Media Democracy Days brings together media makers, activists, and educators, to celebrate independent media and social change.

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November 19th

SFU Vancouver Harbour Centre

@ 515 W Hastings

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  • Program Features:
  • Ryan McMahon - Digital Media, Bush Tea & Dibaajimowinan: How Story Shapes The Future Of Indigenous Communities

    Keynote from the host of the Red Man Laughing podcast and first Indigenous comedian to have a one hour special on the CBC. Ryan's work continually pushes boundaries with his sharp observations on the "collision between Indian Country and the mainstream."

  • Community Radio Takeover of the Inspiration Lab

    On November 15th and 16th, we'll be joined by Vancouver Co-op Radio 100.5FM and CiTR 101.9FM for two media making and audio production workshops in partnership with the Vancouver Public Library's digital creativity and storytelling learning space.

  • Community Driven Program
    A full day of hands on workshops, discussions, and collaboratively determined events on November 19th at SFU’s Harbour Centre Campus.

Tuesday Nov 15th

5:30 - 8:30 PM - Storytelling Workshop with Vancouver Co-op Radio

Join Vancouver Co-op Radio 100.5FM in a hands on workshop to hone your skills as a storyteller. Learn basic audio recording and editing skills, narrative techniques, and tips on how to pitch your stories and get on the radio! Participants will come away with their own story recorded to use as they like.

Register Here

Wednesday Nov 16th

5:30 - 8:30 PM - Public Service Announcements Workshop with CiTR

Join CiTR 101.9FM UBC's Campus and Community station, in a hands on workshop on how to write and produce a Public Service Announcement. Participants will come away with basic audio recording and editing skills, PSA script writing techniques, and a recording of their work. Get your voice heard!

Register Here

Saturday Nov 19th Program

Amplifying Stories of Displacement

How can we amplify stories of displaced persons, such as refugees, youth in care, and other marginalized communities, to inspire understanding and action? How do we practice close listening as media makers and advocates? This workshop will share collaborative and creative ways to amplify personal narratives of displacement through art production, like in the media art produced by co-facilitator Minah Lee on her own immigration experiences, and collaborative storytelling used by Discourse Media in their recent work with youth in care.

Facilitators: Minah Lee, Multimedia artist; Brielle Morgan, Journalist, Discourse Media

Register Here

Digital Media, Bush Tea & Dibaajimowinan: How Story Shapes The Future Of Indigenous Communities

We’re joined by comedian, educator and media maker Ryan McMahon as Media Democracy Days’ 2016 Keynote speaker. McMahon hosts the podcast Red Man Laughing, which takes a critical look at “the collision between Indian Country and the mainstream,” and actively promotes other Indigenous media makers across Canada through the Indian & Cowboy podcast network

Register Here

Native Waves Radio: Indigenous Reporting and The Making of NDNs on the Airwaves

How do we look critically at what is presently in place as native media and how do we Indigenize the media to reflect true Indigenous voices. Mohawk broadcaster Janet Rogers joins us to discuss this and the making of NDNs on the Airwaves, a six part radio series and accompanying documentary that traverses through history and looks to the future of native radio.

Seats to this talk are first come first serve

How Do We Leap: Collaborative Art Making Workshop

In this workshop, participants will create a collaborative art piece that explores the importance of art-making in sustaining our activist movements and catalyzing collective transformation. How can art communicate policy ideas and the ideas within political manifestos (eg. The Leap Manifesto)? How can tuning into our senses and our creativity nourish and connect us back to our hearts and bodies so that our activism can be more inclusive?

The workshop begins with a 10 minute “sense walk” in a public space to serve as inspiration for a multi-media collaborative art piece that incorporates soundscape recordings and found-object collage. No previous art-making experience is necessary.

Hosted by Molly Billows and Kim Villagante, both artists and facilitators with Access to Media Education Society, an organization that integrates arts-based approaches when discussing social and environmental issues with youth as well as Cascadia Deaf Nation an organization committed to empowering Deaf people of colour and their allies.

Register Here

Decolonizing the Media Workshop:

Why do decolonization and anti-oppression matter and how can we best use these practices in making media? This will be a facilitated dialogue exploring anti-oppression terminology, and a discussion of how we can improve the way media is created and consumed. The goal of this workshop is to share tools for thinking critically about how those involved in grassroots organizing and independent media can move forward in meaningful allyship and solidarity with Indigenous nations within the colony of Canada. Organized on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish & Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

Facilitators: Tami Starlight, Cree/Norwegian, Peguis Nation and vanessa bui, first-generation vietnamese.

Register Here

Radical Librarians for Media Democracy

We invite you to meet three societal stewards who are independently filling the gaps of information access in diverse communities. In some cases, they build bridges between sources of information and agents of change. In other ways, they carve out alternative avenues of learning, communicating, ad connecting with the world around us. This panel will bring together individuals and groups and examine how radical librarianship can support social equity and/or political action.


Melissa Adams is a member of the Nisga’a Nation from the House of Wisin Xbil’tkw of the Gisk'aast (Killerwhale) tribe. She is the Librarian and Archivist at the Union of BC Indian Chiefs where she supports the organization’s work representing and advocating for Indigenous interests, rights and title. This includes managing the library collection, institutional archives and digital resources, as well as providing reference services and training support to both members of Indigenous communities and the wider public.

Stephanie Kripps has been a librarian with Vancouver Public Library (VPL) since the last millennium, when language-learning audio cassettes and Shakespeare on VHS were avant-garde materials in a public library. Some of Stephanie’s new millennium roles with VPL have included Project Manager for the pilot First Nations Storyteller in Residence Program; Branch Head of Carnegie Library; and Coordinator of Accessible Services. She is presently head of nə́c̓aʔmat ct Strathcona Branch, and looks forward to once again working in and with the Downtown Eastside community, when this new branch opens in early 2017

Vince Tao is the Librarian at 221A and his current work there involves restaging the Vancouver Women’s Bookstore. Prior to moving to Vancouver, he studied in Montreal where he coordinated educational programming at a worker-run community kitchen.

Sponsored by the BC Library Association

Seats to this talk are first come first serve

The Future of Community TV

In January 2016, the CRTC dealt a potential final blow to local community television production by allowing the option for cable companies to redirect their community channel funding to their recently shuttered, private, local broadcast subsidiaries to produce newscasts only. Community media practitioners are lobbying to keep diverse, local voices and stories from being silenced.

In this session we'll be joined by Canadian Association of Community Television Users and Stations (CACTUS) executive director Cathy Edwards via Skype and two local community TV practitioners to discuss their unique approach to the journalism they produce, creative funding sources, and finding new platforms for local media.

Facilitators: Deborah Angrave, Director and Content producer at ACCESS TV; LJ Meijer, contributing producer and editor at ACCESS TV

Chair: Daniel Ahadi, Lecturer at the SFU School of Communications

Register Here

Unpacking Truths Through Stories: Lessons from Making "Strangers at Home"

By walking through the "backstories" of the Global Reporting Centre's "Strangers at Home" this workshop will help break down the process of soliciting stories, partnership journalism and working with storytellers - including with those whom you may not agree. We will explore the ethical considerations of translating and transmitting complex socio-political ideas through stories. Participants will bring their passion and complex ideas that want to convey and, in small groups, will begin brainstorming how to translate those ideas into a storytelling project.

Facilitator: Dr. Shayna Plaut is the Research Manager of the Global Reporting Centre and the Project Manager for Strangers at Home.

Register Here

Protecting the Right to Protest: Free Speech versus Corporate Power

Freedom of speech, assembly, information and dissent are fundamental rights protected by law in all democracies. However, the competing right to protect against defamation has been given priority in Canada. This has allowed corporations to use the courts to intimidate, silence and bankrupt activists involved in protesting against the tar sands, unsustainable development and mines. The aim of this roundtable discussion is to explore how we can mobilize the media to address the corporate assault on democratic rights and to educate the public for the need to reform the courts to regain citizen rights to free speech and the right to dissent.

Speakers: Alan Dutton, Canadian Anti-racism Education and Research Society; Josh Paterson, Executive Director, BCCLA; Linda Solomon Wood, Editor-in-Chief, National Observer; Micheal Vonn, Policy Director, BCCLA

Moderator: Robert Hackett, Professor in the SFU School of Communication

Seats to this talk are first come first serve

Decolonizing the Mind will host this plenary session, feeding off much of the energy of the day, and will focus on what it means for independent media to incorporate decolonization into coverage in a settler dominated society. With special mind to reconciliation journalism, coming out of the Truth and Reconciliation report, this panel driven session will feature speakers with both background and lived experience in indigenous journalism, and provide opportunity for skill-building for media activists and media culture moving forward.


Glen Coulthard is Yellowknives Dene and an associate professor in First Nations and Indigenous Studies and Political Science at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014), winner of the 2016 Caribbean Philosophical Association's Frantz Fanon Award for Most Outstanding Book, the Canadian Political Science Association's CB Macpherson Award for Best Book in Political Theory published in 2014/15, and the Studies in Political Economy Best Book Award for 2016.

Tina House has been a full-time Video Journalist with APTN National News in the BC bureau since July 2007. A proud Métis born in Vancouver, in 2010 she received the Amnesty International Human Rights Journalism Award for Canada for her work on a half-hour APTN Investigates story “Missing Women.

Chair: Stuart Poyntz Associate Professor in the SFU School of Communication

Seats to this talk are first come first serve

Time HC Room 1900 HC Room 2280 HC Room 1600
10:30 - 11:45 Radical Librarians for Media Democracy Decolonizing the Media Workshop
12:00 - 1:15 KEYNOTE by Ryan McMahon: Digital Media, Bush Tea & Dibaajimowinan
1:15 - 1:30 BREAK
1:30 - 2:15 Native Waves Radio: Indigenous Reporting and The Making of NDNs on the Airwaves with Janet Rogers Unpacking Truths: Lessons From Making "Strangers at Home"
2:15 - 3:00 The Future of Community TV
3:00 - 3:15 BREAK
3:15 - 4:00 Protecting the Right to Protest: Free Speech versus Corporate Power How Do We Leap: Collaborative Art Making Workshop Amplifying Stories of Displacement
4:00 - 4:45
5:00 - 6:00 PLENARY: Decolonizing the Mind