Professor Harold Thwaites holds degrees in Communication Arts (Communication Studies) and Educational Technology (Concordia University) in addition to a 10-year professional background as an Associate Producer in Children’s television (1974-1984) at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (240 half hour children’s shows). Originally from Montreal Canada, he taught at Concordia University for 31 years as a tenured member of the Communication Studies Department (1977-2008), until his early retirement. In Malaysia he was Dean of the Faculty of Creative Multimedia (FCM) at Multimedia University, Cyberjaya Malaysia from 2006 to 2012. From 2012-2015 he was Consultant Professor at University of Malaya and the founding Director of the Centre for Creative Content and Digital Innovation. Following that he was Professor and Dean of the School of Arts at Sunway University and is now Head of the Centre for Research-Creation in Digital Media.
Professor Thwaites has served as a communication consultant for private companies and government departments. His’ research and teaching is in: Communication Studies, Media Studies, Digital Heritage, Cyberanthropology, Audience/user media impact, information design, Biocybernetic research, 3-D spatial media, Media Production and Digital Humanities. He has taught over 25 different undergrad and postgraduate courses during his career and supervised 15 postgraduate students. He pioneered the development of the New Media stream at Concordia’s Communication Studies Department in the late 1980’s and originated new courses such as Children’s TV, Virtual Reality, Intermedia, and Media Research Laboratory to name a few. He pioneered two International Conferences on 3D Media Technologies (3Dmt ’89 and ’92). He has lectured in the U.K., Wales, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Japan, Taiwan, China, Thailand, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore and the United States. Thwaites has co-authored two textbooks on Communication Analysis and Biocybernetic Research and another entitled “Reality to Virtuality”. He was the first invited overseas researcher at NHK Science and Technical Research Labs in Tokyo, doing pioneering work in 3D HDTV, and at Gifu University’s Virtual Systems Lab in Japan (1996) in addition to being the recipient of a prestigious Telecommunications Advancement Organization of Japan Fellowship.
While in Montreal he was a founding member of the Hexagram Institute and was Research Director for Immersive Environments, VR and Audience (www.hexagram.org) 2003-2005. Thwaites served as President of the International Society on Virtual systems and Multimedia (VSMM) 2003-2010, now currently holding Lifetime Honorary President. He has been involved with VSMM since 1996, attending 16 conferences, organizing 8, across 24 years. He sits on the editorial boards of the International Journals, many conference programme committees and other professional consultative bodies. He served as Chair of the MQA (Malaysian Qualification Agency) advisory panel for Programme Standards of Creative Multimedia 2009-2010. Thwaites was given the prestigious position of Honorary Senior research Fellow at University of Birmingham Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity – College of Arts and Law, Heritage and Culture Learning Hub in January 2012.
At Sunway University Prof Thwaites continues to share his experience and passion to innovate new projects and fields of research, with staff and students. His projects include Head of the Centre for Research-Creation in Digital Media (CRCDM), the international multi-partnership project “Atlas of Maritime Buddhism” with the EPFL eM+ Lab and UC Berkeley, the “handbook Project” with Concordia University in Montreal, and the CRCDM Hainan Boatbuilder of Pangkor Island. His focus is exploring the digital preservation of Malaysian cultural heritage, and creating experiences for the cultural imaginary. Professor Thwaites has received research funding in Malaysia of over RM2.3 million. He is now writing a book entitled “A History of Virtual Heritage, ©Sunway University Press, due out in 2019.