My name is Dr. Cheryl Thompson. I’m an Assistant Professor at Ryerson University in the School of Creative Industries. I am a full member of The Yeates School of Graduate Studies, and I’m affiliated with the Graduate Program in Communication & Culture, where I also earned my MA in 2007. My first book, Beauty in a Box: Detangling the Roots of Canada’s Black Beauty Culture, was published with Wilfrid Laurier Press in 2019. My next book, Uncle: Race, Nostalgia, and the Politics of Loyalty, will be published in 2020 with Coach House Books. Prior to joining Ryerson, I held a SSHRC-Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship (2016-18) at the University of Toronto in the Centre for Theatre, Drama and Performance Studies and the University of Toronto Mississauga and the Department of English and Drama working with Dr. Stephen Johnson. I have a PhD in Communication Studies from McGill University (2015). In addition to my academic work, I am a frequent contributor to Spacing, The Conversation, and Herizons Magazine. I’m currently working on a SSHRC-Insight Development Grant funded project, “Newspapers, Minstrelsy and Black Performance at the Theatre: Mapping the Spaces of Nation-Building in Toronto, 1870s to 1930s.”
I am so grateful for the journey I’ve been on to get here including all the people who have been my challenge, obstacle and critic - it is because of these people that I figured out who I am and I have never been more focused on the work that needs to be done to continue to advance the fields of Creative Industries and its connection to museums, art galleries, advertising studies, visual culture, and media studies as well as Black Canadian Studies, critical race and historical studies. As a kid who grew up in Scarborough, and who has had the opportunity to travel to new places and meet a diversity of people the one thing I know to be true is that we all want to be heard, we all have a story to tell, and we all want to feel good about the things that we do. This is why I do what I do.
And as James Baldwin once said,
“Something that irritates you and won’t let you go. That’s the anguish of it. Do this book, or die. You have to go through that. Talent is insignificant. I know a lot of talented ruins. Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but most of all, endurance.”