October 24-26, 2007
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Speakers: Biography

Speaker: Liss Jeffrey


Liss Jeffrey

eCommons/agora; McLuhan global research network; byDesign eLab
McLuhan global research network
386 Huron Street
Toronto ON
M5S 2G6 Canada

Liss Jeffrey, is an independent professor, producer, researcher, and speaker. She holds degrees from Harvard/Radcliffe (AB, magna cum laude, Social Relations), York (M.E.S. Environmental Studies, Communications Media Analysis), and McGill (Ph.D. Communications) and has taught graduate seminars at the University of Toronto’s McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology, including her New Media and Policy seminar "Canada in Global Context."

A former TV producer at Citytv, and expert on Marshall McLuhan, Liss co-curated the show Watching TV at the Royal Ontario Museum while serving as director of the MZTV Museum of Television.

With her colleagues, she has been engaged since 1997 in creating a not for profit panCanadian community learning network, called the Electronic Commons / Agora Electronique The digital eCommons/agora originated during the 1997-8 Visionary Speaker series Canada byDesign: Building a knowledge nation using new media and policy, hosted at the University of Toronto in association with the McLuhan Program, KMDI, and others, and produced by the eLab in conjunction with Dr Jeffrey’s graduate seminar in New media and policy. The eCommons/agora tests the value of new and old media in bridging digital divides, and advancing community development, civic participation and cultural content creation. The 2006-7 eCommons/agora project is the open source citizen journalism platform, (http://www.netizen-news.ca).

In 2001, the Council of Europe published the book that she edited and contributed to while serving as a Canadian expert on cultural policies for the new century: Vital Links for a Knowledge Culture: Public access to new information and communication technologies. She publishes in popular and academic formats.

She has put her ideas into practice in numerous projects using a tactic of ‘participant design’, with her associates at the byDesign eLab, eCommons/agora, and McLuhan global research network, Dr Jeffrey researches and co-designs multimedia platforms, channels, and organizational flows to support citizen engagement in democratic governance online and offline. She has extensive experience in producing, and researching citizen engagement in Canadian democratic life, and has worked since the mid 1990s on developing strategies and experiments to encourage e-dialogue as a necessary step to a more inclusive democracy. In 1998, she directed ( with the eLab and the McLuhan Program) the first online public consultation to form part of the official Canadian federal public record, the New Media Forum/ Forum Nouveau Media, on behalf of the CRTC. (Archive is available http://www.newmedia-forum.net.)

In 2003, with the Canadian Centre for Foreign Policy Development (CCFPD) and its director Steve Lee, Jeffrey and the byDesign eLab led a civil society consortium that built the platform and moderated and hosted the online track for the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade’s eDialogue with citizens on directions for Canada's foreign policy. The Foreign Policy eDialogue won Canada's best of content category for e-government in the national phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) awards, in Geneva in December, 2003. Dr Jeffrey was selected as a civil society member of the Canadian delegation. With her colleagues she also presented the e-dialogue project at the WSIS 1 Canadian Pavilion. (Archive http://www.foreign-policy-dialogue.ca)

Liss will present Darkness Visible, Walking Through Walls: Towards a collaborative, cross-institutional strategy for public participation in arts and heritage across the creative city. [Interaction]