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 uses technology as a bridge between generations and ways of life in an attempt to help preserve essential knowledge that is in danger of being lost.
Storytelling is at the heart of HumanEYES, an intergenerational school-centred, arts-based initiative that celebrates the diverse life experience of young people in BC classrooms. Over the course of several workshops led by emerging artists and storytellers, students explore, integrate, and creatively embody the values of inclusion and diversity.
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 the heart of this project is the belief that digital storytelling is a transformative and powerful tool for building relationships across and between ‘difference’.
Climate Matters is a multi-phased production and outreach initiative that uses digital media and geo-mapping to prompt dialogue about climate justice within schools, communities and larger public institutions.
The first phase (2015) was about making climate-focused films. This part of the program saw 24 young people from 6 different BC communities (primarily rural, under-resourced, and Indigenous) being mentored by local media artists to create digital stories that focus on matters of local ecological significance and concern.
The next phase was about getting the videos out there through youth developed and facilitated workshops, and Standing-Ground.ca, an interactive web-map that showcases stories of climate-based resistance and renewal, and enables users to see all of the Climate Matters videos and other stories of environmental struggle and stewardship, ‘in context’. The story markers indicate where the featured videos were made, while the ‘industrial markers’ map out adjacent resource development initiatives (which help to establish why they were made). From mining projects and pipelines to hydro and oil and gas development, these clickable markers begin to tell the story of how actual and proposed resource development is impacting local communities around the province.
Both of these outreach activities support young people in learning about current resource extraction practices, local resistance to them, and the role art and media can play in encouraging us to reflect upon the impacts fossil fuel dependence is having on our collective future.
The Word from Participants + Mentors
Climate Matters’ reflects an understanding of the connections between culture, language and the land, and is providing vital knowledge transfer to new generations of leaders, who will then apply the learning they receive to create high impact stories that are important to them. It’s been an honour to have such an amazing opportunity to work with young people who genuinely care about protecting our precious environment. My perspective as an Indigenous storyteller truly aligns with AMES and the intentions of this project.
As someone who has felt alienated by the environmental movement historically, I wanted to help create spaces for young people to begin to explore what climate justice means, and I believe AMES plays an important role in making this a reality.
I deeply believe that we need to empower young people in general and specifically Indigenous youth with the media-based skills to draw public attention to and have a dialogue about the social and environmental impacts of current practices. Throughout the years AMES has continually lifted up the voices of youth and strengthened the capacity of youth leadership in communities across BC…this program offers timely and critical programming.
Melina Laboucan-Massimo – Lubicon Cree First Nation Climate & Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace Canada
#HerDigitalVisions is a digital and social media after school program supports girls in becoming digital citizens and leaders in creating safer, and more socially responsible online spaces. Led by an accomplished group of woman-identified mentors and facilitators working in media and technology, #HerDigitalVisions uses digital play and media production to creatively and critically explore the virtual worlds we inhabit.
This free after-school program offered self-identified girls hands-on workshops to build the media literacy and digital skills needed to create, advocate and communicate online.
Among the questions explored along the way are: How do we create and express ourselves? What does it mean to be part of a community online? How do we listen and get heard? How do we advocate for ourselves and others? What is ‘digital leadership’, and why does it matter?
Two iterations of the program were offered in 2015 and 2016, and engaged over 30 girls.
A special chapter of #HerDigitalVisions, #GirlsMakeGames was FREE intensive game-making boot-camp offered to 8 self-identified women in March 2016.
Participants develop media + digital literacy skills while learning the basic elements of game-making, and exploring innovative ways to change the portrayal of women in games, and contribute to cultural shifts for those who make and play them.
YouthMADE is a multifaceted media arts production and outreach program that inspired young people who had been targets of racism, hate and discrimination to become creative agents in overcoming it.
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: The 3C’s of 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 was 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’.
Over 10,000 BC students and educators experienced peer-led YouthMADE workshops or used our YouthMADE Educational resource package that assisted teachers in creating lesson-plans around the YouthMADE videos.
Click here to view our YouthMADE Resources that have been used by thousands of educators throughout BC.
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). You can view a selection of works from this program, here.
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 Programs was the overarching initiative created to provide youth facing multi-barriers 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.