DisPLACEment is a media arts production and outreach program that brings Indigenous, migrant + refugee youth together to make + share short videos that challenge biases, creatively explore changing ideas of ‘home’ and ‘belonging’, and shine light on the systems behind stories of displacement.
Digital Forage: Gathering the Wisdom of Island Elders is an intergenerational digital storytelling and media mentorship project that involves the reciprocal sharing of knowledge between artists, elders, and youth living in and around the ‘Salish Sea’.
This program challenges injustices through Spoken Word, and the creation and distribution of a series of video poems. This off-shoot of DisPLACEment was a collaboration with One Mic Educators which was sponsored by the InSpirit Foundation.
“AMES uses an art and heart-centred empowerment approach when working with young people coming from marginalized communities, holding them capable in stepping into leadership roles and becoming creative agents of change. This creates a healthy environment in which young people can feel supported in the learning process and have real agency without feeling trivialized or tokenized.”
“I think these programs are crucial because young people need the space to be heard, express themselves and let their potentials grow.”
Former AMES participant
“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. Marginalization can make you feel like you’re along, so it was cool to be in a program where you weren’t alone. Where you could be yourself, and be part of a community.”
“Young people are activators and change-makers, and we need to constantly create spaces for them to lead and tell their stories…there’s still so many stories to tell.”
Instigator + Community Organizer, Former AMES participant
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YouthMADE is a multifaceted media arts production and outreach program that inspires those who have been targets of racism, hate and discrimination to become creative agents in overcoming it.
The primary outcomes of this initiative are:
• The creation of 2 youth-driven resource packages (one aimed at high school aged students and teachers, the other at elementary) that feature the work of youth
• The development and delivery of a series of arts-based youth-facilitated workshops to students, teachers and administrators.
It is a dynamic example of peer education in action, YouthMADE brings young people to the ‘front of the classroom’ through a series of interactive youth-facilitated workshops that incorporate the core values of the project: Creativity, Critical Analysis and Compassion. Using the power of youth-voice and digital storytelling to speak directly to youth, YouthMADE workshops give young people an opportunity to generate conversations that are meaningful and relevant to them.
The ‘big picture’ goal of this project is to help make BC schools and the various communities that surround them more compassionate, inclusive, creatively engaged, critically aware and socially just. At heart of this project is the belief that digital storytelling is a transformative and powerful tool for building relationships across and between ‘difference’.
Looking Back/Moving Forward was a 7-day hip hop digital arts mentorship project that brought 12 culturally diverse youth from the Ray Cam Co-op Centre area together to work with accomplished filmmakers and hip hop artists. The youth, along with their mentors, produced 4 videos that recollects and celebrates the history of this resilient and resistant multicultural community as it looks to the future with solidarity and pride.
SMOKE SCREEN 2 was a Health Canada funded and AMES run research and social marketing campaign that was designed by and for young immigrants and refugees in the Greater Vancouver Area. The project began with a community consultation process that involved peer-facilitated focus groups with a total of 194 newcomer youth. These focus groups were held to gain insight into the smoking attitudes, behaviours and awareness rates of newcomer youth.
Following the focus groups, 16 young immigrants and refugees from 11 different countries came together to create a total of 12 ads to de-glamourize tobacco use among youth in general, and specifically among young immigrants. In addition to its success of airing 6 ads on 8 different TV Networks in February 2006, the Smoke Screen 2 campaign involved a high profile transit ad, a series of newspaper ads, an internet-based social networking/marketing component and the development of a documentary and educational resource package including sections in English, Punjabi, and simplified Chinese.
SMOKE SCREEN 1was a by and for girls social marketing and educational campaign funded by Health Canada. In the fall of 2003 twenty-four BC and the Yukon-based girls, between the ages of 14 and 19, spent 10 days at the Gulf Islands Film and Television School (GIFTS) creating a series of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) to educate the public about what makes young girls want to smoke, and why they should resist!
Six of these PSAs were broadcast on seven different Canadian TV Networks and were also incorporated into a 20-minute documentary which is currently being used, along with an accompanying Teacher’s Guide, in high schools throughout the province. One of the PSAs created during this program, Agent Tobacco, was banned from CBC TV because its suggestion that ‘BIG Tobacco’ targeted young girls violated their ‘Truth in Advertizing’ guidelines.
AMES’ first video ethnography program brought together community and university-based youth to learn image-based research techniques. The Pride House Video Project was part of a larger research project that was spearheaded by the Pride Care Society, to create a better understanding of the living conditions and in particular the housing needs of homeless queer youth. The program, involved 7 days of ‘video boot-camp’ at the Gulf Island Film and Television School (GIFTS) and 3 days of post-production at AMES’ Urban Outreach office in Vancouver. It ended with the production of a series of videos, one of which promoted the importance of Pride House, a safe house for queer street youth.
Play-Rights, created in partnership with the Langley Association for Community Living (LACL) and Video In, saw 5 folks with developmental disabilities learning the technical and journalistic know-how to create a short documentary about a “Bill of Rights” play that folks at LACL have produced. The video includes interviews with actors, producers, and the audience.
The Anti-Racism PSA Project, undertaken in collaboration with the International Development Education Resource Association (IDERA), led to the creation of five youth-produced Public Service Announcements (PSAs) tackling the subject of anti-discrimination.
AMES worked in collaboration with Inclusion BC (formerly the BC Association for Community Living)to create a media training program for developmentally-disabled youth. This project saw five members of the youth caucus (three with developmental disabilities and two without) working together to create a documentary about YouthQuake, a national Conference involving 130 delegates strategizing ways that communities can become more inclusive to people with developmental disabilities. The final video project was screened at their AGM (600 people) and has since been circulated to a number of community-based organizations and schools around the province.
In September 1999, ten AMES graduates and ten young environmental activists came to Galiano Island for ten days to produce Public Service Announcements (PSAs) to educate the television viewing public about climate change and global warming. A total of 16 PSAs were produced and 9 of these were broadcast across Canada in 2000. This project was created in partnership with Molloy & Associates, Gumboot Productions, and the Gulf Islands Film and Television School (GIFTS). A selection of works from this program can be viewed at www.youthinmedia.com
AMES raised funds to deliver a one week video production course specifically designed for high functioning autistic and asbergers youth. The A-Team: Autistic Video Project took place at the The Gulf Islands Film and Television School (GIFTS) and was sponsored by the Pacific Coast Foundation for Autism Spectrum Disorders.
In the summer of 1999, AMES in conjunction with the WTN Foundation Inc. offered 44 teenage girls an action-packed week of hands-on technical training at the Gulf Islands Film and Television School (GIFTS). The WTN Foundation Girls TV Camp program was designed to de-mystify media production technology and get more girls involved in the technical side of television production.
New Views Progams was the overarching initiative created to provide “multi-barriered youth” with a safe and supportive environment in which to learn the tools to tell their stories. Between 1997 and 1998, over 130 people participated in the different media intensive programs we offered through New Views. All of the New Views programs were held at the acclaimed Gulf Islands Film and Television School (GIFTS).
The individual programs involved were:
Multicultural Visions, for young people of colour
First Perspectives, for Aboriginal youth
Street Views, for street involved youth
Queer Views, for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered youth
Positive Visions, for people living with HIV+
Funded by: The Vancouver Foundation, The United Way, VanCity, The Province of British Columbia, and the Hamber and Koerner Foundations.