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Each year the GEM Lab organizes several research initiatives, including the annual Seminar in Media and Political Theorythe Works-in-Progress series, and Cinema in the Midst of Struggle, as well as sponsored working groups led by affiliated graduate students, fellows, and faculty.


Proposals for GEM sponsored working groups are to be submitted at the GEM Planning Meeting (held each winter term). Details about submissions and sponsorship can be found here

 current research 

The following pages detail past research activities taken on by the lab and related lab members and research groups.

 annual research groups 

The following groups run annual programs each year around their central theme, with a rotating committee of new organizers from the graduate film studies community each year,

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The workshop is meant to showcase new and developing projects by the Fine Arts graduate community (and beyond), creating a space for interdisciplinary critique and feedback. Encouraging the engagement of workshop participants, the emphasis will be on research methodologies and future directions. We aim to create a space for alternative methodologies and practices, investigating research trends in the humanities such as visual anthropology, digital ethnography, field recording and sound experiments, approaches to information technologies, and other on the ground research practices. Workshops will be structured according to the necessities of the project. Workshop leaders will be invited to pre-circulate reading materials and introduce multimedia aspects of their projects to accompany their presentations. However, other forms of workshop organization are welcome in order to fulfill the mandate of in-progress, emergent research.

 cinema in the midst of struggle 

Cinema in the Midst of Struggle is an annual screening series programmed by the GEM Lab. 


This student-led initiative focuses on alternative media and political cinema, organizes workshops and master classes, and curates screenings in conversation with the annual Lab themes. Inaugrated in 2017, the Cinema in the Midst of Struggle has also partnered with several Concordia and community based projects, including Archives of AnticolonialismAlternative Media Cultures, and the Political Imaginary of waiting.

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 digital ethnography workshop  

The Digital Ethnography Workshop is a collaborative research group involving graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty. Researchers will develop media ethnographic projects related to LAB themes or individual research, participate in readings groups, screenings, and crit-style discussions, and engage with visiting scholars, practitioners, and the community.


Inspired by innovative research/practice clusters like Media Fields, Sarai, and the Sensory Ethnography Lab - the workshop employs digital media technologies to do media studies. This includes on/offline research documentation, photo and video essays, community collaborations, digitization and curation projects, among other forms of experimental research and research creation.


Research participants have access to LAB equipment, including: a range of still/video cameras and sound recorders; postproduction equipment; digitization hub and film scanner; video monitoring stations; screening facilities, among other tools.

 past research 

The following pages detail past research activities taken on by the lab and related lab members and research groups.

 annual seminars 

The Seminar in Media and Political Theory is an annual research workshop organized by the Global Emergent Media (GEM) Lab. Each seminar brings together an interdisciplinary group of graduate students, fellows, and faculty to examine key themes at the intersections of media and political theory. The seminar includes a yearlong reading group, lecture and screening series, and culminates with an international workshop each April.

The individual annual seminar pages detail various research activities that took place that year including the main seminar itself, related research groups and other events.

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 porn studies  

The porn studies reading group is composed of a diverse group of researchers who meet in order to exchange their passion, research and knowledge on the field of porn studies. Inspired by the genre's visual histories, its perennial marginal status within academia, as well as its evident centrality in current political, technological and material discourses, the group aims to build upon the porn studies curriculum and community already in place in Montréal. So far, the questions that the group has examined through discussions and screenings have been directed at recent theoretical interest on pornographic affect, labor, spectatorship and representation, as well as the genre's relationship to the rhetoric of pathology and panic. 

 politics of alternative media 

Politics of Alternative Media (PAM) is a year-long project conceived as a series of workshops, screenings, and lectures organized by a collective of researchers, artists, and curators gathered around la lumière collective, Concordia University’s Global Emergent Media Lab, and Feminist Media Studio


It aims to foster the exchange of ideas about grassroots, non-commercial and emancipatory practices using media as instruments of mobilization, empowerment, and community building. As an effort to counter the intensified reconfigurations of media landscape according to neoliberal logics, the project advocates forms of media cultures accessible to everyone and simultaneously invests in reimagining alternative media formations. PAM is coordinated by Giuseppe Fidotta, Sima Kokotovic, and Sanaz Sohrabi.

 digitization and film scanning  

One of the mandates of GEM Lab is to generate a digital archive of film and media content whose preservation is in danger due to infrastructural challenges, changing technologies, or the medium's own fragile nature. The Lab aims to digitize and document independent, underground,  ethnographic, educational, and industrial films, as well as disposable and pirate media, among various other formats.

GEM Lab is equipped with a Blackmagic Design Cintel Film Scanner in order to scan 16mm and 35mm films (8mm not supported). The Lab also has a viewing and recording station equipped with a Blackmagic Intensity Shuttle Thunderbolt which allows to screen and digitize Blu-Ray, DVD, VHS, and Broadcast Television.

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