Meet Dr. Samita Nandy, Founding Director of The Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies (CMCS) in Canada

Dr Samita NandyI’d like to introduce my readers to my friend, Dr. Samita Nandy, who just happens to have a very interesting story and is the founder of The Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies in Canada. Dr. Nandy holds a Doctorate in Media from Curtin University in Western Australia, a Masters on Communication and Culture from York University in Toronto and is a certified Broadcast Journalist. Her research and writing focus on celebrity culture, shifts in stardom, and intersection of cultural meanings of fame and social identity. Her work has been sponsored by international and national grants and awards in Canada and Australia.

Her international media relations and work led her to be featured with Global Television’s Anwar Knight and Allison Annesley on Daytime and prime-time show First Local on Rogers Television, CBC News, CTV’s Breaking News CP 24, OMNI TV, The Globe and Mail, ANOKHI Media, SNAP Downtown Toronto newspaper, Eternity Watch magazine, ATN Television Network, CINA 1650 AM, Rivaaj, Starbuzz Weekly, Cineblitz, Mississauga News, and J-Source in Canadian Journalism Foundation. Nandy has taught postgraduate and honors degree courses at University of Toronto, Ryerson University, and Curtin University. She is the Founding Director of the Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies (CMCS) and Director of Communications at non-profit organization Nouveau iDEA (International Dimensions of Entertainment and Arts) with over 8,000 members and 80,000 online readers. She has spoken at many international conferences and her published writings on social and cultural issues inspire many readers.

Samita and I initially became acquainted on Facebook when she wrote to me. She was still studying in Western Australia and wrote to me about an organization called Nouveau iDEA, for which she is Director of Communications, because I’m a big supporter of the Arts.  I told her that my best friend had lived in WA for many years and she shared that her boyfriend lives in Kingston, Ontario where I live and she calls Kingston her second home when she’s not in Mississauga. Samita told me that she’d get in touch with me when she was back in Canada and she did. We met in person over a year ago and became fast friends. She is one of those people who actually walks the walk and talks the talk when it comes to living her life with passion, integrity and spiritual purpose. She’s a truly lovely, intellectual and creative soul and I’d like to give her this opportunity to tell you about The Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies.

Dr. Nandy, please tell us a little bit about your background and what led you to pursue your particular course of studies.

Dr. Nandy: First of all, thank you for wanting to interview me for your Scully Love Promo blog.  A bit about myself: I am an academic, artist and activist.  Prior to joining university, I had a science background.  With a passionate interest and score of 86% in biology, I had the option to become a medical doctor. However, I preferred communication that brings social justice and change in representations of talent.  For me, media is a tool in communicating the change that I intend to see.  This intent and fearless determination led me to conduct my Doctoral research in media and celebrity studies.

What is the primary mission of The Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies? 

Dr. Nandy: The primary mission of The Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies is to administer and facilitate teaching, training, research, creative productions and an international network of scholars in critical studies of media and celebrity culture. We are committed to developing courses, conferences, seminars, workshops, discussions, writing retreats, exhibits, and performances in open-access formats.  Since we aim to restore the Latin root celebrem in the etymology of the celebrity, we recognize its connotation of celebrating distinction and merit in both academic and non-academic career paths. 

What inspired you to create it?

Dr. Nandy: While I was conducting my Doctoral research, I saw the Dr Samita Nandy receives her PhDgrowing academic and public demand for knowledge of fame and its practices. Soon after my Doctorate, the Routledge journal Celebrity Studies in the UK and its inaugural conference in Australia offered a formal and honorable introduction to its study and practices including creative arts.  I always felt the compelling need to bridge gaps between higher education and arts that Celebrity Studies enable. I also felt the urgency to make research and creative practice available to the public in artistic spaces, and empower social change through knowledge communities.  There were a number of faculty members that were inspired to make a significant difference in the public sphere.  I took up the inspiration to apply theoretical perspectives and methodological concerns, and enable social change that academic teaching and research often seek.

Who are the people who would most likely benefit from affiliation with The Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies?

Dr. Nandy:  Faculty, graduate students, and creative practitioners in academic and non-academic career paths will benefit from affiliation with the Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies.

Are you presently looking for staff and/or volunteers for CMCS? 

Dr. Nandy: CMCS will appoint an educational outreach coordinator and social media manager to disseminate our growing content.  Apart from that, we are always open to interns who are determined to develop and contribute academic knowledge and professional skills.  We have qualified faculty members, post-doctorates and media professionals that can support the development with adequate supervision.

What exactly does a Fame Critic do?

CMCS LibraryDr. Nandy:  A Fame Critic is a critic and commentator on celebrities in higher education and media industry.  The function is similar to that of a film critic offering reviews, analysis, and evaluation of films but in this case, media representation of celebrities is examined.  For a Fame Critic, criticism does not mean negating a celebrity’s work.  Rather, the critic positions talented personalities within varied yet specific contexts of fame, thus adding intellectual and aesthetic value to media representations.  In tabloid journalism, talent and emotions of celebrities are often commodified and sold as standard objects of trade.  In this respect, gossips, scandals and rumors are common but overlook journeys and contexts that are central to creating and understanding celebrated artists.  Through written reviews, spoken words, and performing arts, the Fame Critic offers an empowered understanding and appreciation of celebrities as well as media that represent them.

Why do you think that Celebrity Studies deserves to be considered as an important course of study?

Dr. Nandy: Celebrity culture has a pervasive presence in society and effect on our lives. In tabloid journalism, images of celebrities represent what Richard Dyer calls a ‘success myth’.  It is based on lucky breaks, special talent, hard work and ordinariness.  The basis of this success is not complete.  The reality is that fame is a media construction that conceals the role of publicity and promotions, and is not inclusive.  From this perspective, a celebrity need not be talented.  Rather, as Daniel Boorstin asserts, “A celebrity is a person who is well-known for their wellknownness.”  Many talented people do not know of necessary tools, remain unknown, or limit themselves to future hopes and standards of fame.  In order to celebrate one’s path and shine as a star, it is important to carve out a niche talent and know necessary tools but, more importantly, to focus on the journey and its moments that unfold limitless possibilities of the talent.  Celebrity Studies is important because it focuses on the critical exploration of fame in historical and contemporary contexts.  It also demystifies the industrial and political processes of production, circulation, and distribution of talent. Since fame is a media construction, Celebrity Studies is indispensable to critical understanding of knowledge and practices of media.

Tell us about what you’ve most recently been working on.

Dr. Nandy:  On behalf of the Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies, I am developing courses, publications, and performances.  The performances are based on music composed by Australia’s Myles Wright (www.myleswright.com). The work has been an exciting part of the post-doctoral phase of my career.

What is your primary goal right now in terms of your career?

Dr. Nandy: Right now, my primary goal is to facilitate integration of teaching, research, and creative arts in academic and non-academic programs.

What can students learn from the courses that you’re currently developing and teaching?

Dr. Nandy: Students can learn theoretical perspectives, research methods, and practical tools that are essential to understanding media and celebrity culture.  Since I incorporate an element of performance in my courses, students are able to use an arts-based approach in their career as well as their personal journeys in developing talent.

What role does spirituality play in your writing, public speaking and course development?

Dr. Nandy: For me, spirituality is a shared non-physical relationship with self and others.  A unique creative self is rooted in one’s spirituality and is expressed through embodied practices.  In order to push material and social boundaries, it is necessary to explore and accommodate one’s spirituality in the act of creating.  In my writing, speaking, and course development, spirituality is often expressed as unconditional love, which I bear in my relation to self and others. 

You talk about unconditional love a lot in your writing. What does unconditional love mean to you?

Dr. Nandy:  There are two kinds of emotions: love and fear.  I choose love Dr Samita Nandyand yes, I often mention it – I am passionate about it!  For me, unconditional love is a commitment to care that is free from past and social conditions including sexism, ethnocentrism, speciesism, and class discrimination.  From this perspective, unconditional love starts with self and ends with non-judgmental recognition of others.  If we question a practice, it should be about the conditions of society and not victims of the conditions.  Unconditional love is not meant to be perfect but rather a progression that includes taking one step at a time.  I believe that unconditional love is one of our highest talents that are not taught for the privilege of few. Yet it is easy and empowering once explored.  When we release ourselves from conditions, our creative core is free to recognize its distinctive path and shine as a star, which is the underlying message of all my work.

What is Nouveau iDEA all about and how can people get involved?

Dr. Nandy: Founded by media personality Tushar Unadkat, Nouveau iDEA is a non-profit arts organization that offers an inclusive and motivational space for diverse artists.  I started working with Nouveau iDEA as the Director of Communications in 2004.  Currently, Nouveau iDEA supports independent artists by sharing and promoting their upcoming work through our regular newsletters and posts.  The best way people can get involved in it is by joining the Nouveau iDEA groups on Yahoo and Facebook.  In the near future, we will be holding public events where artists can meet and share information in person.

Tell us about your favourite form of creative expression.

Dr. Nandy: I would say performance.  Writing is an embodied act and I find it fascinating to extend it into performances!  I am particularly interested in contemporary dance that offers living examples of change in intimate spaces as well as on stage or screen. 

Who are you most interested in connecting with and how can they reach you?

I am always interested in connecting with individuals open to learning in both academic and non-academic careers.  I can be reached at info@cmc-centre.com.

Thank you very much Dr. Nandy for your thoughtful and insightful answers to my questions. It is always such a pleasure to have a conversation with you and I hope that my readers will find not only information but inspiration in this interview that will resonate with them and inspire them to look at fame and the study of celebrity culture in a different way.

Don’t Miss The Science and Art of Opening Your Heart Telesummit Sept. 9-13th

The Science and Art of Opening Your Heart Telesummit Sept. 9 - 13, 2013Media Contact: Trina Becksted
(480) 668-6400
Trina@cloudninemarketing.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(8/15/13 Phoenix)
“The Science and Art 
Of Opening Your Heart”  Telesummit Sept 9-13th.

WHAT: A free week-long, online telesummit hosted by filmmaker Ronna Prince. Spawned by the success of her film Sacred Journey of the Heart, this telesummit will reach more people with this important, heart-based knowledge. This online event will showcase 20 of the best heart-centered, transformational experts in the world.

WHEN:  September 9-13, 2013

There will be four interviews per day at 9 a.m., 12 noon, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Pacific Time.

WHERE:  Register for free at http://sacredjourneyoftheheart.com/telesummit/

WHO:   Schedule of Speakers Includes: 

  • Mary Morrissey: Why engaging your heart and feelings is essential to manifesting your dreams – Monday, Sept. 9, 9 a.m.
  • Colin Tipping: Heart healing and radical forgiveness – Sept 9, 12 p.m.
  • Ronna Prince: Heart-based tools for living in deep connection with yourself and others, and in alignment with your highest purpose – Sept 9, 3 p.m.
  • Bob Proctor: Shares his step-by-step process to abundance – Sept 9, 6 p.m.
  • Dr. Deborah Rozman: Exploring science and health in depth with the film Sacred Journey of the Heart- Tuesday, Sept 10, 9 a.m.
  • Dr. Donald Backstrom: Exploring science and health in depth with the film Sacred Journey of the Heart with a holistic approach – Sept 10, 12 p.m.
  • Dr. Robert Pease: How to highly effect change and break through any block or stagnant pattern – Sept 10, 3 p.m.
  • Dr. John Demartini: Shares how he progressed from homeless, illiterate and near death to a world-renowned motivational speaker – Sept 10, 6 p.m.
  • Cynthia James: Her thoughts on healing the fragmented heart – Wednesday Sept 11, 9 a.m.
  • Liz Dawn: She shares her secrets to manifesting a loving marriage after 40 years of being single and how she created the business of transformational consciousness conferences and events. Sept. 11, 12 p.m.
  • Sarah McLean: Special Guest! She shares her journey to becoming a meditation teacher and author- Sept 11, 6 p.m.
  • Larry Running Turtle Salazar: talks about walking the “red road” and the dream that he is dedicated to fulfilling in his lifetime – Thursday, Sept. 12, 9 a.m.
  • Caroline Sutherland: Shares her formula for abundant health and divulges how she survived the devastating and public breakup of her marriage – Sept 12, 12 p.m.
  • Nick Ortner: Reveals how and why EFT tapping heals the heart. Sept. 12, 3 p.m.
  • Mat Boggs: Offers his practical approach to creating the life of your dreams. Sept. 12, 6 p.m.
  • Sunny Dawn Johnston: Reveals some simple yet powerful day-to-day practices to open your heart. Friday, Sept. 13, 9 a.m.
  • Betsy Chasse: Shares what happened “after the Bleep” which is somewhat shocking. Her down-to-earth approach moved her life in a new direction. Sept 13, 12 p.m.
  • Kyle Cease: Shares his secrets to overcoming crippling anxiety and his proven technique for how to manifest in extraordinary ways. Sept 13, 3 p.m.
  • Nick Lowery: Shares his transformation from athlete-egoist to a heart-centered leader that is inspiring kids to kick off to success. Sept. 13, 6 p.m.

FREE GIFTS: Speakers are offering free gifts to people who tune in to their talks.

Listeners will receive:

  • A worksheet process to use in challenging situations
  • A $500 off coupon for 3 Steps to Heart-Centered Healthy Living Weekend Wellness in Chicago October 2013
  • An online tele-training program validated by 30 years of heart and brain science
  • A 16-minute mp3 on Right Brain Meditation and Creative Intelligence Activation
  • A free audio download on how to successfully set and achieve goals
  • A 3-month membership to Cynthia James’ support network that will provide tools, guidance and meditation
  • Enter to win a free ticket to Celebrate Your Life in Scottsdale, AZ February 14-16, 2014 ($395 value)
  • Free useful and practical guide of 5 successful essentials to meditation
  • A complimentary copy of the first two chapters of The Pipe and the Pen by Larry Running Turtle Salazar
  • A PDF of Bio Id Hormones – Stay young with Balanced Hormones
  • An EFT Tapping 101 video and Tapping Points Reference Chart
  • A link to the “Attracting Mr. Right” webinar
  • A reference guide to the principal characteristics of the Archangels
  • An e-book download of Metanoia, A Transformative Change of Heart by Betsy Chasse
  • A one hour video on how to live a panic-free life

Other speakers have not submitted their gifts yet.

REGISTRATION/MORE INFORMATION: To register for the telesummit or to find more information, visit http://sacredjourneyoftheheart.com/telesummit/

For interview opportunities for Ronna Prince contact trina@cloudninemarketing.com

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The Wizard Within (Gold Edition) by Albert Thor

Book Review
Title: The Wizard Within (Gold Edition)
Author: Albert Thor
Publisher: Soul Purpose
Re-released: 2008
Pages: 318
ISBN 10 – 0969587309
ISBN 13 – 978-0969587309
Stars: 4.5

Jay Wiles should be ecstatic, but he’s not. A 33-year-old advertising executive, who quit his M.B.A. program two months shy of graduating because he felt his mind could not process any more learning, lives with his bank manager wife of 9 years, Liz, in a state that can only be described to most people as “the Good Life.” Jay and Liz have already paid off the mortgage on their lovely home with an in-ground pool and they talk about having a baby, next year…possibly.

Jay has been having profoundly strange dreams of late, in which a wizard, dressed much like Merlin might have, inhabits his dreams and encourages him to ask himself why he is not ecstatic and what he has to do in order to slay the Serpentine Dragon that haunts his nightmares. The wizard continues to make guest appearances in Jay’s dreams and upon waking, leaves him in a confused and vulnerable state; questioning everything about the life he’s made for himself.

Why has sex with his wife lost most of its spontaneity and passion?

“All of my life something has bugged me about this world – nothing I’ve ever put my finger on but something that comes and goes like a cool pocket of air that causes me to stop and shiver. I mean just look around you, Liz, surely you must feel it, too…There’s something wrong with the government, with religion, with education, with our economy, with the very basis of our lives and yet I can’t put my finger on what it is exactly. It’s like there’s something evil about this world that we can’t ever escape…So we’re left fighting even our own sexual urges. And if you think about it the ultimate question is this: Why are we terrified of being who and what we really are, why are we so divided from our natural selves?”

And so begins the journey of enlightenment of Jay Wiles. And it just might be driving him stark raving mad.

In the meantime, we follow Gail, a 45-year-old therapist for Individual and Family Counseling Inc. and her most recent client, Vanesa, who is proving to be nothing like the person Gail initially thought she was. Vanesa is a tall, handsome woman with short, black hair who dresses conservatively and is an executive for her company. She makes important decisions and tells people what to do every day. However, she’s been having an incredibly intense, life-changing affair with a mystery married man who is taking her to the outer limits of everything she ever knew about herself and is changing her in overwhelming ways. Her mystery lover writes the most remarkable poems for her that she shares with Gail in therapy, as they both try to make some sense of where he’s coming from and what he’s all about.

“As long as people believe the lie that wisdom is outside of themselves and is acquired, they are forever lost…”

There are no chapters in The Wizard Within but at the beginning of each new section there is a thought-provoking and often profound introductory paragraph in bold and italics that challenges the reader to think.

“As long as we mistakenly externalize the source of the experience of wonderment we will always give false credit to things outside of ourselves like a person, place, object or activity. Once we have been removed from ourselves we move further and further from ourselves: we look for ourselves outside of ourselves.”

Jay Wiles undergoes the quintessential spiritual transformation in The Wizard Within against the background of training for running his first marathon, the 79th City Marathon, and while many of those around him think he’s lost his mind and should be contained within the walls of a psych ward, Jay is convinced that he’s discovered the Ultimate Truth of the Universe – “I am you and you are me because we are the Eternal me∞, the experiential part of the Universe which is Immortal.” We are all connected. We are God because God is within us. We cannot search for a higher meaning to life through a god outside of ourselves, all we have to do is be willing to take the risk of going deep within (into the belly of the Serpent) and realize that there is no fear, no anxiety, no risk in pure acceptance.

Jay is left in charge of Mindbenders ad agency while his boss Ted goes on a two month adventurous kayaking vacation in Peru. This is Jay’s chance to start changing the world with his new found wisdom and truth. He now knows that “Consumerism is the symbolic equivalent of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as our own fallible creation becomes the agent of our own untimely death.”

As synchronicity would have it, this philosophical thriller The Wizard Within (which was originally written in 1992) has at its core a very similar message as James Cameron’s current movie masterpiece, Avatar. Every single living thing on this planet is connected and if we realize this there is no need or room for life with fear, anxiety or hatred. Having faith in a Higher Power will ultimately save us from total annihilation and that Higher Power is within each and every one of us.

Albert Thor lives what he writes about and he may be a genius, or he might just be crazy. You will have to decide for yourself through reading his work. “Thor considers himself a ‘rational mystic’ in as much as he used his scientifically created tools to launch his Awareness into the mystical realm which blew the doors of his perception wide open, revealing the fundamental wisdom driving the entire Universal show.”

A lot of what he has written in this highly entertaining and often humour-filled book resonates with me, but it’s an intellectually and spiritually challenging novel that will make you think until your head aches. I haven’t quite decided whether Thor has managed to find a way to live in an ego-less state or whether he has the biggest ego in the Universe. This book was recommended to me by my cousin, Susan, who sells it at her book and gift store for the body, mind and spirit, The Purple Door, in Kingston, Ontario.

Thor, who survived a brain hemorrhage in November 2007, has a website at www.soulpurposepublishing.com and there states that “SoulPurpose Publishing is dedicated to contributing to the next evolution in human Awareness and to inspiring a new literature of hope from the perspective of Albert Thor’s brainchild, Reaction Manageme∞nt.” The Foundation for the Reaction Manageme∞nt System™ is developed across these three startling books: Flight Manual For The Soul (1997), The Wizard Within (1992), The Emotional Fitness Revolution (to be released in April 2010), as well as upcoming titles including The Good Shepherd.