Deblekha Guin - Executive Director & Founder
Deblekha founded AMES in 1997 and has been the driving force behind this registered charity and its development and implementation of a ground-breaking series of fully-subsidized intensive video programs. In the 15 years she’s spent doing community and arts-based project development, Deblekha has designed, coordinated and overseen 24 distinct digital-arts community-based initiatives that encourage people from various marginalized communities to self-represent, self-advocate and demystify often harmful cultural stereotypes. Deblekha has her Masters in Communication from Simon Fraser University (1998) and her Honours BA in Contemporary Cultural and Women’s Studies from Carleton University (1991).
Megan Ryland - #HerDigitalVisions Coordinator
Megan is a pale prairie girl born in Winnipeg and raised in Calgary. She came out to Vancouver to study at UBC and fell in love. Megan is a writer, facilitator, podcaster, former theatre geek, and is always seeking ways to learn new things and gain new skills. Currently, she is completing a Master of Arts degree in Educational Studies at UBC with a focus on media and digital literacy. She believes that being creative and being critical are two complimentary and necessary skills. As an advocate for media education, Megan is passionate about using media as a lens to express, understand, critique, reflect, and make change–whether you’re looking inward or outward. She is putting this enthusiasm into her role as Program Coordinator for #HerDigitalVisions 2016.
Mateo Zepeda - Special Projects Coordinator
Mateo is an experienced project manager, with a passion for media activism and mentoring youth. He is a Nicaraguan-born member of the Maya Nation with Afro-Latinx and Spanish settler ancestry. His work is informed by his intersecting identities as an AFAB Trans Man, and migrant/refugee child of the diaspora, who lives with Multiple Sclerosis. He currently lives in Vancouver, unceded Coast Salish land. As a witness, observer and storyteller with a focus on social and environmental justice, he is excited about applying his background in content production and communications in order to support AMES youth-led projects and initiatives.
Molly Billows - Facilitator
Molly Billows comes from the Xwémalhkwu (Homalco) Nation. She is of mixed ancestry and grew up in the area around Victoria, BC. She moved to Vancouver four years ago to attend university. She is entering her final year in the Global Resource Systems Program in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems, where she is focusing on Indigenous Peoples and Land Health. She is currently volunteering and doing research with the Culturally Relevant Urban Wellness (CRUW) Program, and feels so much gratitude for being able to work with youth, elders and knowledge keepers at the UBC Farm on the beautiful territory of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓-speaking Musqueam people. She also works with Access and Diversity at UBC as a program assistant with the ‘Really?’ campaign, a program which aims to empower individuals to respond to discriminatory comments and situations, and is on the executive team of the First Nations Studies Student Association (FNSSA).
Kim Villagante - Facilitator
Kim Villagante, also known as K!mmortal, is an artistic force to be reckoned with. As an artist of lines and rhymes, as well as an arts-based community organizer, Kim fuses her phenomenal artistic talents (as a visual-artist, singer-songwriter, rap-poet-lyricist, and actor) with her passion for queer and anti-racist activism. In 2013, Kim’s debut acting role in hip-hop theatre production “Sal Capone: The Lamentable Tragedy Of” landed her a nomination in Montreal English Theatre Awards as “Outstanding Supporting Actress”. In 2014, she released her debut album, “Sincerity” and represented Vancouver as the only Filipina emcee in 2015’s Canadian Music Week. Her latest acting accomplishment was playing the lead in the one-woman play “Sister Mary’s A Dyke” written by Flerida Peña and directed by Jan Derbyshire which ran during Vancouver’s Queer Arts Festival in 2015. Kim was awarded the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award in Community-Engaged arts in 2013, and is also the founder of “SHE”, an annual East-Vancouver event celebrating indigenous, black, and women of colour in WORD and MUSIC (shefestvan.com). Her recent self-directed music video, “Brushing by heaven’s shoulder”, was animated, rapped and filmed by Kimmortal and was selected to be screened at San Francisco’s Queer Women of Colour Film festival 2016.
Ayendri Perera - Lead Facilitator
Ayendri is a Sri Lankan born Vancouver-based activist, facilitator, and youth organizer. She is passionate about intersectional social movements and has been active for years with organizing rooted in anti-oppression, decolonization, and environmental justice. In the past, Ayendri worked with Youth 4 Global Change, a youth action team committed to the eradication of poverty and inequality, in all of its forms. Currently, Ayendri works with AMES as a mentor and lead facilitator, organizing our facilitation team. She is also currently a facilitator with AMES’ current HumanEYES program.
Kelsey Sparrow - Facilitator
ʔe:nθa kelsǝy, tǝniʔ cǝn ʔǝ ƛ̓ xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Kelsey Sparrow) is a mixed-race indigenous person of Musqueam, Anishinaabe, and white ancestry. Kelsey identifies as a visual artists that primarily creates with her hands, and is in the early stages of exploring the art of film. Her first engagement with AMES was through a climate justice project with AMES where she assisted in the creation of “Thicker than Oil”, a short video about the protest that took place on Burnaby mountain. Found on Standing-Ground.ca. As someone who has felt alienated by the environmental movement historically, Kelsey very much wanted to help create spaces for young people to begin to explore what climate justice means, and believes AMES plays an important role in making this a reality.
Puja Prakash - Facilitator
Puja is a community educator working towards building capacity among communities through arts and dialogue based workshops and programs. She moved to Vancouver from Mumbai, two years ago, where she worked with youth in urban slums on a wide range of issues from public hygiene to social justice and self-expression. Puja likes to spend as much of her time as she can connecting to nature and the unceded land on which she now lives. She believes that this connection is important and shapes one’s identity, stories, and experiences.
Ken Stauffer - Bookkeeper
Our Board of Directors
Arvin Dwarka - Strategist and Innovator
Arvin has been with AMES since 2014 and currently serves as the Treasurer and Secretary on the AMES Board. He’s very passionate about empowering disenfranchised youth and helping them find their voice. While having little digital media experience, Arvin brings his business and data-driven thinking to AMES. He currently works at Bench, a financial technology startup in Vancouver, as a Product Manager. He has a background in genetics research and analytical chemistry. Prior to AMES, Arvin served as the Strategy Lead at PeaceGeeks, a global technology non-profit.
Christine Stewart - Assistant Professor, Emily Carr University of Art + Design
Christine is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Design and Dynamic Media. Her media work has shown in North America, Europe, and Asia at a variety of festivals and venues, and has been supported by the Canada Council and BC Arts Council. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Access to Media Education Society and is a past Director at VIVO. Her studio based, process oriented practice variously employs digital media, film, sound, photography, language, performance and installation. Current projects reflect her interest in evolving narrative structures, hybrid technological forms and the relational dynamics of sustainability.
Peter Wanyenya - International Student Affairs, University of British Columbia
Peter Wanyenya is a PhD. student at the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice. At UBC, he is also a student affairs professional. In this role, he advises and coaches students and coordinates supports and resources to enhance their retention, enrich their student experience, and success. He is also co-lead on a multistakeholder campus anti-discrimination program. He has experience as a child and youth advocate, resiliency worker, and anti-oppression educator. Peter feels honoured to be involved with AMES and appreciates the organization’s emphasis on creativity and heart and arts-based approaches to social change.
David Ozier - Filmmaker & Television Producer
Gemini Award-winning writer and director David Ozier has contributed to over 250 episodes of a broad range of documentary, lifestyle and reality programs over the past twenty years. David got his professional start at the CBC and at The National Film Board of Canada, before establishing himself as a sought-after freelancer, working on programs seen on ABC, National Geographic, History, Discovery, HGTV, the Food Network, Oxygen, PBS and others. Recent credits include the ABC’s The Quest, Ice Pilots for History Television, and Air Show for Discovery. His work has been recognized with several awards including a Gemini Award from the Canadian Academy of Cinema and Television, a Silver Hugo from the Chicago International Film Festival, and a Gold World Medal from New York Festivals. David was one of the founding faculty of the Gulf Island Film and Television School (GIFTS) and has worked as a youth mentor with a number of organizations, including Peace it Together, Projections and AMES. He is a graduate of Simon Fraser University and lives in Vancouver.
Jessica Hallenbeck - Social Planner & Filmmaker
A community planner and filmmaker based on Unceded Coast Salish Territory, Jessica has 14 years of experience in the arts. She is the Principal of Hallenbeck Consultants, a community planning firm specializing in multimedia training, youth engagement, and storytelling for community planning, policy development, and advocacy. Jessica holds an undergraduate degree in film from Queen’s University, and a Masters degree in urban planning from SCARP at UBC. She has managed over 30 multimedia-based planned projects and has worked across BC, Canada, and internationally. She is passionate about social justice and believes that increased access to media can lead to a more democratic world. Jessica loves to be outdoors: cooking, camping, surfing, and cycling.
Stuart R. Poyntz - Professor, School of Communication, Simon Fraser Univerity
Stuart is an international researcher on childhood and youth media culture and president of the Association for Research in Cultures of Young People. He has published two books and numerous articles on youth media, cities, learning and democracy, and is an Associate Professor in the School of Communication at SFU.
Amanda Rose Schellenberg - Neighbourhood House Program Coordinator
Amanda is a Registered Social Worker with a passion for social entrepreneurship and filmmaking. She is also a Program Coordinator for the Frames Film Program of Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House.
She joined AMES because she knows giving youth the opportunity to creatively express themselves through; film, photography, song, and poetry, in the context of social and environmental justice, bring sustainable social change.
In Amanda’s spare time, she takes on the challenge of baking and has recently mastered the art of macaron making!
Nathaniel Lyman - Entertainment Lawyer
Nathaniel is an entertainment lawyer with Chandler Fogden Aldous law corporation. He assists clients in the film and television industry on various production-related issues. Nathaniel completed his J.D. at the University of British Columbia in 2012. Prior to pursuing law, Nathaniel was an independent filmmaker. He produced different short films, several of which screened at film festivals, including the Atlantic Film Festival in 2009. Nathaniel’s goal is to promote the cultural industries in Canada by assisting filmmakers with bringing their stories to the screen, with a particular focus on productions by indigenous storytellers. He sits on several boards for non-profits involved in the arts.
Our Core Collaborators
Angela Brown - Curriculum Developer
Angela has been teaching at the Vancouver Board of Education since 1999 and worked as the Anti-racism & Diversity Consultant from 2007 until 2010. As the Anti-racism & Diversity Consultant, Angela worked in collaboration with Vancouver school communities to help bring awareness and understanding to the dense and complex issues of racism and discrimination and its local and global impact to schools and their wider communities. Angela currently works as a private Education Consultant in the areas of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Anti-discrimination in Metro Vancouver school communities and non-profit community organizations. Professional learning workshops and in-service are provided to various members of Vancouver school communities across the district: Administrators; Elementary & Secondary Teachers; Counsellors; Youth & Family Workers; Aboriginal School Support Workers; Multicultural Liaison Workers; Settlement Workers; Anti-racism School Contacts; Parents; and Students. The sessions involve experiential learning and empathy-building activities that enable participants to self-reflect on their own racial prejudices and biases and to help prevent them from manifesting into various forms of discrimination. Sessions also include analyzing existing practices and curricula and developing anti-racist curricula that address issues of power, privilege, and equity. School staffs and students are also trained in how to respond to discriminatory incidents appropriately and effectively as empowered ‘active witnesses’. Angela holds an undergraduate degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of British Columbia and a Master of Education degree from Simon Fraser University in Diversity in Curriculum & Instruction.
Rupinder 'Rup' Singh Sidhu - Lead Facilitator & Facilitation Mentor
Rupinder ‘Rup’ is an interdisciplinary artist and facilitator currently residing unceded Coast Salish Territories, Vancouver BC. Rup’s work meets at the intersection of social justice and the arts, for the past 15 years he has been growing his understanding of anti-oppression and empowerment work. He has created and led hundreds of programs and training with youth and adults. Rup brings a focused presence, strong leadership skills, and a contagious enthusiasm, which effectively engages, inspires, and guides participants. He currently leads programs with a variety of organizations including the Access to Media Education Society, an organization dedicated to anti-oppression training and putting media tools in the hands of marginalized people: the Power of Hope; an art’s based empowerment organization; the Sarah McLachlan School of Music, a free music school for inner city youth; and he co-founded Metaphor, a program dedicated to bringing hip-hop workshops and performances into schools, detention centers and rural communities. www.rupsidhu.com
Sara Kendall - Lead Facilitator & Facilitation Mentor
Sara has been a creator and facilitator of arts-based and empowerment-focused processes for 10 years. Most of her work is dedicated to youth initiatives and all of her work comes from her passion for joining creative expression with personal growth and social change. Sara has extensive experience doing arts-based anti-oppression facilitation in such diverse venues as classrooms, Professional Development workshops, night clubs and most recently mega-gatherings like the recent “Be the Change” forum in Vancouver. Sara is currently the Director of Programming at Leave Out Violence (LOVE) BC, one of Canada’s leading arts-based youth violence awareness organizations, she is a performer/facilitator with the Hip-hop empowerment crew METAPHOR, a lead facilitator with the arts empowerment organization Power of Hope, and a director of a community choir called the Cultural Medicine Cabinet. She began working with AMES as a youth facilitating Peer Perspectives arts-based anti-oppression workshops. Peer Perspectives received an award of excellence and best practices in anti-racism education from the Canadian Race Relations Foundation in 2004/05.
Jenna Shapka - Curriculum Developer
Jenny Breukelman - Graphic Artist
Jenny Breukelman has been working as a freelance multimedia artist for over 12 years. She trained in audio recording at Columbia Academy of Radio, Television and Recording Arts in 2000. Summer 2003, she moved to Galiano Island where she worked as a composer and animation/visual fx mentor at the Gulf Islands Film and Television School (GIFTS) for 5 years. She has since worked on projects such as; animator/graphic designer for urban ink’s Women in Fish production and the Fathom Labs Highway project. She was hired as an animation mentor for Sierra Club/Gumboot Productions One Tonne Challenge and created soundtracks for the National Film Board’s short clips on anti-racism. She was a part of the Access to Media Education Society’s Smoke Screen: Anti-Smoking Campaigns for two years in a row. She is part of the creative community on Galiano Island, hosting open mic nights in her spare time as a singer/songwriter. Jenny has two teenagers, a dog, one fish, and three cats and is happy to work in multimedia and live on a beautiful island in the forest at the same time.
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Access to Media Education Society (AMES)
141 Sturdies Bay Road, Galiano Island
BC V0N 1P0, Unceded Coast Salish Territory
AMES c/o The HiVE
#210-128 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 1G8, Unceded Coast Salish Territory