AMES is a small but powerful organization in the Salish Sea. Our programs create equity-oriented, youth-centred spaces that support creative reflection, critical dialogue, and personal and social transformation.
AMES engages marginalized youth in personally and socially transformative storytelling using digital media, artistic collaboration, and peer facilitation.
AMES uplifts emerging creative change-makers through accessible and inclusive programs that provide unique opportunities for young people to make and share meaningful media.
Our programs and policies are rooted in the core values of equity, accessibility, and inclusivity, as well as a belief in the transformative potential of creativity and storytelling.
Who we serve
Our programs primarily engage young people with lived experience of systemic inequities.
Connecting with youth means engaging adult allies, mentors and community workers who also work to support them, and amplify their voices.
What we do
Our media-making intensives provide young people with open and supportive spaces to
reflect upon and issues affecting their lives, develop concrete skills and produce media artworks that spark conversations about creating conditions for change. Most of our outreach activities are school-based, involve sharing videos, resources and workshops designed to refine our collective ‘equity-lens’.
Who we are
We are a registered charity run by a small group of dedicated staff and core collaborators that is guided by a Board of Directors composed of educators, artists, activists, community workers, students, and filmmakers.
People-power is AMES’ greatest resource. Meet some of our staff, mentors, board members, and facilitators
Executive Director and Founder
Deblekha Guin was mostly raised in Six Nations territory (Southern Ontario), and has been an uninvited settler on the unsurrendered territories of the Penelakut, Lamulchi, and other Hul’quim’in’um speaking Nations for the past 27 years. Shortly after arriving on what is colonially known as ‘Galiano Island’, Guin got swept up by a merry band of creative misfits determined to start a film school in the woods. After a few years with the Gulf Islands Film and Television School (GIFTS), and just before completing her MA in Communications from SFU, Deblekha founded the Access to Media Education Society (AMES). Since the birth of AMES, she’s been instrumental in designing, coordinating and overseeing a multitude of participatory media arts initiatives, and related school-based outreach programs. In May 2020 Guin was recognized for her extensive work with BIPOC-centred creative communities when she was granted an “Intercultural Trust Award” at BC’s Anti-Racism Awards Ceremony.
Ivy Edad is a Filipinx writer born in Manila, Philippines. In 2014, they moved to the stolen territories of Katie, Semiahmoo, Kwantlen, Kwikwetlem, Qayqayt, ans Tsawwassen First Nations.
Ivy has performed on stages across Canada as “ruthless” including the finals of Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in 2019 as part of Kwantlen Poetry Project. Their work can be found in pulpMAG, For Women Who Roar, and various other publications.
Facilitation Mentor & Vision Consultant
Rup Is an award-winning interdisciplinary artist, musician, and Creative Facilitator who has engaged thousands of children and youth in arts-based anti-oppressive learning over the past 18 years.
Filmmaker & Producer & Project Coordinator
Red Buffalo Nova Weipert (he/him/them) is an Anishinaabe Ojibwe Two-Spirit and transgender interdiscipinary artist, writer, director, educator and storyteller. Nova is a proud enrolled member of the Pinaymootang First Nation located on Treaty 2 territory, and is a recent graduate of the Master of Fine Arts program at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. As an interdisciplinary artist, they weave together a multiplicity of digital and traditional mediums such as video, photography, sound, illustration, beading, performance, and storytelling in exploring/experimenting with new modes of representation through the lens of their Anishinaabe Ojibwe lived and felt experiences. They are a long time collaborator with Access to Media Education Society, and their work has screened at festivals such as imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and Vancouver Queer Film Festival. As an educator/storyteller, they take pride in sharing their journey, knowledge and teachings to all ages, and they currently work as a sessional professor at Emily Carr University of Art + Design.
Video Mentor & Producer
Project Evaluation & Assessment Support
Facilitator & Script Mentor
Alumni, Facilitation Mentor & Vision Consultant
Facilitator, Podcast & Video Producer
Board Member, Facilitator & Vision Consultant
Kim Haxton (Potowatomi) is from the Wasauksing First Nation. She has worked across Turtle Island and abroad in various capacities but always with a focus on local leadership. Her deep understanding of the need for genuine restoration has far-reaching implications as leaders seek vision and all people seek direction to address the mounting pressure of a system incongruous with the values of the natural world.
Kim has developed and facilitated programs in more than 8 countries, and has been working in land-based education and leadership for the past 20 years. She takes her place among thought leaders in the area of decolonization, particularly as it applies to language, art, economics and gender. She encourages the “lateral liberation” of consciousness by drawing from the embodied knowledge of Indigenous peoples. In multi-day workshops, she moves people through a personal process of questioning what is the truth and what is simply construct – effectively rupturing what we “know.” True expression of respect, harmony, inclusion, equity can come from this place.
Kim is in high demand with corporations and non-profit organizations who have come to trust her vision, wisdom and guidance. She provides one-on-one coaching with leaders from around the globe, creates workshops and delivers keynote addresses. Most notably, she is a storyteller and has an impressive collection of creative exercises to help move audiences from one developmental state to the next.
Isaac/Iz7k K. Oommen grew up in Oman and the UAE and now shares his time between Alleppey, Kerala and Surrey, BC with a lot of travel in between. He was co-founder of the Vancouver Media Co-op and Surrey’s Solid State Industries immigrant youth co-ops. Apart from doing youth work planning, he designs curricula and is a freelance writer. He is a former board member of the Freedonia anarchist funding organisation.
Isaac has a MA in Communication and researched alternative media organisations. In his free time he enjoys RTS games on the PC and is learning to motorcycle.
Angela Ma Brown is passionate about supporting schools in fostering students’ social/emotional health and development and creating safe, inclusive and caring school communities. Through the lenses of creativity, compassion and critical thinking, she collaborates with local community organizations and schools to develop programs to address the complex issues of racism, discrimination and oppression and to support equitable and inclusive practices and policies.
Angela has been teaching at the VSB since 1999. She held the Anti-racism and Diversity Consultant position for 7 years and was seconded to SFU as a Faculty Associate for 3 years (Indigenous Perspectives module). She is currently a District Mentor supporting early career teachers in Vancouver.
Angela holds an undergraduate degree in Cultural Anthropology from UBC and a Master’s degree in Diversity in Curriculum and Instruction from SFU. Angela also works as an Education Consultant (HANDS cONsulting: Honouring Affirming and Nurturing Diversity in Schools)
Angela is honoured to be living, learning, collaborating as a first generation settler on the unceded, shared and ancestral territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil Waututh), sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) First Nations.
Dr. Amy Parent’s Nisga’a name is Noxs Ts’aawit (Mother of the Raven Warrior Chief). On her mother’s side of the family, she is from the House of Ni’isjoohl and is a member of the Ganada (frog) clan in the village of Laxgalts’ap. On her father’s side of the family, she is of Settler ancestry (French and German). Dr. Amy Parent is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Studies in the Faculty of Education.
Preeti Kaur Dhaliwal is a critical race feminist, lawyer, writer, college prof and facilitator who grew up on the traditional territories of the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen, Qayqayt, Tsawwassen and Musqueam First Nations (also known as Surrey and North Delta, BC). She has experience in legal research, editing and decision-writing as well as creative writing, experiential learning program design, legal pedagogy and arts-based facilitation. A recent graduate of the University of Guelph’s Creative Writing MFA program,
Preeti firmly believes that stories change the world by altering our ways of seeing, feeling and being with one another and the planet. She is thus incredibly excited to be joining AMES to support brilliant leaders, facilitators and youth to create stories that will expand our potential for healing and social change.
At the heart of her work, Preeti sees law as story. After completing her civil and common law degrees at McGill, she articled at a boutique litigation firm in Tkaronto and clerked at the Federal Court of Canada. Through this work, she began understanding the impacts of the stories law tells and how people internalize them. In order to maintain a creative, embodied and critical practice during her legal schooling and career, she pursued a minor in theatre, worked in radio, founded a women of colour writing circle, and co-organized the law faculty’s first critical race theory course. She later pursued a Master of Laws at the University of Victoria where she investigated how law lives in the body using theatre and performance as both subject and method, with a focus on race, trauma and the Komagata Maru.
Preeti is now teaching and editing her novel manuscript while continuing to explore the nexus between the arts and justice.
Roksan Parfitt is a descendent of a Sephardic Jewish family, an immigrant from Turkey. She is a gratefully privileged settler, living and working on Coast Salish Territories for over a decade. She is a visual artist, art teacher, workshop facilitator, program coordinator and the founder of Yellowhouse Art Centre Society, a non-profit organization located on Shxixnetun / Sturdies Bay, Galiano Island, serving the community by offering multi-disciplinary programming for all ages, a contemporary space for gathering, making and sharing arts.
Giselle Vriesen Allen creates Anti-Racism resources with compassion and empathy at the forefront. She is the co-creator of The Anti-Racism Course for educators, and is currently working on a young adult novel. She lives on Vancouver Island B.C. Canada.
Interactive Content, Web and Applications Developer Intern
Peggy is one of AMES Interactive Content, Web and Applications Developer Intern, as well as one of the first recipients of the prestigious African Roots and Recognition Award (ARREA 2018) in British Columbia. Awarded for her contribution to the African Community in British Columbia. As a self-taught fashion designer, she has been in over 5 runway shows, across two continents. She sees a gap, and steps up to fill it with sheer determination and courage. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Health Science, a Diploma in Health and Fitness Studies, and more recently a Professional Certificate in Advanced Computing – Software Development, amongst others. She is passionate about giving back, general well-being of the Youth and preservation of African culture, especially among Nigerians, so she set up The African Fashion and Arts Movement (AFAM) Nigeria, to promote that in 2018.
Interactive Content, Web and Applications Developer Intern
She has a BA in Psychology from UBC as well as a certificate with high distinction from BCIT’s Front-end Web Developer Program. In her spare time, she enjoys discovering new coffee shops around the city and creating illustrations in Procreate on her iPad.
AMES offers heartfelt gratitude for all of the energy and resources provided by our partners and funders. We thank you for the continued support.