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.

Our Mission

AMES engages marginalized youth in personally and socially transformative storytelling using digital media, artistic collaboration, and peer facilitation.

Our Mandate

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 Values

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.

Our History

Learn more about Our Process, and Our History covering two decades of AMES highlights.

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.

Our Team

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.

Communications

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.

Kim Villagante
Facilitator & Collaborator

Sepideh Yadegar
Video Mentor & Producer

Jenna Shapka
Project Evaluation & Assessment Support

Tanvi Bhatia
Facilitator & Script Mentor

Sara Kendall
Alumni, Facilitation Mentor & Vision Consultant

Ayan Ismail
Facilitator, Podcast & Video Producer

Christine Stewart
Board Member

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.

Board Member

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.

Board Member

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.

Board Member

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.

Board Member

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.

Board Member

Amanda Rose Schellenberg is of German settler ancestry and a member of the Métis Nation of BC. She is the creator of Global Village Films — a small film production company in Vancouver, BC. Her lifelong pursuit involves establishing a social enterprise that creates supportive employment opportunities for marginalized groups to pursue meaningful careers in the film industry. She is currently working as co-author of a book chapter on the Frames Film Program with Dr. Ching-Chiu Lin, adjunct professor of SFU’s Faculty of Education.

 

Ken Stauffer
Bookkeeper

Our Supporters

AMES offers heartfelt gratitude for all of the energy and resources provided by our partners and funders. We thank you for the continued support.

Facilitator

Kim Villagante

“AMES uses a heART-centred empowerment approach in their work with youth from marginalized communities that holds them capable of stepping into leadership roles and becoming creative agents of change. This creates a healthy environment where young people feel supported in the learning process and have real agency without feeling trivialized or tokenized.”
Filmmaker/Artist

James Diamond

“AMES helped me see how art and activism can co-exist. The fact that I’m not being represented in the media encourages me to represent myself and my own experience.”