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Athabasca University

Dr. Karen Wall

Associate Professor, Communication Studies



  • B.A. (Simon Fraser University)
  • M.A. (Simon Fraser University)
  • Ph.D. (University of Alberta)


I have been on faculty full time with the Communication Studies program in the Centre for State and Legal Studies since 2006, after many years with Athabasca University as a tutor and course writer. Over the years I have taught several CS courses including CMNS 302 Communication in History and CMNS 402 International Media Systems I – The Americas. I wrote the latter, as well as CMNS 401 Cultural Policy in Canada and CMNS 202: Media and Power in Canadian Society. Most recently I wrote, and am currently teaching, the course HERM 327 Heritage Policy in Canada for the Heritage Resource Management Program.

My research interests include aspects of travel, collective memory, migration, intercultural encounters, social change and, generally, modes of transformation or hybridity. Outside academia, I have pursued various collaborations in the arts with actors, filmmakers and musicians to produce narratives or artifacts often based on research into local histories. In June 2009, supported by an AU President's Award for Research and Scholarly Excellence, I completed a book manuscript on Alberta's social and cultural history of sport. An ongoing project in its latter stages is a SSHRC-funded history of the Banff School of Fine Arts, with collaborator Dr PearlAnn Reichwein, University of Alberta. Other recent work concerns Alberta cultural policy, First Nations culture and education, virtual travel technologies and the management of public risk, the history of the Banff School of Fine Arts, museum exhibition design and analysis, and the production of heritage and consumer environments in Edmonton.

Recently I have published articles concerning phenomena of pilgrimage and am pursuing interests in related performance traditions in media and touristic environments, particularly how different media contribute to the imagination and management of space, communities, mobility and narrative.

Selected Publications

Book and Book Chapters

Wall, K. Sharpest Knives in the Drawer: Culture at the Intersection of Oil and State, in Eds. M. Shrivastava and L. Stefanick, Alberta Oil and the Decline of Democracy in Canada, Athabasca University Press, 2015

Reichwein,PA and K. Wall. Mountain Capitalists: Space and Modernity at Alberta’s Banff Campus. In Directions West, University of Calgary Press, forthcoming.

Wall, K. L. Game Plan: a Social History of Sport in Alberta. University of Alberta Press, 2012.

Whitson, D., K. Wall and D. Cardinal. Alberta Cultural Policy: From Rags to Riches to Roulette. In Pan-Canadian Cultural Policy and Cultural Public Administration. University of Toronto Press (2012).

Wall, K. Healing waters, healing histories: Aboriginal pilgrimage, social change and concepts of reconciliation. In Leisure and Tourism: Cultural Paradigms (Edited by: J. Dodd and V. Sharma, Rawat Publictions, New Zealand, 2012.

Peer-reviewed journal articles

Wall, K. The Gallery and the Inukshuk: Visual Art, "Ordinary" People, and Mobile Exhibitions, Leisure/Loisir 36 (1), 2012, 17-35.

Wall, K. 'A sliver of the true fort': Imagining Fort Edmonton, 1911-2011. Journal of Heritage Tourism, Volume 6 Issue 2, 2011, 109-136.

Wall, K. and P. Reichwein, 'Climbing the pinnacle of art': Learning Vacations at the Banff School of Fine Arts, 1933-1959. Canadian Historical Review. December 2010.

Wall, K. 'Across distances and differences': aboriginal pilgrimage and social change. Leisure/Loisir Volume 33, Number 1, 2009.

Wall, K. Aboriginal cultural tourism and recreation education: a proposal for community capacity building. Canadian Journal of Aboriginal Education, January 2009.

Wall, K. "Old Strathcona: Culture and Commerce in a Heritage Preservation District", Urban History Review/Revue d'histoire urbaine, Vol XXX No 2 March 2002, pp 28-40.

Wall, K. (1993). "Deja vu/jamais vu: Atom Egoyan's The Adjuster ", Canadian Journal of Film Studies, Vol. 2, Nos. 2-3, 1993.

Book Reviews

Adria, M., Technology and Nationalism. McGill-Queen's University Press, 2010. Reviewed for Labour/La Travail, forthcoming 2011.

Selected Conference Presentations

Wall, K. Gathering Place: Urban Aboriginal Presence in the Construction of Public Space. Philosophy and the City Conference, Mexico City, December 2014.

Wall, K. "Sharpest Knives in the Drawer": Culture at the Intersection of Oil and State, Canadian Political Science Association Annual Meeting, June 6 2013, University of Victoria, B.C.

Reichwein, PA and K. Wall. Mountain Capitalists: Space and Modernity at Alberta’s Banff Campus. Directions West Conference, Third Biennial Western Canadian Studies Conference, University of Calgary, June 21-23, 2012

Wall, K. Sketchy Memories: Urban Sketching As Conceptual and Social Medium.  International Conference for Academic Disciplines, Las Vegas, March 2012.

Wall, K. International Conference: Creative Americas. Crossed perspectives on discourses and practices. October 6-7, 2010, Toulouse, France.

Wall, K. and PA Reichwein, “Wholesome, Understandable Pictures”:  Art for the People, by the People, 1900-2007, International Conference on Arts and Humanities, Honolulu, January 9-12, 2010.

Wall, K. Reinventing the Wheel: Aboriginal Education Design. World Education Forum Conference, Rome, Italy, December 2009.

Wall, K.  “Moving Mountains:  Post-War Painting and Tourism in Banff National Park.”  Congrès mondial du loisir - World Leisure Congress, World Leisure Organization, Quebec City, October 7, 2008.

Public Presentations

Wall, K. Capitalizing the Beauties: Cultural Institutions, Tourism and Art in Alberta. Arts and Sciences Faculty Research Presentation, Athabasca University, 2011.

Wall, K. Corralling Creativity: Extension Education and Social Development in Alberta. Alberta Studies Symposium, Athabasca University, 2009

Wall, K. “The Rain Upon Our Senses”: Mass Media and the Sport Imaginary, Calgary Historical Society lecture, Calgary, Alberta, April 2015.

Wall, K. Urban sketching as Medium of Community Knowledge, Women’s Art Museum Society lecture, Edmonton, Alberta, April 2015.

Reichwein, PA and Wall, K. In Gallery Talk: Art School Confidential: The Banff School of Fine Arts. Art Gallery of Alberta, May 13, 2011.

Reichwein, PA and K. Wall. The Banff School of Fine Arts. Alberta Parks and Recreation Association Conference, Lake Louise, 2011.

Updated February 25 2015 by Student & Academic Services

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