As part of the Alumni Blog series, I caught up with Frédérik Lesage to find out, among other things, what he is currently working on, what skills, networks, and experiences he found most useful in progressing his career as an academic and to ask what advice he would give to students and graduates looking to go into lecturing or other academic roles.
Frédérik Lesage is an expert in digital creativity and communication. His research specializes in the intersection between digital culture and theories of cultural production. Fred undertook CMCI’s MA degree in Cultural and Creative Industries between 2004 and 2005.
His MA Dissertation was titled ‘Learning the Business: A study of business knowledge transfer within the Clore Leadership Programme’ and was inspired by his administrative internship in the Clore leadership program. In 2009 Fred completed his Ph.D. at London School of Economics and Political Science. His thesis explored how artists collectively organize with the help of digital media infrastructures as part of their creative practices. Fred returned to the Department for Culture, Media and Creative Industries as a joint lecturer in Culture and Creative Industries and Digital Humanities in 2010. Over the course of the last nine years, he has been teaching and researching at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Now an Associate Professor in the School of Communication, he is also currently the School’s Undergraduate Chair. Recent papers include:
Rethinking the distinctions between old and new media: Introduction
Expectation and anticipation: research assemblages for elections
Name something exciting that you are currently working on, and that has been informed by your degree studies.
CMCI introduced me to British Cultural Studies and the amazing research that it inspired. My own work still draws in some ways from this tradition. At the moment, I’m completing fieldwork on cultures of production and the mediatization of skill; how our contemporary understanding of skill is collectively shaped by assemblages of people, technologies, and texts. Keep your eye out for publications coming out soon!
If you could do the course all over again, would you do anything differently? And if so, why
The program has changed considerably since I was a student in CMCI! I had a quick look at the syllabus online and there are so many new optional modules that look very enticing. I’m not sure I would necessarily do anything differently from when I was there… except maybe sit in on more lectures.
What skills, networks, and experiences did you find most useful in progressing your career as an academic? And what advice would you give to students and graduates looking to go into lecturing, among other academic roles?
Academia in the UK and across the world is currently undergoing a lot of significant transformations. Some of these changes are for the better, many others not so much. My best advice for anyone hoping to work in academia is to find mentors who have your best interest at heart and who can help guide you through the complexities of academic institutions. I would also warn anyone interested in academia that it can be an insular world. Making time to maintain relationships with people outside that world, and to do things that aren’t career-related, will help you keep some perspective.
Were there any academics that had a strong influence on you during your time in the CMCI department? Why?
Everyone who taught me during my time as an MA student at CMCI had a massively positive influence on me. I also really enjoyed working with CMCI faculty during my time there. One of the things I remember most fondly was the collegiality of faculty and the openness I was afforded to experiment with curriculum.