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Speaker Series

The William A. Kern Speaker Series brings innovative thinkers to the RIT campus to share interdisciplinary insights into contemporary issues of communication, media, and visual culture.

Upcoming Speakers


Rose Bishop

Assistant Archivist, Richard Avedon Foundation
Girl in Action: Junior Bazaar, 1945-1948

Past Speakers and Events include:

Will Straw

 James McGill Professor of Urban Media Studies, McGill University
The Music Scene as Cinematic Figure
(part of the Visual Arts, Culture, and Media Lecture Series, co-sponsored by the School of Individualized Study)
Thursday January 30, 2020 | 12:30 | University Gallery

Michael Leja

James and Nan Wagner Farquhar Professor of History of Art, Chair, History of Art Department, University of Pennsylvania
Photographic Fusions and the Mass Marketing of Photography:  The Langenheim Brothers at Niagara Falls
(co-sponsored with the Visual Arts, Culture, and Media Lecture Series, College of Liberal Arts)
Thursday October 17, 2019 | 12:30 | Carlson 1155

Vanessa Schwartz

Professor of History, Art History and Film; Director, Visual Studies Research Institute at the University of Southern California
The News in Black and White…and Color: The Jet Age and Photojournalism
(co-sponsored with the Visual Arts, Culture, and Media Lecture Series, the School of Communication, and the College of Photographic Arts and Sciences)
Monday September 23, 2019 | 3.00 | McKenzie Commons, Liberal Arts Building

Guy Mastrion

F. William Harder Chair in Business Administration, Skidmore College
Thursday April 11, 2019 | 5:00 | 2372 Eastman

Rachel Andrews

Assistant Collection Manager, Department of Photography, George Eastman Museum
Thursday, March 28, 2019 | 5:00 | 3355 Eastman

Roberta Mather

Marketing Director, U.S. Department of State
Preparing Presentations for Deaf, Hard-of-hearing, and Hearing speakers and Audiences: How we can be better
Friday, March 1, 2019 | 3:00 - 3:50 | Bamboo Room (2650)
(Organized by National Technical Institute for the Deaf and School of Communication)


Keon Pettiway

Researcher, Department of  Communication, North Carolina State University


Vicki Gallagher

Professor, Department of Communication, North Carolina State University

The vMLK Project: Crafting a Necessary (Digital) Space To Explore Rhetoric and Civic Transformation
(An Imagine RIT event, co-sponsored with the College of Liberal Arts, School of Communication, Magic Center, Gannett Endowment, Black Awareness Coordinating Committee, Center for Campus Life, College of Art and Design, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Inclusive Excellence, National Society of Black Engineers)
February 28, 2019 |1:00 - 2:30 | Wegman's Theatre, Magic Center

Marita Sturken

Professor of Media, Culture and Communication, New York University
Voids and Skysrapers: New Practices of Looking in Post 9/11 New York
Tuesday, December 4, 2018 | 3:30 | Carlson Auditorium

Whose Streets? Our Streets! Panel Discussion

(An RIT College of Liberal Arts Event)
Thursday, October 11, 2018 | 3:30 | Carlson Auditorium

Anna and Frederick Douglass’s Parking (Lots of Love)

(An Imagine RIT event, co-sponsored with the College of Liberal Arts, Department of History,
Digital Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Communication, School of Individualized Study,
the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences,
the Division of Diversity and Inclusion, and MAGIC Spell Studios)
Saturday, April 28 | RIT Campus

Penny M. Von Eschen

L. Sanford and Jo Mills Reis Professor of Humanities, Cornell University
Mischeivous Objects: Cold War Nostalgia and the Afterlives of Mid-century Design
(part of the William A. Kern Conference in Visual Communication)
Friday, April 27, 2018 | 1:45 | Strathallan Hotel, 550 East Avenue, Rochester

Kyle Psaty

Product Marketing Manager, Brand Networks
Thursday, March 29, 2018 | 5:30 pm | 2149 Gleason Hall

Brud Holland

Chef; Founder, Finger Lakes Made
Finger Lakes Culinary Bounty
Thursday, January 18, 2018 | 5:30 pm | 2149 Gleason Hall

Kin Sejpal

Assistant Vice-President, Marketing and Branding, Rochester Institute of Technology
Branding RIT
Thursday, January 18, 2018 | 6:30 pm | 2149 Gleason Hall

John Lucaites

Provost Professor of English, Indiana University
Seeing the Public Image Anew: Photography Exhibitions and Civic Spectatorship
Thursday, October 26, 2017 | 3:30 pm | 2650 Campus Center

R. Roger Remington

Vignelli Distinguished Professor of Design and Director of the Vignelli Center for Design Studies, RIT
Evaluating Visual Communication Design
Tuesday, October 17, 2017 | 3:30 pm | Xerox Auditorium, 2580 James Gleason Hall

Robert Hariman

Professor of Communication, Northwestern University
Photography, The Abundant Art
Tuesday, April 25, 2017 | 2:00 pm | 1829 Room SAU

Elisabetta Sanino D'Amanda

Coordinator, Italian Program, RIT
100 Years of African Italian Stories in Italian Cinema
(An RIT Office of Diversity and Exclusion Series)
Tuesday, February 28, 2017 - Friday March 17, 2017

Kate Myers Emery

Manager, Digital Engagement, George Eastman Museum
Not Everything to Everyone: Observations from Creating A Social Media Brand
Thursday, February 16, 2017 | 9:30 am | Orange Hall (13) 1355

Melissa Gregg

Principal Engineer, Intel Corporation
The Cinematic Origins of Self-Management
(part of the Kern Conference in Visual Communication)
Thursday April 14, 2016 | 2:00 pm | Strathallan Hotel

Richard Popp
Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Picturing the Postcapitalist Corporation: The Conglomerate in American Culture, 1945-1980
Wednesday April 20, 2016 | 5:00 pm | Bamboo Room, Campus Life Center

Claudia Pretelin

Doctoral Researcher, National Autonomous University of Mexico
Researching Kodak: A Case Study
Wednesday April 6, 2016  | 5:00 pm  | Eastman 3338

Mike Bonanno

Co-Founder of the Yes Men
(A Charles Arnold Lecture -  Organized by the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences)
Thursday March 17, 2016 | 6:30 pm | Carlson Auditorium

Carol Summerfield

Chief Strategy Officer, TeamWorks, Chicago
The Changing Landscape: How Museums Can Demonstrate Expertise in the Age of Google
Wednesday March 16, 2016 | 5:00 pm  | Bamboo Room, Campus Life Center

Ronald L. Jackson II

Professor of Communication, University of Cincinnati
Who Gets to Be Human? Widespread Campus Racism in 2016
(Co-sponsored with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the School of Communication)
Tuesday February 9, 2016 | 11:00 am | Golisano Auditorium

Giovanna Taviani

Film Director
Ritorni [film] and Discussion
(Part of the See-Cily Series, organized by the Modern Languages and Cultures Department)
Wednesday November 11, 2015  | 6:00 pm | Carlson Auditorium
Meredith Davenport

Assistant Professor, RIT College of Imaging Arts and Sciences
Hinda Mandell

Assistant Professor, RIT School of Communication
Kelly Norris Martin

Assistant Professor, RIT School of Communication
Interdisciplinary Looks at Troubling Images
(A College of LIberal Arts McKenzie Salon)
Wednesday September 30, 2015 | 4:00 pm | McKenzie Commons

Steven Overman

President, Consumer and Film Division, Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President, Eastman Kodak Company
The Picture Revolution
Thursday April 16th, 2015 | 3.30 | Eastman 2000

Ken Hicks

Managing Director, Hicks + Disanti, Chicago


Ben Disanti

Managing Partner for Planning Perspectives, Hicks + Disanti, Chicago
The Emotional Shopper
Tuesday April 14th, 2015 | 5:30 pm | 1829 Room, SAU

Gregg Lambert

Dean’s Professor of Humanities, Syracuse University
The Idea of the Image of Thought
(Co-sponsored with the Department of Philosophy)
Thursday, March 5, 2015  | 6:30 pm | Golisano 3435

Gordon Coonfield

Associate Professor of Communication & Director of Graduate Studies, Villanova University
Zombies and 'Us': Difference and the Logic of Representation in the Walking Dead
Thursday, November 13, 2014 | 5.00 pm | Carlson Auditorium

David Marshall

Professor of Marketing and Consumer Behavior, University of Edinburgh, UK
The Good Father: Advertising Discourse and Fatherhood in Good Housekeeping 1950-2010
(part of the School of Communication speaker series)
Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 11 a.m. – 12:15 pm | Golisano Hall (70) Room 1400

Barbara Phillips

Rawlco Scholar in Advertising and Professor of Marketing, University of Saskatchewan, Canada
Tertium Quid: Explorations in Visual Brand Identity
Thursday October, 23, 2014 | 11.00 am | 1829 Room, SAU

Lisa Hostetler

Curator-in-Charge, Department of Photography, George Eastman House
The Photography Collection at George Eastman House: Past, Present, Future
Thursday October, 16, 2014 | 6.00 pm | Carlson Auditorium

Derek Conrad Murray

Associate Professor, History of Art and Visual Culture, University of California, Santa Cruz
The Self Reimagined: Identity, Social Media and the Politics of the Specular Image
(part of Kern Conference in Visual Communication)
Friday  April 25, 2014 | 1:15 pm| Strathallan Hotel Ballroom

Gloria Kim

Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow of Media, Hobart William & Smith Colleges
Future Tense: “Pathogenic Nation-Making” and Engineering the Imminent Threat of Avian Flu
Thursday, April 17, 2014 | 11:00 am | James E. Gleason Hall, Room 2159

Jonathan Bean

Assistant Professor of Markets, Innovation & Design, Bucknell University
Fairytale Brands
Thursday, February 20, 2014 |3:45 pm | Liberal Arts Hall, McKenzie Commons, Room 1251 (1st Floor Level)

Lewis Gordon

Professor of Philosophy and Africana Studies, University of Connecticut
Europhilosophy Visiting Professor at Toulouse University, France
and Nelson Mandela Visiting Professor at Rhodes University, South Africa
Living Thought, Living Freedom: Themes in Africana Philosophy
(Co-sponsored with the Department of Philosophy)
Wednesday November 13, 2013 | Eastman Building, Room 2000 | 4:00 pm

Margo Buchanan-Oliver

Professor of Marketing and Director of the Centre for Digital Enterprise,
University of Auckland Business School, New Zealand
Brand Pathologies: 'Monstrous' Consumer Relationships and the Media Brand Twilight
Thursday October 17, 2013 | Eastman Building, Room 3287 | 6:00 pm

Bruce Barnes

Director, George Eastman House
Eastman House -- Forward
Thursday September 19, 2013 | Carlson Auditorium | 6:00 pm

Ryan Looysen

Retail Leader & People Developer of Lush Sweden, Stockholm Sweden
The Social Media Paradox: Narrow, Deep, and Dangerous
Wednesday March 27, 2013 | Eastman Building, Room 3287 | 6:00 pm

John Tagg

Professor of Art History & Comparative Literature, Binghamton University
Discipline and Protest: Thinking Photography after Foucault
(Co-sponsored with the Eugene Fram Chair in Critical Thinking)
Thursday, January 31, 2013 | Carlson Auditorium | 6 pm

Minh-ha Pham

Assistant Professor, History of Art & Visual Studies Department and Asian American Studies Program, Cornell University
Personal Style Blogs and DIY Race: On Race, Aesthetics, and Capitalism
Wednesday, January 30, 2013 | Carlson Auditorium | 2:00 pm

Zeynep Arsel

Assistant Professor of Marketing, Concordia University, Canada
Taste Regimes and Market-Mediated Practice
(Co-sponsored with Saunders College of Business)
Thursday December 13, 2012 | Max Lowenthal Hall | 4 – 6 pm

Jonathan Clancy

Program Director, American Fine & Decorative Art, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, New York City
Crafting Modernism(s): American Studio Ceramics in the Post-War Period
(in conjunction with the Frans Wildenhain Exhibition)
Thursday September 13, 2012 | Carlson Auditorium | 4 – 6 pm

Donna DeCesare

Associate Professor, School of Journalism University of Texas at Austin
Communicating Crisis: Photojournalism's Crucible
(part of the Kern Conference on Visual Communication)
May 3, 2012 | 5:00 pm| Strathallan Hotel

Allison Sekuler

Associate Vice-President & Dean of Graduate Studies, and Canada Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience, McMaster University, Canada


Patrick J. Bennett

Professor, and Canada Research Chair in Vision Science, McMaster University, Canada
Aging, Vision and the Real World
(Co-sponsored with the Department of Psychology)
April 18. 2012 | Carlson Auditorium | 12 - 2

Detlev Zwick

Associate Professor of Marketing, Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto
Marketers as the new Communists: Socialized Marketing, Capitalist Commonism, and the Knowledge Consumer
April 17, 2012 | Golisano Hall, 70-1400 | 10 - 12

Sunny Tsai

Assistant Professor of Advertising, University of Miami School of Communication
Minority Consumers and the Political Ideologies of Targeted Advertising
March 29, 2012 | Webb Auditorium | 10 - 12

Markus Giesler

Associate Professor of Marketing, Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto
Doppelgänger Brand Images: How They Arise and Are Combated Over the Life of a Technology Brand
March 22, 2012 | Carlson Auditorium| 10 - 12

Jacqueline Botterill

Associate Professor, Department of Popular Culture, Communication and Film, Brock University, Canada
Property Porn: A Visual Analysis of Real-Estate Advertising
January 26, 2012 | Eastman Building, room 2000 | 10 - 12

Lilia Ziamou

Associate Professor of Marketing, Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College, City University of New York
Creating a Compelling Engagement Experience: Lessons from the Rubin Museum of Art
January 12, 2012 | Bamboo Room, 6 – 8 pm

Miko Dymek

Research Specialist, Jung Relations Communication Agency, Stockholm, and Postdoctoral Researcher, Uppsala University, Sweden
Simulational Media – A Meandering Journey Towards a Mass-Culture of Games
Thursday, December 1, 2011 | Carlson Auditorium, 7 -9 pm

Xin Zhao

Associate Professor, Shidler College of Business, University of Hawaii, Manoa
Brands and the Mythology of Nation-Building in Chinese Society
Monday, October 17, 2011 | Webb Auditorium | 12 – 2 pm

Ruth Bereson

Director, Arts Management Program, University at Buffalo
Unwrapping Christo: A City in Conversation with its Past and Present, Politicians, Artists, Academics, and a Local and International Audience
May, 5, 2011 | James E. Gleason Hall, Room 2139 | 12.00

Ashlee Humphreys

Assistant Professor, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University
From Conservation to Sustainability: The Discursive Life of Environmentalism
March 31, 2011 | Carlson Auditorium | 12.00