Communication and Media Studies

Welcome to the Department of Communication and Media Studies.

Communication and media are central features of our lives. From navigating relationships, to crafting professions, to engaging in local and global issues, we are always using communication and media. Recent years have seen the proliferation of media forms, technologies and industries. Indeed, there has never been a better time to study communication and media. No matter what kind of work you do or what kind of life you live, understanding communication and media processes is fundamental to your health and wealth. The Department of Communication and Media Studies at Franklin University Switzerland focuses upon four key threads in communication and media studies: (1) Media forms, practices, technologies and industries, (2) empirical and critical media and communication research with an emphasis on emerging and social media, (3) media uses and effects (individual, relational, cultural and social) and (4) the relationship between media and global processes. 


  • Satomi Sugiyama

  • Nello Barile

  • Alison Vogelaar

  • Antonio Bova

Research and Initiatives

Professors Gabriel Gee and Alison Vogelaar Publish New Book

Associate Professor of Art History and Visual Communication, Gabriel Gee, and Associate Professor of Communication and Media Studies, Alison Vogelaar, have co-edited a new publication entitled “Changing representations of nature and city: the 1960s – 1970s and their legacies”, in Routledge Advanced Series in Art History, 2018.

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Publication Highlights

Sugiyama, S. (2019). Wearable technologies: Fashion, size and visibility. InA. Mascio, R. Menarini, S. Reinach, & I. Tolic (eds). The Size Effect: Measuring Design, Fashion and Media. Mimesis International. 

Barile, N., & Sugiyama, S. (2018). Wearing Data: From McLuhan’s “Extended Skin” to the Integration Between Wearable Technologies and a New Algorithmic Sensibility. Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture. DOI: 10.1080/1362704X.2018.1514847

Sugiyama, S. (2018). Exploration of expected interaction norms with a social robot in everyday life: A case of twitter analysis in Japan (long abstract). M. Funk et al. (eds). Envisioning Robots in Society—Politics, Power, and Public Space.  IOS Press Ebooks.

Vogelaar, A. E. and McKernan, C. M. (2018), Making Space for a Revolution: Occupy Wall Street as a Maker Movement, In J. Hunsinger and A. Schrock, Making our World: The Hacker and Maker Movements in Context(eds) Digital Formations, Peter Lang. 

Vogelaar, A. E., Hale, B. W. and Peat, A. P. (Eds) (2018). The Discourses of Environmental Collapse. Routledge. 

Gee, G. and VogelaarA. E. (Eds) (2018). Nature and City: Changing Representations, 1960s-1970s. Routledge. 

Shanahan, F., Seele, P. and Vogelaar, A. (2018). Persuasion. In Ø. Ihlen & R. L. Heath (Eds.)TheHandbook of Organizational Rhetoric and Communication: Foundations of Dialogue, Discourse, Narrative, and Engagement,Wiley. 

Sugiyama, S. (2017). The image of wearable ICTs: an exploration from a fashion perspectiveIn G. Motta, & A. Biagini (eds.), Fashion through History: Costumes, Symbols, Communication (vol. II). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars. 

Barile, N., & Sugiyama, S. (2016). I am Her(e): Physical/cognitive robots and human intimacy in the imagery of Spike Jonze’s movies. J. Seibt, M. Nørskov, & S. S. Andersen (eds.), What social robots can and should do (pp. 335 – 339). IOS Press Ebooks. DOI 10.3233/978-1-61499-708-5-335

Sugiyama, S. (2015). Kawaii meiru and Maroyaka neko: Mobile emoji for relationship maintenance and aesthetic expressions among Japanese teens. First Monday, 20 (10), DOI:

Vogelaar, A. (2015) Staging Revolution: The OWS Encampment at Zuccotti Park. Media Fields, 9.

Barile, N. (2015). Branding the self in the age of emotional capitalism: The exploitation of prosumers, from the rhetoric of “double bind” to the hegemony of confession. LOGOS, 25.

Barile, N., & Sugiyama, S. (2015). The automation of taste: A theoretical exploration of mobile ICTs and social robots in the context of music consumption. International Journal of Social Robotics, 7(3), 407-416. DOI: 10.1007/s12369-015-0283-1

Bova, A. (2015). Promoting learning and development of students through argumentative interactions in the classroom. A study of the teacher’s questions in the learning contexts of higher education. Teaching Innovations, 28(3), 130-144. doi: 10.5937/inovacije1503130B

Vogelaar, A. and Hale, B. (2014). Constituting Swiss Heritage: Discourse and the Management of Invasive Species International Journal of Tourism Anthropology, 3(2), pp. 130-149.

Majors and Minors

Communication and Media Studies

The Communication and Media Studies Program at Franklin focuses upon four key threads in communication and media studies:

  1. Media forms, practices, technologies and industries
  2. Empirical and critical media and communication research (with an emphasis on emerging and social media)
  3. Media uses and effects (individual, relational, cultural, and social)
  4. The relationship between media and global processes.

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Projects and Activities

Professor Sugiyama contributed an article for the Pavia e Ansaldo’s FinTech Syllabi

Professor Sugiyama continues to collaborate with her colleagues beyond the academic world and contributed an article for Pavia e Ansaldo’s FinTech Syllabi. Read her article "Wearable Technology" along with articles from other industry experts.

Symposium: I, Fashion: Technological Innovations and the Luxury & Fashion Industry, Pavia e Ansaldo, Milano, Italy, April 2018

On the 10th of April 2018, Professor Sugiyama invited students to Pavia e Ansaldo Studio Legale’s exciting symposium entitled I Fashion: Technological Innovations and the Luxury & Fashion Industry, in which she spoke and co-moderated the eventThis event was hosted in the prestigious law offices of Pavia e Ansaldo in Milan thanks to Mario di Giulio, Partner of Pavia e Ansaldo, and Mario Abate, Of Counsel for Pavia e Ansaldo; and featured four distinguished speakers in the fields of luxury branding and legal representation. The event concept and title as developed by Professor Sugiyama for part of her ongoing research on wearable technology, enriched student learning and professional experiences through the symposium’s discourse on the complex intersection between fashion and technology. The event was realized with enthusiastic collaborators Daniel Fabbri and Roberto Rossetto of EFG bank.

Speakers at the event brought forth exciting perspectives on the topic, discussing the position of luxury brands in regards to the challenges they face and are overcoming in a complex and global digital market. Maria Trussardi, the President of the Italian fashion house Trussardi, spoke about her company’s approach to e-commerce and approach to global visibility. Peter Gladel, the co-founder and CEO of the luxury cosmetics brand distributor Beauty and Luxury, spoke about the digital revolution in the cosmetics industry and importance of adopting an omnichannel marketing strategy. Lorenzo Maria Di Vecchio, the Global Compliance Manager of Fendi, discussed the importance of product licensing and the increasing emphasis for brands to protect themselves, their products, their customers and their data in the e-commerce environment. Finally, Pavia e Ansaldo counsel Massimiliano Patrini expanded this point by discussing how luxury brands can fight against counterfeits through licensing, regulations and human interaction to enforce laws both online and offline. The symposium concluded with commentator Professor Barile from IULM and Franklin University Switzerland, who commented on all four of the speaker’s presentations. This led into a stimulating Question and Answer session in which students and other audience members had the opportunity to engage in further discussion with the speakers and commentators. The symposium was a great success and wonderful opportunity for both students and professionals to engage in discussion about the fascinating topic of fashion and technology. 

For further reading in Italian, see the article "Pavia e Ansaldo riunisce il mondo del fashion per discutere di innovation technology" on Diritto 24, a resource for legal news provided by Gruppo 24 Ore.

Guest Lecturer Professor Shin Dong Kim, Hallym University, South Korea 

On April 24, 2018, the Communications department welcomed guest lecturer Professor Shin Dong Kim from Hallym University in South Korea thanks to the generous support of the Franklin Alumni Council. His presentation entitled Cultural Industries and Cultural Capital in Korea served introductory and advanced communication students alike, as his talk touched heavily on international and intercultural communication processes through the topic of Kpop. He discussed the cultural climate that helped breed success for Kpop through the economy, business and government. The ideas of cultural capital and cultural export are important for communication students to understand as they are fundamental theories in the field. For more advanced communication students, this presentation was also interesting because it touched on Kpop as a standardized genre, which relates to the upper level course COM 370: Digital Innovations and their readings on taste. The advanced communication students also had the added benefit of reading one of Professor Kim’s papers, as well as attending the Teads Wonderbox event in Milan during design week, where Professor Kim, Professor Barile and Professor Sugiyama all spoke. For these advanced students, Professor Kim’s presentation reiterated Kpop as a cultural export in the time of increasing technological industrialization and how it is a prime example of extreme standardization and success from algorithms and the automation of taste in technology (Barile & Sugiyama, 2015). Kpop will likely be an example for the future of commodifying culture industries globally through technology and standardization.

Teads Wonderbox, Milano Salone, Italy, April 2018

On April 17, 2018, Professor Sugiyama spoke at the Teads Wonderbox event in Milan for Design Week. Upper-level communication students in Professor Barile’s Digital Innovation class were also invited to this event, as it was dedicated to interactive communication and how technology is currently changing online media in regards to advertising. Professor Sugiyama was a keynote speaker and presented on "Living in the world with intelligent artefacts," where she spoke about her research of intelligent machines including the Japanese social robot Pepper. Her presentation highlighted some key findings on the acceptance of social robots in public spaces, how people react to them and discuss them in the digital space (e.g. Twitter), and why this is an important area of study. Professor Barile provided concluding remarks about the event as a whole and the importance of the presentations given.