Digital media is an enormously important part of Canada’s recent history and culture. Since the early wave of electronic discovery in the 1960s, the global digital revolution has been marked by the pioneering achievements of Canadian artists, scientists and visionaries who seized the potential of emerging technologies.
In the pre-digital era, Canadians led breakthrough work in film, television, and radio, pursuing them as art forms in their own right. Canadians were among the first to recognize their impact and value – Canadian scholars led the study of media’s influence on society and culture. Canada also continues a proud history of mixing pure research and technological innovation with artistic production. Beginning in the mid–1960s, researchers at the National Research Council (NRC) and animators at the National Film Board (NFB) investigated the use of computers in animated filmmaking and music. This early collaboration proved extremely important in the field of human-computer interaction.
Early luminaries who prefigured the digital era include NFB founder John Grierson, inventor of the documentary film, and perhaps the single most important figure in the development of the modern Canadian information film; University of Toronto professor Marshall McLuhan, who founded modern communication theory to study and evaluate the rapid social and cultural changes brought on by new forms of media at the razor’s edge of the digital revolution; and novelist William Gibson, whose prescient cyberpunk science fiction introduced readers to cyberspace, virtual reality and other concepts well before their ubiquity in the wired world.
The legacy of these and other pioneers is apparent today. Digital media has transformed creative practices, business models, cultural industries and everyday life. Through their early work, Canada’s Digital Media Pioneers have helped define contemporary digital culture.
Nominations & Selection Process
The annual Canadian Digital Media Pioneer Awards honour one or more outstanding Canadians who have made significant and pioneering contributions to the advancement of digital media. Launched by the GRAND NCE in 2011, the awards recognize the extraordinary achievements of artists, scholars, researchers, designers, engineers, entrepreneurs, and others.
Eligible nominees must meet the following requirements
- Nominees must have been Canadian citizens or permanent residents for some portion of the period during which they made significant contribution(s) to the advancement of digital media
- Nominees may come from the public or private sector, including but not limited to academia, industry, government, and independent artists, designers, and practitioners
All nominations must include the following:
- Nominee’s full name
- A brief summary (~500 words) of the contributions and impact made by the nominee
- Contact information for the nominator
[Contact Email to be added]
The nominating committee may request additional information about nominees that meet the criteria for an award.
Nominations will remain in consideration for two years from the date of receipt. They may be updated with additional information on an annual basis.