Born in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, I lived most of my adolescent life in Welland, Ontario, a post-industrial, working-class city now peppered with rusted industrial lots once booming with the pulse of steel, carbon, hemp, and pipe manufacture. The city, famous for its canal, a man-made water structure that not only splits the city in two but links the great lakes Erie and Ontario, has also been known to host a number of notable events including annual regatta meets. The 2015 Pan-Am Games chose Welland’s Flatwater Centre as the location for their rowing events. Neat!
At eighteen, I left for Hamilton, Ontario to pursue a music degree at McMaster University. There, I studied theory, analysis, and composition. I also played bass in a jazz duet. I minored in political science and philosophy (a fledgling first attempt at understanding the rapid transition from the pre-Internet cold war days to the new networked, neoliberal world order). It was here that I realized a career in music performance was no longer desirable. I decided to break from academe for a few years and worked for McMaster’s physical plant. It was my first experience as a unionized worker, but not in a precarious working environment.
Media and Libraries
In 2007, I decided to return to university and enrolled in the graduate program of library and information science at the University of Western Ontario (now Western University), in London, Ontario. Much of the program’s appeal came from its place as one of several programs in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies, perhaps the most radical and socially-conscious faculty in an otherwise conservative university. I had the pleasure of being in the company of some of the finest Canadian minds in not only librarianship, but political economy, global international relations, critical theory and Marxism, and other areas. This environment situated the role of information professionals largely in the context of politics, technology, economy, and culture than business or other departments, making it far more interesting an experience.
Having graduated in 2009, I remained in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies from 2010-2012 to pursue a second graduate degree in Media Studies where I began studying the political economy of communication; particularly, the commodification of social media user data in online environments. I was honored to have Nick Dyer-Witheford, Ajit Pyati, and Samuel E. Trosow on my thesis committee.
Ph.Ds and Prospects
After a brief period as a PhD student at York University in 2012, in the Communication and Culture program, where I was to continue my research on new media capitalist production, I decided to step down and render my seat free to someone more prepared than me. Though I regret the sudden shift in career direction, it was for the best because it led to a fruitful four-year tenure as Library Services Manager at the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto) and other professional development opportunities.
Currently, I am the Information Services Manager at Robarts Library, University of Toronto Libraries.