We would like to take this opportunity to welcome Dr. Sara Grimes, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Information, Director of Semaphore Lab, and Fellow in Book and Media Studies at St. Michael’s College, as the new Director of the Knowledge Media Design Institute (KMDI) – Semaphore. KMDI and Semaphore are currently amalgamating to produce a broader spectrum of research.
Professor Grimes explains, “Historically, the KMDI and the Semaphore Lab have shared many of the same fundamental concerns, ethics, and approaches. But they also have complementary strengths and weaknesses. On the one hand, Semaphore contains world-class equipment and spaces. It is home to cutting edge, issue-oriented research produced out of several remarkably effective collaborations with private and public sector partners. On the other hand, the KMDI has institutional reach, and an established record of real, genuine interdisciplinarity. It is based on an epistemologically flexible and methodologically inclusive framework that lends itself particularly well to tackling new ideas and developments, and to forming research partnerships that seek to address emerging questions about our ever-evolving relationship with technology, media, and design. In joining KMDI and Semaphore together, my aim is to create an institute that provides the necessary resources to involve faculty, students, and other members to carry out research, engage in public discussion, and attract outside partners—from other disciplines, but also from public and private sectors. This new KMDI/Semaphore Institute will retain the flexibility and reach that the KMDI has traditionally enjoyed as a virtual institute, while providing the “actual stuff” required to do research, design, and collaboration.”
Professor Grimes’s work is centered in the areas of children’s digital media culture(s), play studies and critical theories of technology, with a special focus on digital games. Her published work explores the commercialization of children’s virtual worlds, the articulation of a critical theory of digital game play, discussions of intellectual property and fair dealing in digital game environments, as well as the legal and ethical dimensions of marketing to children online. She is Principal Investigator of the Kids DIY Media Partnership, a cross-sector, interdisciplinary research collaboration aimed at supporting children’s cultural participation through the creation and sharing of digital media.