry professionals as possessing superior creativity, and demonstrating excellent presentation skills.

    Start putting your teams together!

    To learn more click here.

    Categories: Events

  • Oct. 22 – Essential Cinema Series at The Film House

    NEW this year!

    Presented by The Film House in collaboration with the Brock University Communication, Popular Culture, and Film Student Society (CPCFSS), Essential Cinema brings student-lead programming to the Niagara Region. The Essential Cinema program has allowed Brock University students the opportunity to compile their list of must-see movies. These are films that fall across many genres, time periods, and cultures, but have one thing in common — they should be seen at least once in our lives. Every month, two films from this curated list will be screened at The Film House in downtown St. Catharines, and will be preceded with a short presentation by the student programmers.

    October features:
    An American Werewolf in London
    Sat., Oct. 22, 2022 6:00 p.m

    Sat., Oct. 22, 2022 9:00 p.m.

    Categories: Events

  • Film students zoom in on festivals for experiential education project

    Fresh off the media circus of Venice and the Oscar buzz of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), a group of third-year Brock film students is about to get elbow-deep in the film festival landscape.

    The students in Assistant Professor Jon Petrychyn’s Issues in Canadian Cinema course this semester will not only learn about the rich history of Canadian film festivals but also pitch their own festival and complete a mock grant application for funding using the expert advice of industry professionals.

    A raft of 10 guest speakers from festivals and funding bodies will provide insight into the triumphs, challenges and inner workings of the film festival landscape from Vancouver to St. John’s — knowledge that will inform students’ projects in the course as well as their future forays into the industry.

    Petrychyn is a film festival researcher and organizer who is currently in the throes of a research project on queer, feminist and antiracist film festivals in Canada in the 1980s and ’90s that aims to “trace the history and relationship between activist movements and broader changes in the media arts sector.”

    He believes the experiential components of the course will help bring both the history and the current scene to life.

    “We talk a lot about how festivals get organized, how they get funded and how these activist groups intersect with each other, too,” he says. “I think it’s easy for us to see that there are identity-based media arts organizations and identity-based activist groups and not think about how they overlap, so we look at that specifically through festivals as a lens.”

    Fourth-year Film major Arielle Hounsham-Lalande, who is also completing an internship placement through the Department of Communication, Popular Culture and Film in the Film Programming office of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, says she feels like the course was “made for” her.

    “This course is specifically about Canadian film festivals, which some may say seems very niche,” says Hounsham-Lalande. “But there’s actually a wealth of knowledge you can get specifically from that, because Canada has some of the oldest film festivals in North America.”

    She adds that hearing from guests is one of her favourite aspects of the class.

    “Not only is it networking and experience with Q&A, but we’re also learning so much from industry professionals and getting different perspectives, depending on the size and the location of their festival,” she says. “Doing it on Microsoft Teams is excellent because it allows people from all over to come and speak to us.”

    Petrychyn says the skills students will build in preparing their assignments will carry forward, whether they are interested in working with festivals or not.

    “These are very transferable skills — learning how to collaborate, learning how to pitch an idea or a project,” says Petrychyn. “There are opportunities here for students to learn and hone different skills, different types of writing and different types of collaboration.”

    As the current President of the student-run CPCF Society, which organizes professional, cultural and social events for students in the department, Hounsham-Lalande can already see how she might draw on this experience now and in her future.

    “The pitch is encouraging you creatively, and then it pairs with the mock grant application, which really drives home the idea that almost everything in the arts in Canada specifically is government-funded to a certain extent,” she says. “It lets people know what funding is out there, the process to get it and the skills that you need — and you can take those skills with you wherever you go.”

  • August 24 – 27: Mighty Niagara Film Festival

    The 2022 edition of the Mighty Niagara Film Festival (MNFF) is upon us, and this year one of the featured artists and honoured guests will be St. Catharines’ own Richard Kerr, a filmmaker and installation artist who first studied filmmaking at Sheridan College in the 1970s, and whose filmography dates back to 1976.

    Kerr began as a documentary filmmaker working in the observational style, but over time his work became more narrative-based, and eventually highly experimental – quite literally so: many of Kerr’s projects involve experiments with the materiality of film’s technologies.

    Kerr’s The Demi-Monde is a media installation that will screen nightly during the duration of the MNFF, August 24-27, beginning at sunset at the old Towne Cinema in downtown St. Catharines (280 St. Paul Street).

    This will be followed by two screenings of Kerr’s work – one focusing on early works like Canal (1981) – which deals with Kerr’s memories of his childhood along the Welland Canal – and one focusing on Kerr’s most recent film, Field Trip (2022).

    Part One of this retrospective will take place Friday the 26th of August at the RiverBrink Art Museum (116 Queenston St, Queenston, ON L0S 1L0), beginning at 7:00 pm.

    Part Two of this retrospective will take place Saturday the 27th of August at the Film House (250 St Paul St, St. Catharines, ON L2R 3M2) at 4:00 pm, with a Q & A hosted by Anthony Kinik, Associate Professor, Film Studies to follow at Mahtay Café, across the street, immediately following the screening.

    Categories: Events

  • August 16: Author Talk with Emily West

    Author Talk – Emily West

    Tuesday, August 16
    2:00pm – 3:00pm

    Join us as we welcome Emily West to discuss her book, Buy Now: How Amazon Branded Convenience and Normalized Monopoly.

    Dr. Emily West is Associate Professor of Communication at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research on digital platforms, consumer culture, and media appear in multiple academic journals and books, and she is co-editor of The Routledge Companion to Advertising and Promotional Culture (2013). After growing up in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Emily West attended McMaster University and earned her PhD at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.

    Signed copies will be available for $30 cash.

    To learn more and register click here.

    Categories: Events

  • Canada Games Research Spotlight: Duncan Koerber

    Assistant Professor of Communication, Popular Culture and Film Duncan Koerber’s research focuses on the teaching of writing skills and the theory of crisis communication. In crisis communication, he is particularly interested in understanding why public crises develop in social media, and why social media crises have become so common and so damaging to organizations’ images and people’s careers. He also studies media and journalism history.

    Koerber is one of 11 Brock researchers and scholars who received funding under the 2020-21 round of the VPR Canada Games Grant program. Here, he discusses his research project titled “Social Media and Large Sporting Events: Social Media Crisis Monitoring of the Niagara 2022 Canada Games.”

    Please give a brief overview of your research project

    This project is about how crises during large sporting events are sparked or amplified by social media users on Twitter. I’m also interested in researching best practices for dealing with crises that occur on social media.

    Part One of the project, now completed, saw a Brock student produce a literature review report of previous studies on the use of social media during large sporting events. Part Two of the project will see a Brock student use public relations industry software to monitor Canada Games-related Twitter posts during the event in August. What’s uncertain is that we obviously don’t know if a social media crisis will occur during the Canada Games. But we’ll be ready, capturing all the Games-related tweets. If a crisis happens, we can use the tweets as our primary source material for analysis on many different levels.

    What do you expect will be the outcome of your research?

    This project will generate new research on social media content during one large sporting event. As well, Part One of the project, the literature review, found that very little research has been done in this specific area. Instead, researchers in different fields have been studying slightly different topics. I hope this study will bring together these streams of research and push them forward in a new direction. With the Canada Games as a central case study, the project will offer insights into social media, crisis communication and large sporting events.

    How will this contribute to knowledge, or understanding, of the Canada Summer Games? 

    This project is a case study of one Canada Games, which will provide analysis and advice for social media managers of future Canada Games. But it will also link this major Canadian sporting event to others like the FIFA World Cup and Olympic Games. Researchers and practitioners studying those events will be able to build on the analysis and advice from the Canada Games.

    How did you become interested in this research?

    For the past three years, I’ve been working on a book about social media and crisis communication. The study of social media in crisis situations is a relatively new research area. Even less research has been done on sports and social media crisis. I’m a big sports fan too, so this project brings these interests together.

    How do you plan on sharing your research? 

    The research will be disseminated in a journal article, likely in the area of communication studies or public relations.

    Categories: News